MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma were among 27 IPL player retained ahead of the 2021-22 mega auctions among the existing eight franchises.
All remaining players will now be available for the two new franchises - Lucknow and Ahmedabad - to invest in. The same retention policy - three Indians and an overseas player or two Indians and two overseas players, with a mix of uncapped players at £400,000 each will be available to the new teams.
After these teams are done building their core, the remaining players will then head into the mega auction slated to be held either in the last week of December or first week of January. There are a few surprises in the list of players who were retained as Mumbai Indians went for Suryakumar Yadav and not Ishan Kishan; Sunrisers Hyderabad settled for two uncapped cricketers Abdul Samad and Umran Malik; and Punjab failed to hold on to Ravi Bishnoi.
Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals are the only franchises who’ve blocked their entire budget of £4.2 million ahead of the mega auction, which means, they’ll be left with only £4.8 million each when the hammer goes up very soon.
Mumbai had to make the tough choice of deciding between Surya, Ishan and Hardik Pandya. While Ishan can bat and keep wickets and Pandya will gradually work his way back to bowling full time, MI settled for Surya clearly because he helps strengthen the middle-order. The franchise now has an opener, a middle-order batsman, a finisher and a fast bowler and can build the rest of the team around it.
Chennai Super Kings have retained the irreplaceable MS Dhoni, despite him not being the highest paid player. The Royal Challengers Bangalore have a tough task in finding their next captain, given that Virat Kohli has said he won’t lead, and KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer unlikely to be available in the auction – Rahul is joining Lucknow while Ahmedabad could eye Iyer.
Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders retained four players each but sprung a surprise in not retaining their respective openers Shikhar Dhawan and Shubhman Gill. Franchises like KKR and RCB have failed to retain some obvious choices clearly because the financials did not work out.
Meanwhile, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals have quite a bit of work to do. Sunrisers have to rebuild around Kane Williamson, Punjab are left only with Agarwal and Arshdeep while Royals have Sanju Samson, Jos Butler and Yashashvi Jaiswal and they’ll need a lot more.