The Indian Premier League (IPL) auction will begin at 2.30pm IST in Kochi on Friday. The final auction pool comprises 405 players from the originally registered 991, with a maximum of 87 slots available to be filled by the 10 franchises. Of these, 30 will be overseas players.
Here’s what the 10 teams need and how they could go about filling the spots.
Chennai Super Kings (Purse Left: Rs 20.45 crore)
Having released Dwayne Bravo and Robin Uthappa, the four-time champion will look to rope in an overseas fast-bowling all-rounder, which will also help in adding heft to a lean batting line-up. CSK could eye Sam Curran, the English all-rounder it had bought for INR 5.5 crore in 2019. A hard-hitting middle-order batter will also be on CSK’s wish list, considering it has Ambati Rayudu and MS Dhoni, who have struggled to score at a fast clip consistently of late. While the spin department looks settled, CSK would fancy a backup fast-bowler with genuine pace who can complement Deepak Chahar and Mukesh Choudhary and cushion injury issues.
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Mumbai Indians (Purse Left: Rs 20.55 crore)
While the five-time champion has largely retained its core, Kieron Pollard’s absence, for the first time since 2010, will play on Mumbai Indians’ mind. It has adequate firepower at the top of the batting order and in the middle but will have a bowling all-rounder on its radar who can provide a sixth bowling option. At the top of its priority, however, will be a pacer who can cover for the injury-prone Jasprit Bumrah and Jofra Archer, whose fitness for the tournament is under a cloud. Kumar Kartikeya and Hrithik Shokeen showed glimpses of their ability with the ball in IPL 2022, but MI would want to bank on more experience and variety in the spin department and could look towards someone like Adil Rashid or Adam Zampa. With Tristan Stubbs the only backup wicketkeeper in the squad, Indians could have their sights on a reserve for Ishan Kishan.
Royal Challengers Bangalore (Purse Left: Rs 8.75 crore)
Still in search of its maiden title win, RCB doesn’t have too much money to play with. It has the second smallest purse remaining and still some gaps to fill. An Indian batter will be on top of its checklist. It could eye an Indian opening batter to partner with skipper Faf du Plessis to accommodate Virat Kohli in his preferred No. 3 position. If Kohli continues to open, RCB could settle for a middle-order option too. Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey are strong contenders for these roles and can anchor the innings and complement power-hitters such as Glenn Maxwell and Rajat Patidar. RCB’s overseas players du Plessis, Maxwell, Wanindu Hasaranga, and Josh Hazlewood pick themselves and the franchise is unlikely to break the bank on filling the two overseas slots it has left.
Kolkata Knight Riders (Purse Left: Rs 7.05 crore)
The Knight Riders face the dilemma of having to fill the second-highest number of slots with the smallest purse available. It will need to optimise its INR 7.05 crore to rope in a wicketkeeper and an opening batter. Rahmanullah Gurbaz of Afghanistan, who is yet to make his IPL debut, is the only recognised wicketkeeper in the squad. Considering Gurbaz plays, he will need an opening partner, preferably Indian, as Tim Southee, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell occupy the rest of the overseas spots. Narayan Jagadeesan, Vivrant Sharma, Shubham Khajuria and Rohan Kunnummal are options KKR could consider, given their light purse. Mayank Agarwal would be an ideal contender but the former Punjab Kings skipper could be out of bounds for the cash-strapped franchise.
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Delhi Capitals (Purse Left: Rs 19.45 crore)
Having only released five players, the Capitals look like a settled team ahead of the auctions. It has a significant INR 19.45 crore left to rope in five players and can afford to target some big names. Among them could be Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and Jason Holder. But, considering the Rishabh Pant-led side is stacked with bowling firepower, Delhi could look towards investing more aggressively in batters who float in the middle-order, which is slightly lighter with an out-of-form Rishabh Pant, inconsistent Rovman Powell and Sarfaraz Khan. Capitals would also consider a specialist finisher with Rilee Rossouw and Nicholas Pooran emerging as front-runners for that role. Like most teams, Capitals will also need a cover for captain and wicketkeeper Pant and could look at getting back K.S. Bharat, who was bought by the franchise for INR 2 crore at the last auction, at a lower price.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (Purse Left: Rs 42.25 crore)
After a couple of consecutive disappointing seasons, Sunrisers are set for a wholesale revamp. They will begin by looking for a leader after releasing Kane Williamson and could consider Mayank Agarwal, Ben Stokes, Jason Holder and Nicholas Pooran for the job. Its complete rebuilding process will include using all the might of its whopping purse of INR 42.25 crore to get Abhishek Sharma an opening partner who can score briskly. Jason Roy and Cameroon Green are viable options while Rilee Rossouw will be an exciting prospect in the middle order, along with Rahul Tripathi and Abdul Samad and compatriot Aiden Markram. Spinners will be in demand at the SRH auction table, and Zampa, Rashid and all-rounder Sikandar Raza will all be in contention. The pace department will rally around Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umran Malik, and the management will have a keen interest in Adam Milne, Chris Jordan and Jaydev Unadkat.
Rajasthan Royals (Purse Left: Rs 13.20 crore)
A top-heavy Rajasthan Royals will look for stability in the middle order, which has long been its bane. While Shimron Hetmyer can finish the innings with a flourish, the Royals will look towards someone who can set the stage for a late flourish or steady the ship in case of early wickets. Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan and Sikandar Raza are options that will fit into the RR mould, with the last two also giving the team an extra bowling option. A genuine all-rounder, in the form of Ben Stokes, Cameroon Green or Jason Holder can tide over the issue of a lack of depth in the batting while adding to the pace battery comprising Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna and Kuldeep Sen.
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Punjab Kings (Purse Left: Rs 32.2 crore)
The franchise will have a new leader in Shikhar Dhawan and will want to continue its aggressive brand of cricket with the bat. With a settled batting line-up, which includes hard hitters Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone and Bhanuka Rajapaksa, and Arshdeep Singh and Kagiso Rabada forming a world-class pace duo, Punjab Kings will focus on getting a quality all-rounder and a spinner as backups for Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar. The franchise has the second biggest purse remaining and roping in hot property Ben Stokes or Cameroon Green could be feasible for the Kings. Punjab’s high-risk, high-reward approach with the bat is prone to collapses, and it could look for an anchor in Manish Pandey or Kane Williamson and Joe Root among overseas options.
Lucknow Super Giants (Purse Left: Rs 23.35 crore)
Super Giants are stacked with all-rounders but will need to bolster its batting as it lacks specialisation in that department. After the solid opening pair of captain KL Rahul and Quinton de Kock, a steady option in the middle order will hold the team in good stead. The likes of Marcus Stoinis, Ayush Badoni and Deepak Hooda can take care of the finishing. Having let go of Dushmantha Chameera, LSG will need a backup for injury-riddled Mark Wood and could break the bank on Sam Curran. Jason Holder, to the surprise of most, was released by Lucknow, and that move could set the stage for a big-ticket signing in Ben Stokes or Cameroon Green.
Gujarat Titans (Purse Left: Rs 19.25 crore)
Quite expectedly, defending champion Gujarat Titans has not opted for too many changes after winning the title in its maiden campaign. The areas it could focus on, however, will be the fast-bowling unit, where it doesn’t have the tearaway pace of Lockie Ferguson any longer. It will need backups for Alzarri Joseph and Mohammed Shami and can explore an overseas option in that regard. A reliable batting option is also something Gujarat will have its eyes on. Sai Sudharsan was fairly consistent in the middle order while Abhinav Manohar was brisk towards the end of the innings. The Hardik Pandya-led side would want a judicious mix of both to lend support to David Miller.