Ahead of the 15th edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League, the teams have announced their retentions. The tournament will be expanding into a ten-team tournament for a longer-term.
Amongst those retained, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, and Rishabh Pant fetched the highest price. A mega auction in the upcoming months will make the picture clearer on how the teams will look.
The teams with a stronger core of almost half a dozen players made a few compromises. Amongst the many surprises, the greatest one was the release of Rashid Khan, although foreseen.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Bangalore-based franchise is still in search of their maiden title. RCB has held onto their former skipper Virat Kohli. The Indian test skipper has led the team for almost a decade now, coming closest to winning a title in 2016. Virat Kohli is also the highest run-scorer of the tournament.
Glenn Maxwell, who was bought by the RCB last year, fared well in 2021. With a healthy average of 45, the Australian all-rounder was the highest run-scorer for the team in their previous season. In the absence of AB De Villiers, there are huge shoes to fill, and Maxwell would be wanting to take up the responsibility.
The third spot was the trickiest as it was certain that they would lose on some of their loyal players. The management chose Md. Siraj over the likes of Yuzi Chahal, Devdatt Paddikal, and Harshal Patel. The paceman has improved in the last couple of years and has become a regular feature in India’s Test squad.
The five-time champions perhaps had the most difficult decisions to be made, as they have had a core that has helped them get tremendous success in the IPL. Although the retention of skipper Rohit Sharma and pacer Jasprit Bumrah was a given, the last two spots were a cause of worry.
They retained Kieron Pollard, an experienced asset for the squad. He has played a crucial role in their success in the last decade. With match-winning performances in all three departments of the game, the retention did not come as a surprise. The West Indian has also taken up the captaincy role in the absence of Rohit Sharma.
For the third Indian option, MI had the choices of southpaw Ishan Kishan, all-rounder Hardik Pandya and local boy Suryakumar Yadav. Given the erratic nature of Kishan’s performances and the fitness of junior Pandya, the team decided to go with Suryakumar Yadav as their fourth pick overall.
Chennai Super Kings
The defending champions, like their rivals from Mumbai, had plenty of options. CSK had built a solid core since the last mega auction, and it had helped them get the title twice since then. Skipper MS Dhoni was retained at Rs.12 crores. English all-rounder Moeen Ali who provides the team with much-needed stability in the batting order and an added spinning option was also retained.
Ravindra Jadeja was the first pick (highest price bracket). As pundits suggest that the Saurashtra-born Jadeja might take up the captaincy role post-MS. The CSK management has shown faith in the capabilities of the all rounder.
Ruturaj Gaikwad has been the find of the season for the Men in Yellow. Making his debut in IPL 2020, the Pune batter was the highest run-scorer for the champions in the 2021 edition.
The Delhi franchise renewed their brand after the 2018 season, and also their fortune to an extent. The performances of the youngsters were one of the major reasons for their success. Shreyas Iyer, the talk of the town was let go by the team as they retained the destructive Rishabh Pant as their captaincy option.
Left-arm spinner Axar Patel filled in the second spot as an all-rounder. Having made his test debut in 2021, Axar has had a dream run in the International circuit. He also played a pivotal role in the success of DC in the last two years. Mumbai-born Prithvi Shaw and South African pacer Anrich Nortje were the other two retentions.
Shikhar Dhawan, who had scored consistently for the team, was also let go along with Ravi Ashwin and Kagiso Rabada.
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