IPL Retention: From KL Rahul to David Warner, top player franchises could let go
The fifteenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is expanding with two new teams aimed at increasing the level of competition. But before that can happen, the franchises have a tedious task of locking down the list of players they want to keep.
Selecting a handful of cricketers from a huge pool is not an easy task, but this brainstorming needs to be done before the teams go into the megaplayer auction to redesign their respective units for the 2022 IPL. According to the guidelines, each franchise can retain a maximum of four players and must release the rest.
Several reports have claimed that players like Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore have already decided to keep marquee players, while Punjab Kings will not keep a player and will start over at the auction.
Before the names of the players being held back are released, let's take a look at the great players on each team who can turn the auction into a battlefield if not held back.
Faf du Plessis: The former South African captain finished the IPL 2021 in second place on the goalscorer list and was one of the constant top performers for CSK. However, there are reports that the franchise would keep Captains MS Dhoni, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and opener Ruturaj Gaikwad. If you Plessis makes it to the auction, he will surely land a lucrative order and there is a possibility that CSK will pursue him again.
Shardul Thakur: The pacemaker who can make it big when needed was a win for CSK in the tournament and the franchise would certainly want to look for him. But other franchises, especially the newly launched ones, will also keep an eye on the cricketer in Mumbai.
Hardik Pandya: The fitness of the all-rounder has been a big issue in the recent past that has kept him from bowling at full throttle. Unlike 2017, it is very unlikely to be taken over by Mumbai Indians and if he does participate in the auction he will be on the list of many other teams who would need an all-rounder of his caliber.
Suryakumar Yadav: SKY - the match winner for MI, is another player who is expected to participate in the player auction. He is one of the stars who has done well in the Rohit Sharma-run franchise and the team will try to bring him back. He's in great shape right now and if he does grab another team it will be a huge loss for MI for sure.
Dinesh Karthik: The former Kolkata Knight Riders captain is expected to come back under the hammer, as reports suggest that Shah Rukh Khan's franchise is putting its weight behind all-rounders Andre Russel and Sunil Narine. If available, it can be picked up from either Ahmedabad or Lucknow who would like to have an experienced wicketkeeper batter. Karthik was recently named to the Tamil Nadu squad for the Vijay Hazare Trophy and his performance in the tournament is sure to have an impact on his stocks.
Kuldeep Yadav: The left weirdo may have fallen out of favor at the moment, but he's a valuable addition to any squad. When the IPL returns to India in 2022 he will play a vital role on the turning stretches and the team that spent a lot on him will not regret it given his talent. If CSK catches him, playing under Dhoni's guidance can help him regain his old form.
David Warner: The 2021 IPL was probably one of the worst phases in the Australian superstar career. When Warner was fired from captaincy and then ousted from the team, Warner had a season to forget. But a great player like him doesn't stay calm for long and he proved that at the T20 World Cup in 2021. All eyes will be on the Australian opener, especially the teams looking for a new captain.
Chris Gayle: The Universe boss isn't going to be leaving anytime soon and he can be a handy hitter for any squad. He's hitting superbly in the ongoing Abu Dhabi T10 League and that's enough to prove his caliber as a batsman. He is a legend of the most run format and is not easy to ignore despite his age.
Shikhar Dhawan: The opener will likely be released by the Delhi Capitals as the think tank plans to hold back the youth in Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw and Axar Patel. Dhawan was one of the top scorers at the 2021 IPL and has been in decent shape lately. One of the greatest Indian batterers in white ball cricket, whichever side he comes on, this team will have a good start.
KL Rahul: The Indian T20I vice-captain has shown a consistent performance in the IPL and there is a good chance that one of the two new teams will approach him for the role of captain. He's been in great shape the past few months and that also makes him a contender for the auction's most expensive player.