With Chennai Super Kings (CSK) having already retained three capped Indian players in Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja, it can't exercise the Right-to-Match option to retain Ravichandran Ashwin.
Ashwin, who has 100 wickets and 237 runs from 111 IPL games, will be the first player to go under the hammer at this year's auction. And while the former CSK spinner will be on the team's radar, a base price of Rs 2 crore means the Chennai-based franchise, which has only Rs 47 crore left in its purse, may have to turn to other options in event of a full-fledged bidding war for the tweaker.
Krunal Pandya (Base price Rs 40 Lakhs, auction number 85)
An all-round talent in the mould of Ravindra Jadeja, Pandya can roll his arm for four overs and is more than handy with the bat.
While a man-of-the-match winning performance for Mumbai Indians in the IPL final last year helped him justify the hefty Rs 2 crore price tag, the 26-year-old has set himself a modest base price of Rs 40 Lakh this year.
However, given his all-round abilities, the eight franchises will be tempted to shell out big money for the Baroda cricketer.
Akila Dananjaya (Base price Rs 50 Lakhs, auction number 226)
Unorthodoxy is a key tenet of Sri Lankan spinner Dananjaya's game - the ability to deliver a leg-break, googly, doosra, carrom ball and a stock offspinner with control and precision make him an eye-catching prospect for IPL teams.
Meanwhile, the familiarity with opponents and conditions - 11 wickets in the seven ODIs against India -will further raise his stakes at the auction.
Shakib Al Hasan (Base price Rs 1 Crore, auction number 11)
The Bangladesh all-rounder - arguably the country's best cricketer in the last two decades - is, in the truest sense of the word, a match-winner.
While accuracy and consistency with the ball help dictate terms in the middle overs, a wide range of strokes makes him a valuable asset in the shortest format of the game. A regular feature in Kolkata Knight Riders playing XI, a tally of 498 runs and 43 wickets from as many IPL games make him a favourite at the auction.
Washington Sundar (Base price Rs 1.5 Crores, auction number 139)
Sundar, who replaced Ashwin in the Rising Supergiant squad after the Indian spin spearhead pulled out of last year's IPL, was a revelation, snapping up eight wickets at an economy rate of 6.16.
Nearly a year later, having won an ODI and a T20I cap for India, Sundar’s stock has risen. And CSK will be keeping a keen eye on the local talent.
Yuzvendra Chahal (Base price Rs 2 Crores, auction number 63)
Released by Royal Challengers Bangalore, Chahal is expected to be one of the sought-after spinners at this year’s auction.
Having won the ICC T20I Performance Of The Year Award for 2017 - for his magical spell of 6 for 25 against England in Bengaluru - the Haryana spinner will be high on confidence and itching to prove his worth in the T20 league.
Chahal's 70 wickets from 56 IPL matches add further gloss to his record.
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