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IPL 2020: Overseas Players Will be at a Premium at Kolkata Auction

71 players were released by the eight IPL franchises ahead of the IPL Auctions to be held in Kolkata on the 19th of December this year.

Nikhil Narain |November 17, 2019, 9:55 AM IST
IPL 2020: Overseas Players Will be at a Premium at Kolkata Auction

71 players were released by the eight IPL franchises ahead of the IPL Auctions to be held in Kolkata on the 19th of December this year.

Royal Challengers Bangalore released 12 players – the maximum amongst all the franchises and were followed by Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals (11 each). Mumbai Indians released 10, Delhi Capitals - 9, Kings XI Punjab - 7, Chennai Super Kings – 6 and Sunrisers Hyderabad – 5.

A common trend amongst all the franchises was the release of a lot of big and expensive players – Chris Lynn, Jaydev Unadkat, Sam Curran, Andrew Tye – were some of the bigwigs to be released.

A total of 127 players including 35 from overseas were retained by the eight franchises.

We analyse the squads and look at the possible strategies each of the eight franchises could adopt ahead of the auction in December.

Chennai Super Kings:

Australia's Mitchell Starc at a training session. (Pic: AP) (AP)

CSK have the most settled squad amongst all the eight franchises. They have just 5 slots available and the second-lowest purse of Rs 14.6 crores at the auction.

They would look to go for a specialist batsman and a left-arm quick as their overseas players. They would love to have Mitchell Starc (136 wickets in 90 T20 innings at a strike rate of 14.6) in their armoury but budget constraints may not leave them much scope to bargain.

They may also look for a like for like replacement for Mohit Sharma – Pankaj Jaiswal could be a good option (has picked 53 wickets in just 35 T20 appearances).

Mumbai Indians:

(Twitter) (Twitter)

MI will have the lowest budget at the auctions to select a maximum of 7 players.

They would look for a replacement for Evin Lewis at the top of the order – the West Indian has the third-highest strike rate in T20I cricket history and a great ability to hit sixes. Martin Guptill could be a good buy for them.

They need to strengthen their middle order with some solid Indian batsmen and may have their eyes set on Robin Uthappa and Hanuma Vihari. The former is the eighth-highest scorer in IPL history with over 4000 runs in the coveted league.

Kolkata Knight Riders:

(Twitter) (Twitter)

KKR have the second-biggest purse having released 11 players including some big names like Uthappa and Lynn. They need a striker at the top – preferably an overseas batsman and won’t be surprised if they bet big on Evin Lewis.

They would also need to replace Carlos Brathwaite with a hard-hitting all-rounder down the order and Colin de Grandhomme could be a great bet – he has a stunning strike rate of 162.34 in T20 cricket.

KKR could rope in someone like Ricky Bhui to bolster their top-middle order with an Indian batsman. Bhui has a good T20 record with an average of 30.13 and strike rate of 131.42.

They would also look to purchase two big overseas batsmen – someone like Guptill or Colin Munro. The latter has an exceptional T20 record having aggregated more than 5000 runs in over 200 matches at an average of 29.03 and strike rate of 145.55. His strike rate of 160.04 is the highest in T20I cricket history!

Delhi Capitals:

(Twitter) (Twitter)

DC have been the smartest with their releases and retentions. They have added to their pool of experienced and talented Indian players (Dhawan, Pant, Shaw, Iyer, Ishant Sharma) by trading in the likes of R Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane.

They would now focus on their 5 overseas buys at the auction. Ideally, they would want a combination of two top-order batsmen, a couple of all-rounders and a left-arm seamer. With their Indian contingent sorted, they would have the luxury to go all-out with their foreign players.

DC should target two out of these three – Guptill, Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer.

Amongst all-rounders, on their radar would be Grandhomme and Marcus Stoinis – both released by RCB. Stoinis was in excellent form in the 2018-19 BBL. He was the third-highest scorer with 533 runs in just 13 innings at a strike rate of 130.63 also picking up 14 wickets.

DC, in all likelihood, will go big on Starc as they would look to add variety to their fast bowling unit comprising of the likes of Rabada and Ishant.

Sunrisers Hyderabad:

(IPL T20) (IPL T20)

Having released three all-rounders (Hooda, Shakib and Yusuf Pathan), that is where SRH would look to invest in the auctions in December – they need explosive batting all-rounders down the order in their line-up.

They could potentially go big on Grandhomme and Stoinis but would also keep an eye on Brathwaite and Ben Cutting – the Australian all-rounder had a strike rate of 153.7 in the last edition of the BBL.

Rajasthan Royals:

(image: IPL) (image: IPL)

RR have released a number of Indian players and would be looking at the auctions to re-build the Indian nucleus of the side. They need a couple of batsmen in the middle order and could bet heavily on the likes of Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh and Vihari.

RR would also consider someone like a Deepak Hooda who could be a good replacement for Stuart Binny.

They would need to bolster their pace attack and could target the likes of Jason Behrendorff, Adam Milne or – all released by MI. Nathan Coulter Nile and Ben Cutting would also be excellent overseas options.

Kings XI Punjab:

(MI/ Twitter) (MI/ Twitter)

Kings XI not only has the maximum purse of Rs 42.7 crore, they also have the maximum budget per player in the upcoming auction. Having released some of the big players like Varun Chakravarthy, Miller, Sam Curran and Andrew Tye, Kings XI can target some star replacements as they only have a maximum of 9 slots to fill in the auction.

With the release of Tye and Henriques, Kings XI would target two overseas pacers to partner Shami – the likes of Cutting, Southee, Behrendorff, Coulter-Nile, Milne – all would be on their radar.

Milne has an impressive T20 record having taken 116 wickets in 93 innings at a strike rate of 17.4 while Southee would give them the experience of 192 wickets in the format.

It also won’t come as a surprise if they go all out for Starc especially after releasing Curran from their squad.

Royal Challengers Bangalore:

(BCCI) (BCCI)

With the release of as many as 12 players, RCB would be looking to re-build their squad and re-plan their strategy – not surprising as they haven’t yet won the IPL and did not do particularly well in the last edition too.

They can choose a maximum of six overseas players – ideally, they would be aiming for two from each category – top-order batsmen, fast bowlers and all-rounders.

RCB would do well to get two out of these three – Lewis, Munro and Guptill.

They should invest heavily on all-rounders like David Willey, Curran, Cutting and Lynn. In particular, Lynn could be a great buy for them as he will give them the flexibility to bat up the order or provide the impetus at the death – the Australian is a veteran of 162 matches and has scored in excess of 4000 runs at a strike rate of above 140.

Amongst fast bowlers, RCB could look at Joseph and Milne.

They would also look to strengthen their Indian batting unit to support Kohli and could bargain for the likes of Bhui, Vihari and Uthappa.

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