The fifteenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is going to get bigger with the addition of two new teams which is expected to raise the level of competition. But before that can happen, the franchises have an uphill task to lock the list of players whom they want to retain.
Selecting a handful of cricketers from a vast pool is not an easy task but that brainstorming has to be done before the teams head into the mega players’ auction to redesign their respective units for the IPL 2022. As per the guidelines, each franchise can keep a maximum of four players and have to release the rest.
Several reports have claimed that the likes of Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore have already made up their minds to retain marquee players while Punjab Kings won’t retain any player and will start afresh at the auction.
Before the names of the retained players are out, lets have a look at the big players from each team who can turn the auction into a battlefield if they aren’t retained.
Faf du Plessis: The former South African captain ended 2nd on the top-scorers list in IPL 2021 and has been one of the consistent performers for CSK. However, there are reports that the franchise would keep the likes of captain MS Dhoni, allrounder Ravindra Jadeja and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad. If Du Plessis makes it to the auction, he will surely bag a lucrative contract and there are chances that CSK might go after him again.
Shardul Thakur: The pacer who can hit it big when needed has been an asset for CSK in the tournament and the franchise would surely want to go after him. But other franchises, especially the newly-introduced ones, will also keep an eye on the Mumbai cricketer.
Hardik Pandya: The allrounder’s fitness has been a major issue in the recent past that barred him from bowling full throttle. Unlike 2017, its highly unlikely that he will be retained by Mumbai Indians and if he enters the auction, then he will be on the list of many other teams who would need an all-rounder of his calibre.
Suryakumar Yadav: SKY – the match winner for MI, is another player expected to enter the players auction. He is one of the stars who has developed himself well in the franchise led by Rohit Sharma, and the team will try to get him again. He is currently in a great vein of form and if he’s grabbed some other team, it will surely be a huge loss for MI.
Dinesh Karthik: The former Kolkata Knight Riders captain is expected to go under the hammer again as what the reports suggest with the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise putting its weight behind allrounders Andre Russel and Sunil Narine. If he is available then he can be fetched by either Ahmedabad or Lucknow, who would like to have an experienced wicketkeeper-batter. Karthik has been recently named in the Tamil Nadu squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and his performance in the tournament will surely impact his stocks.
Kuldeep Yadav: The left-arm spinner may be out of favour at the moment but he is a valuable addition in any squad. As the IPL returns to India in 2022, he will play a crucial role on the turning tracks and the team spending heavy amount on him won’t regret, given the talent he has. In case if CSK gets him, playing under Dhoni’s guidance can help him get back his old form.
David Warner: IPL 2021 probably was one of the worst phases of the Australian superstars career. Getting sacked from captaincy and then being ousted from the playing XI, Warner had a season to forget. But a class player like him doesn’t remain quiet for long and that he proved at the T20 World Cup 2021. All eyes will be on the Australian opener, especially the teams who are in hunt for a new captain.
Chris Gayle: The Universe Boss ain’t leaving soon and he can be a handy batter to have in any squad. He is batting superbly in the ongoing Abu Dhabi T10 League and that’s enough to testify his calibre as a batter. He is a legend of the format with most runs and it’s not easy to ignore him despite his age.
Shikhar Dhawan: The opener is likely to be released by the Delhi Capitals as the think-tank is planning to hold back the youngsters in Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw and Axar Patel. Dhawan was one of the top scorers of IPL 2021 and has been in a decent form lately. He is one of the greatest Indian batters in white-ball cricket and whichever sides he gets to, that team will be in the possession of a fine opener.
KL Rahul: The Indian T20I vice-captain has been a consistent performer in the IPL and there are strong chances that he will be approached by either of the two new teams for the captain’s role. He has been in excellent form in the past few months and that also makes him a contender to become the most expensive player of the auction.