The player auctions for the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League is slated to take place on February 20 and much before the teams take fields in April, the action begins in the auction hall itself where each team will look to settle down the squads. With a cap of 66 crores on the players’ salaries, it is crucial that teams are ready with their player lists before the auctions kick start. Some big names like Dale Steyn, Eoin Morgan, Mitchell Johnson and others will once again go under the hammer. Among the Indian players the likes of Varun Aaron, Pawan Negi and Ishant Sharma will also been auctioned. Here’s a breakdown of which team needs whom:
Gujarat Lions: Having released a total of seven Indian players already, Gujarat Lions will be looking buy some of the top names in the domestic circuit as only four foreign players are allowed on field per team. With the likes of Negi and Ishant available in the pool, the Lions will most likely be waiting for these top names. They have a settled batting line-up so we should not expect a surprise pick in that.
Rising Pune Supergiants: After finishing seventh in the table last season, the Pune Supergiants will look to infuse their bowling department with some potent weapons. After the release of Irfan Pathan, Ishant, Albie Morkel and Thisara Perera, the bowling attack does need some new and potent faces which can back up the strong batting line up. MS Dhoni has always been keen on recruiting talent from the domestic circuit and will certainly be looking to do the same this year as well. With the likes of Trent Boult, Morne Morkel Aaron, Marchant De Lange and Kyle Abbott available in the auction, the Supergiants will most likely start a bidding war for these pacers.
Delhi Daredevils: After investing heavily on their strategy of banking on youngsters the Delhi Daredevils will be looking to back it up more experience this time around. Last year, they learnt the lession hard way that simply banking upon youngsters will not yield the desired results and this inturn led to constant reshuffling of the side. Experience in the form of Colin Munro, Corey Anderson, Martin Guptill, Saurabh Tiwary, George Bailey, Chris Jordan are all up for grabs and the the think-tank of Paddy Upton and Rahul Dravid will definitely be looking to add some of them to their squad so that they can get them over the line in high pressure situations.
Kings XI Punjab: In IPL 7, the Kings XI Punjab had achieved success primarily due to their smart buys. It was a team that looked good on paper and which also performed better on the pitch. The pace attack led by Mitchell Johnson and Sandeep Sharma had also bowled well throughout the tournament. With most of their matches in Mohali and Dharmasala and pitches being conducive to pace the Kings will be looking to reinforce their attack with pacers this time around especially after the departures of Mitchell Johnson, Kyle Abbott and Rishi Dhawan. Some like a Morne Morkel or John Hastings would definitely be a good buy for the Kings.
Kolkata Knight Riders: The Knight Riders have released as many as nine players and are expected to be pretty active at the auctions. Adding to that is the ban on Andre Russell which will be a huge setback for the two time champions. A most likely replacement for the West Indian allrounder seems like Ben Stokes, but whether KKR is willing to break the bank remains to be seen. Anderson too is available in the market and seems an able replacement for Russell. Reinforcements in the pace attack is also on the cards with the departures of several bowlers. A reunion with elder brother Yusuf might very well be on the cards if KKR does go in for the much experienced Irfan Pathan or someone like Nathan Coulter-Nile would suit perfectly in the KKR set up.
Mumbai Indians: Mumbai Indians have retained a total of 20 players for this season of the IPL and it looks pretty well settled in all the departments. So it will be hard to predict who they will go for. However, with the release of all-rounder Corey Anderson, they might just break the bank for another all rounder in the form of Ben Stokes or someone like a Jason Roy who can be a perfect partner for Rohit Sharma at the top of the order.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: If there is one team that has managed to touch the 200 mark in the IPL consistently then it is the Royal Challenger’s Bangalore. However, they have equally struggled to defend the scores they have piled up. Hence, if there is one unit that RCB will be looking to strengthen this time around it will be their bowling, especially their death bowling which has let them down consistently. Mitchell Starc alone will not be enough to plug the gap on the runs as he needs support from the other end. With the likes of Ishant Sharma available at the auctions, Captain Kohli and think tank might be tempted to cash in for his frontman from the test team.
Sun Risers Hyderabad: Champions from last season, the Sun Risers Hyderabad, haven’t tinkered around with their squad. With the batting department heavily loaded with the likes of David Warner in Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson and Yuvraj Singh,the bowling too looks well settled with Mustafizur Rahman and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar looking set to lead the attack. However, the only department which looks a bit under par is spin and with the likes of Imran Tahir, Pawan Negi, Parvez Rasool and M Ashwin up for grabs they could do well with some reinforcements in the spin department.