The day has come when all the 8 franchises of the IPL are supposed to list their retained, released and traded players. In this post, I will talk about my thoughts on the current squad of each of the teams.
Chennai Super Kings
Out: Mark Wood, Kanishk Seth, Kshitiz Sharma
Retained: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, Shane Watson, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, David Willey, Dwayne Bravo, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Sam Billings, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Dhruv Shorey, N Jagadeesan, Shardul Thakur, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi
I Wasn’t expecting any major changes from the current champions’ squad, which they have done so by retaining most of the players who played for them during the last IPL season. Despite saying this, I am surprised that they have retained the underperforming players like Harbhajan Singh and Imran Tahir from the last season. I would have expected them to release at least 2-3 players more. Nevertheless, this team still looks strong.
Perhaps they may buy an international quick bowler. Other than that, this team looks sorted. I think they should release Murali Vijay after the auctions, so that best use could be made of him.
Retentions and Trades
Retained: Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Manjot Kalra, Colin Munro, Chris Morris, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Tewatia, Harshal Patel, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult, Sandeep Lamichhane, Avesh Khan
Traded In: Shikhar Dhawan
Perhaps they have played a strategical move here by roping in Shikhar Dhawan from SRH. They were in dire need of a good opening partner to Prithvi Shaw after releasing both Gautam Gambhir and Jason Roy. But this came at a price as DD had to trade 3 players – Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma and Shahbaz Nadeem to SRH, all of them performed well in the last IPL season.
Out: Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Gurkeerat Mann, Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Shami, Dan Christian, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett, Junior Dala, Naman Ojha
Traded Out: Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem
There are a quite a few surprising releases here. First one of Shami. He adds tremendous value to any squad he is in. With this release, DD don’t have an Indian pace bowler other than the uncapped Avesh Khan.
Another surprise with their strategy was to release Glenn Maxwell. The next season of IPL would have had to be moved out of India either partly or fully, due to the Lok Sabha elections. The possible venues of the next season include South Africa, and the UAE, both suiting conditions for Maxwell. I believe he could have repeated his heroics of the 2014 IPL season during the part IPL stayed out of India.
They should look for an all-rounder. They need one badly. Chris Morris is prone to injuries, so he cannot be trusted. Further, the release of Abhishek Sharma and Vijay Shankar has only increased their need for it.
They also need someone who could anchor the innings at #5. Perhaps, a like-for-like replacement for Maxwell, or buying him back again.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Out: Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Tom Curran, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Ishank Jaggi, Apoorv Wankhade, Vinay Kumar
Retained: Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Prasidh Krishna
KKR have done the right moves by retaining all those players who had performed well for them in the last season of IPL – including the mix of the experienced and the youth. So there are no major surprises with the players they have retained. The players who have been released can have better opportunities with the other franchises.
They must look to have good backup players for the retained players. Other than that, their first playing XI definitely looks sorted.
Kings XI Punjab
Retentions and Trades
In: Mandeep Singh
Retained: Chris Gayle, David Miller, Karun Nair, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, R Ashwin, Ankit Rajpoot, Andrew Tye, Mujeeb ur Rahman
Kings XI have finally found a person on whom the middle order can be trusted – Mandeep Singh, who was traded from RCB in exchange of Marcus Stoinis. They definitely have issues with whom they have retained and surprises with whom they’ve released, as they look to rebuild the squad after retaining 9 players.
I’m surprised they have retained both Karun Nair and Mayank Agarwal, both in form in the domestic circuit and are also current India players. While Karun Nair may slot in the middle order, that would be difficult to ask for from Mayank Agarwal. At most, he may slot at the 1 down position as both the opening slots would be taken by KL Rahul and Chris Gayle.
Out: Axar Patel, Aaron Finch, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Yuvraj Singh, Ben Dwarshuis, Manoj Tiwary, Akshdeep Nath, Pardeep Sahu, Mayank Dagar, Manzoor Dar
Trade Out: Marcus Stoinis
There are a lot of disappointing releases in this franchise. The most important one being Axar Patel. He would have provided wickets with the ball and could have hit runs with the bat in the lower middle order. Perhaps, the franchise is looking to bringing him back at a lower price tag, so we can hope for the best.
The release of the backup keeper Akshdeep Nath also puts them in a situation, as they don’t have a backup keeper, and no other franchise has released a keeper. This would have been a smart move, if either KKR or RR would have released one of their keepers in the auction pool.
They have slots to fill for the backup middle order batsmen, fast bowlers and spinners after they have released so many players. They should also look for an Indian quick bowler who could control the innings.
Retentions and Trades
In: Quinton de Kock
Retained: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Evin Lewis, Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff
On the surface, they seemed to have the best playing XI after SRH and CSK last season, which is furthered by bringing in the services of Quinton de Kock. But deep down, they don’t have backup players for positions other than the openers. There are other issues for this franchise too.
The first choice they would be forced to make is with the opening pair. Last season, they consistently opened with Suryakumar Yadav and Evin Lewis. While Yadav performed his duties with ease, Evin Lewis failed miserably for his big-hitting abilities he is known for. Moreover they have a few more options for the 2 opening slots – Rohit Sharma, Ishan Kishan now deepened by the addition of Quinton de Kock. They have too many openers and less middle order batsmen.
While Rohit could slot in at either Number 3, then there will be doubts about Ishan Kishan’s position, as Kieron Pollard and Krunal Pandya will most likely take up #4 and #5. This leaves with the #6 position, where he isn’t usually suited. Aditya Tare could be the quick fix, but he hasn’t many IPL matches in the last couple seasons or so.
The second most surprising retention is Kieron Pollard. He had underperformed for them last IPL, and has been underperforming in the other T20 leagues. Moreover he doesn’t bowl much anymore, thereby reducing his stature. Thus his retention raises many eyebrows. There are no surprises with the players they have released.
Out: Mustafizur Rahman, Pat Cummins, Akila Dananjaya, JP Duminy, Saurabh Tiwary, Tajinder Singh, Mohsin Khan, Pradeep Sangwan, MD Nidheesh, Sharad Lumba
I wouldn’t say surprised, but it was indeed sad to see Mustafizur go to bring in de Kock. Other releases seem justified.
Buy good middle order players. They desperately need some. They have nobody to steer the ship if the top order fails any day.
Retained: Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Ajinkya Rahane, K Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror
IPL Season 1 Champions Rajasthan Royals, who made a comeback after a 2 year ban last season, did more than what everyone had expected from them, especially after the ban on Steven Smith, after the ball tampering saga.
This team have a decent bag of players. They have players who will perform at their given slots. This team just needs to hope for everyone to click, otherwise their going would be tough this season.
Out: Jaydev Unadkat, Anureet Singh, Ankit Sharma, Jatin Saxena, D’Arcy Short, Ben Laughlin
They have done the right thing by releasing Jaydev Unadkat, who had performed poorly for his price tag.
They must firstly buy a backup middle order batsman. With Ajinkya Rahane and Rahul Tripathi opening for them, and Sanju Samson could be filling in at times, they should look at a middle order batsman as a backup.
They should also look to fill the void left by Jaydev Unadkat’s release, by buying an Indian quick bowler as a like-for-like replacement.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
My favourite team since the demise of the Deccan Chargers – RCB seem somewhat balanced, but with issues of their own.
Retentions and Trades:
Trade In: Marcus Stoinis
Retained: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Moeen Ali, Colin de Grandhomme, Yuzvendra Chahal, Mohammed Siraj, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kulwant Khejroliya, Nathan Coulter-Nile
Firstly they don’t have a backup keeper to Parthiv Patel. While he has been a good opener in the shortest format, his keeping skills have been under scrutiny recently. During the Indian test team’s tour of South Africa earlier this year, he had dropped numerous good catches.
I’m more surprised with the retention of Colin de Grandhomme. He has leaked runs with the ball and hasn’t been much effective with the bat in pressure situations. I think they should have retained Chris Woakes and released him instead. Other retentions don’t surprise me.
Trade Out: Quinton de Kock, Mandeep Singh
Released: Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Corey Anderson, Sarfraz Khan
They would perhaps be the most foolish franchise, as they released Quinton de Kock. There is a possibility of the next IPL being hosted in South Africa, and releasing a current Proteas player might be a shot in their foot. I also think they should’ve retained Chris Woakes as he has been performing great in the international arena lately.
RCB must look for a good keeper. They must also ensure that he is an opener, or they buy another opener as well, as Parthiv Patel will have no role if his keeping duties are taken away.
Perhaps, they can do away with buying an opener, if they open with Moeen Ali, but this will leave a big hole in their middle order, which is now vacant after the release of both Mandeep Singh and Sarfaraz Khan. They may surprise everyone by opening with Washington Sundar, who had opened in the TNPL, with moderate success. In any case, they will have to fill up one middle order slot, or in all likelihood 2 slots and 1 backup.
Perhaps they could buy Yuvraj Singh, but his form hasn’t been something to boast about quite lately. They should also try to buy back Sarfaraz Khan, at a lower price, and give him confidence in the squad.
Last season’s runner up – SRH have retained all but one of their core players. The loss of Shikhar Dhawan will be a big blow to them.
Retentions and Trades
In: Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem
Retained: David Warner, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Billy Stanlake, Kane Williamson, Mohammad Nabi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, T Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, Basil Thampi, Deepak Hooda
Nevertheless, they look quite strong with the opening pair of Warner and Williamson, followed by Shakib and Pandey. Their bowling also seems sorted with the presence of Stanlake, Bhuvi, Rashid Khan and Sandeep Sharma, now bolstered by the presence of Shahbaz Nadeem. They also seem to have backups for most of the positions.
I shouldn’t say surprising, but Manish Pandey’s performance last season definitely doesn’t credit the Rs. 11 crore price tag on him. Perhaps they could have released both Dhawan and Pandey into the auctions and bought back Dhawan with that Rs. 11 crore.
Trade Out: Shikhar Dhawan
Releases: Sachin Baby, Tanmay Agarwal, Wriddhiman Saha, Chris Jordan, Carlos Brathwaite, Alex Hales, Bipul Sharma, Syed Mehdi Hasan
One thing they should look at is to fill up the Number 5 slot. Abhishek Sharma could very well be the trump card here, but then he has flourished more at #6. Perhaps the keeper, Shreevats Goswami can take up #5 instead.
They must also look at having a backup spin option for Khan and Nadeem. While one may argue that Mohammed Nabi is a backup, he is more of an batting allrounder who can chip in with few overs of spin. Thus he should not be looked at as a spin backup. This team looks very well settled, and will be the frontrunners for the trophy next IPL.