IPL franchises likely to trim squad size

The IPL authorities have limited the squad size to a maximum of 25 players per side for the forthcoming edition. Despite it being the smallest permissible squad size, more than half the team managements are planning to trim it further.

Most franchises would aim to keep squad sizes of 22 or 23.   -  AP (Representative Image)

It may have been billed as the biggest Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction, but the actual number of signings over the weekend could well be lesser than the last full auction in 2014. The reason: a majority of the franchises are looking at pruning their squad size.

The IPL authorities have limited the squad size to a maximum of 25 players per side for the forthcoming edition. Despite it being the smallest permissible squad size, more than half the team managements are planning to trim it further.

Various officials from multiple franchises confided to Sportstar that most teams will look to aim at a squad size of 22 or 23 players. In fact, a couple of teams are even looking at keeping the squad strength to 20 players each.

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This could result in approximately 145 players being signed from the available pool of 578 players during the two-day auction in Bengaluru starting Saturday. In 2014, when the uncapped cricketers were included in the auction for the first time, 150 players were signed by all the teams combined.

The reduction in squad strength is based on a multiple factors. “The savings in terms of signings during the auction would obviously mean the teams can increase the budget for players on their wishlist,” said a franchise official, preferring anonymity.

‘Don’t need to have too many back-ups’

Another official revealed that the freeing of international cricket window has also resulted in the teams planning to opt for a smaller pool of players. “First and foremost, the teams seem to have realised that you don't really need so many players on the roster now. In the first few seasons, overseas players' availability used to be a big issue but now with virtually no international cricket in the IPL window, you don't need to have too many back-ups,” said a franchise official, preferring anonymity. “Besides, the injury replacement mechanism has been streamlined in the last few years.”

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The reduction in the number of players would also mean saving the operational and logistical costs. In fact, considering all these factors, the IPL has capped the squad size to 25. The issue was discussed thoroughly during the franchise owners' meeting between the IPL officials, BCCI office-bearers and the Supreme Court-appointed Commitee of Administrators in Mumbai last November.

The cap for squad sizes has varied extensively since its inception in 2008. For the first three editions, the teams were allowed to a sign a maximum of 30 players, including 10 overseas cricketers. In 2011, on the insistence of the two new teams that were inducted in the league, the cap was increased to 33 with 11 overseas before being reduced to 27 in 2014, with a maximum of nine overseas players allowed.

Half the teams that featured in the IPL last year didn't utilise the quota of 27 players, with Kolkata Knight Riders fielding the smallest contingent with 23 players. While Royal Challengers Bangalore had 24 players on its roster, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab fielded squads of 25 and 26 players, respectively.

TeamAvailable slotsAvailable purse
Chennai Super Kings22Rs. 47 crore
Delhi Daredevils22Rs. 47 crore
Kings XI Punjab24Rs. 67.5 crore
Kolkata Knight Riders23Rs. 59 crore
Mumbai Indians22Rs. 47 crore
Rajasthan Royals24Rs. 67.5 crore
Royal Challengers Bangalore22Rs. 49 crore
Sunrisers Hyderabad23Rs. 59 crore