Mon Jan 2018
The madness and excitement of the two-day Indian Premier League (IPL) auction came to an end on Sunday with the eight franchises taking their picks from the 578 players available for bidding.
England’s star all-rounder Ben Stokes grabbed the highest bid once again in the auction as he was snapped up by the Rajasthan Royals for a whopping amount of £1.4million (Dh7.2m).
Jaydev Unadkat became the most expensive Indian player in the auction after he was bought by Rajasthan Royals for £1.28million (Dh6.7m).
With the auction now completed, we take a look at the squads for the eight franchises and give our verdict.
CHENNAI SUPER KINGS
MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo. Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Murali Vijay, Harbhajan Singh, Faf Du Plessis, Mark Wood, Sam Billings, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Mitchell Santner, Lungisani Ngidi, Asif K M, N Jagadeesan, Kanishk Seth, Monu Singh, Dhruv Shorey, Kshitiz Sharma, Chaitanya Bishnoi.
The Chennai based franchise retained a strong core comprising of MS Dhoni, Jadeja and Raina prior to the auction. They did well to pick up the likes of Bravo, Imran Tahir and Mark Wood in the auction.
Strengths: Strong core group of experienced players led by the cool head of Dhoni.
Weaknesses: A host of ageing stars in the side which does not bode well for the future.
Opportunities: In Mitchell Santner and Lungi Ndigi, the outfit has two overseas players who will be itching to make a mark in their maiden tryst with the IPL.
Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Chris Morris, Glenn Maxwell, Kagiso Rabada, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Mohammad Shami, Gautam Gambhir, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Daniel Christian, Jason Roy, Naman Ojha, Prithvi Shaw, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Avesh Khan, Abhishek Sharma, Jayant Yadav, Harshal Patel, Manjot Kalra, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sayan Ghosh.
After retaining the likes of Rishab Pant, Shreyas Iyer and Chris Wood, the Delhi franchise was picked up some exciting talent on both auction days to end up with a squad who will be one of the early favourites for the IPL.
Strengths: Strong Indian contingent to complement some big overseas talents. The likes of Pant, Iyer, Shami, Gambhir, Mishra, Shaw and Ojha are as good as they come when it comes to domestic stars. Add in the likes of Munro, Boult, Roy, Maxwell along with Rabada and the Daredevils have
Weaknesses: With a near perfect squad, the main headache for the Delhi based side will be finding a way to fit in their numerable stars.
Opportunities: India’s U-19 captain Prithvi Shaw has been creating quite a name for himself at such an early age. The IPL will be the perfect platform for him to further his rapidly rising stock.
KINGS XI PUNJAB
Axar Patel, KL Rahul, Ravichandran Ashwin, Andrew Tye, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis, Karun Nair, Mujeeb Zadran, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, David Miller, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Singh Sran, Yuvraj Singh, Christopher Gayle, Ben Dwarshuis, Akshdeep Nath, Manoj Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal, Manzoor Dar, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar
The franchise only retained Axar Patel ahead of the auctions where they picked up Ashwin to begin with. They brought a quartet of Australians in Finch, Stoinis, Tye and Dwarshuis coupled with the additions of Miller and Gayle.
Strengths: Aaron Finch is in the form of his life and his contributions as an opener will be vital for the Kings XI to get off to a good start in the matches to come.
Weaknesses: While the Punjab franchise has brought some big names in the auction, there are quite a few of them on the decline. Yuvraj’s stock has fallen with every passing IPL while Gayle’s fitness has shown an alarming decline which caused other franchises to stay away from him.
Opportunities: Dwarshius has been a consistent performer in the Big Bash League (BBL) and will be keen to make a mark in his first IPL. Left-arm pacer Barinder Singh Sran could also spring a few surprises comes April.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Starc, Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Singh Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, Ranganath Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Vijay Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi.
The Kolkata franchise retained two West Indies T20 stars in Narine and Russell. In the auction, they snapped up some formidable Indian players along with the capture of Aussie pace duo of Starc and Johnson.
Strengths: The franchise has assembled a lethal bowling unit. The pace department is well stocked with the captures of Starc, Johson, Nagarkoti and Mavi while the spin department is not too shabby either with Narine, Chawla and Kuldeep.
Weaknesses: The Kolkata side has gone for a squad of only 19 players, the smallest in the league which could test their bench strength to the maximum in case of injuries.
Opportunities: India U-19’s pace due of Nagarkoti and Mavi have some tremendous potential while Australia’s Cameron Delport could prove to be a shrewd buy.
Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Kieron Pollard, Pat Cummins, Evin Lewis, Suryakumar Yadav, Ben Cutting, Mustafizur Rahman, Rahul Chahar, Pradeep Sangwan, Jason Behrendorff, Jean-Paul Duminy, Saurabh Tiwary, Tajinder Dhillon, Akila Dhananjaya, Nidheesh M D Dinesan, Aditya Tare, Siddhesh Dinesh Lad, Mayank Markande, Sharad Lumba, Anukul Roy, Mohsin Khan
The defending champions retained Rohit, Hardik and Bumrah prior to the auction and made some solid purchases in the form of Evin Lewis, Pat Cummins and Mustafizur Rahman. They will once again enjoy the services of Pollard and Krunal Pandya after exercising their ‘right to match’ (RTM) options.
Strengths: A strong playing XI comprising a core of players who have been a part of their previous triumphs.
Weaknesses: While they are stocked pretty well in what should be their playing XI, their bench strength leaves a lot to be desired with some uninspiring names.
Opportunities: Young left-arm spinner Anukul Roy is making waves in the ICC U-19 World Cup and could spring a few surprises in the IPL.
Steve Smith, Benjamin Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane, Darcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Dushmantha Chameera, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Vikram Birla, Midhun S, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, Mahipal Lomror.
After retaining Australian skipper Steve Smith, Royals stole the headlines at the auction with their premium prices for Stokes and Unadkat. Known for their shrewd ‘moneyball’ purchases, the Royals uncharacteristically ended up as the franchise with the highest price per player.
Strengths: In the capture of Stokes, Archer and Short, the Royals have brought themselves some of the most exciting T20 talents going around in the world.
Weaknesses: While their international stars are probably the best collection pound for pound, their domestic talent, especially with the ball, falls some way short of expectations. They missed a trick by not going for local boy Nagarkoti to bolster their pace attack.
Opportunities: Ben Laughlin was a largely unfamiliar name in the auction but has been one of the most consistent performers with the ball in the BBL. He could prove as a very smart buy from the Royals with his array of variations.
ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE
Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Chris Woakes, Yuzvendra Singh Chahal, Umesh Yadav, Brendon McCullum, Washington Sundar, Navdeep Saini, Quinton De Kock, Mohammed Siraj, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, M. Ashwin, Parthiv Patel, Moeen Ali, Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, Pawan Negi, Tim Southee, Kulwant Khejroliya, Aniket Choudhary, Pavan Deshpande, Anirudha Ashok Joshi
Having already retained superstars such as Kohli and De Villiers, the Bengaluru franchise had half their work done for them prior to the auction. They snapped up big hitters like McCullum, De Kock and Colin de Grandhomme in the auction to further strengthen their batting line up.
Strengths: Their batting firepower with the likes of Kohli, de Villers, McCullum, de Kock along with Sarfaraz Khan and Washington Sundar is unparalleled in the competition.
Weaknesses: While there is no lack of big names in the side, it will once again be a test of finding the right combination to find the balance with the bowling.
Opportunities: In Washington Sundar and Sarfaraz Khan, the Bengaluru franchise has some exciting young Indian talent who are destined for great things.
David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Rashid Khan Arman, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddarth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Kane Williamson, Carlos Brathwaite, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Mohammad Nabi, Chris Jordan, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Syed Mehdi Hasan, Ricky Bhui, Tanmay Agarwal
The 2016 champions have had one of the best auction windows this time. Having retained Warner and Bhuvneshwar, the Hyderabad franchise snapped up one of the hottest properties in Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan.
Strengths: A very well balanced squad stacked in almost every department. The purchase of Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is most crucial in this aspect as he opens up the possibilities of trying various combinations.
Weaknesses: A lack of big hitters down the order could prove to be costly for the Sunrisers. They will be hoping Deepak Hooda can fire on all cylinders to alleviate that concern.
Opportunities: Teenage sensation Rashid Khan will be hoping to create a far bigger impact in the IPL this time around. His rise over the last year or so has been extraordinary and he is fast developing into one of the premier bowlers in the format. He will be keen to do well on one of the biggest stages to justify his high price tag.