First, the IPL 2018 player retention rules:
- An FAQ: How many players can be retained in IPL 2018? A franchise can retain a maximum of five players through a combination of direct retention and right-to-match option. (For example, if a franchise choose to retain three players before the auction, they can exercise only two RTMs at the auction. If a franchise choose to not retain any player, they will still be able to retain only three players using the right-to-match option at the auction.)
- Of the five retainable players, only three capped Indian players, a maximum of only two overseas players and two uncapped Indian players can be retained
- If a franchise decide to retain three players, they will have to spend a sum of Rs 33 crores, meaning they will be left with 47 crores of the salary cap set for the IPL 2018 season (80 crores); IPL 2019 will have a salary cap of 82 crores and IPL 2020 will have a salary cap of 85 crores
- The two franchises returning to the IPL after serving two-year suspensions, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, can retain the players who were part of their squads in IPL 2015 and subsequently played for ‘Gujarat Lions’ and ‘Rising Pune Supergiant’ in IPL 2016 and 2017
- IPL teams can have only eight overseas players in their 18 to 25-player squads
IPL 2018 player retention list
A look at which players might be retained by each of the franchises before and during the auction.
Chennai Super Kings:
These five players were integral to CSK reaching the IPL 2015 final, provide balance to the team and are indispensable, to say the least. Dhoni is likely to return as captain; Raina is the leading run scorer in IPL, with 4540 runs; Jadeja and McCullum are fantastic fielders and, while Jadeja is a spinning all-rounder, McCullum is a devastating opening batsman; Dwayne Bravo lends the perfect balance being an all-rounder. This West Indian couldn’t feature in IPL 2017 due to a hamstring injury and Gujarat Lions missed him badly.
I think Dhoni, Raina and Bravo might be retained using direct retention, while Jadeja and McCullum might be brought in using the right-to-match option.
- Quinton de Kock
- Patrick Cummins
- Shreyas Iyer
- Rishabh Pant/Sanju Samson
- Mohammed Shami
Paddy Upton and TA Sekar have been sacked as the Delhi Daredevils’ head coach and director, respectively. So, difficult to anticipate what the new team management might opt for. If they choose to retain the five players allowed per franchise, then the above list will be ideal and is arguably the best possible.
- Hashim Amla
- Axar Patel
- Sandeep Sharma
- Glenn Maxwell
- Manan Vohra
Four of the five players listed above enjoyed a good IPL 2017 and may be seen as the team’s core. Amla was the sixth-highest run scorer with 420 runs last season; Sandeep Sharma and Axar Patel picked 17 and 15 wickets respectively and have been part of the franchise for a long time now. Glenn Maxwell was the Kings XI captain last season and nearly led them into the playoffs and the T20 format is tailormade for him. Manan Vohra has been with Kings XI Punjab since the 2013 season and though he hasn’t been a bankable player, his big-hitting ability might see him be retained.
- Gautam Gambhir
- Andre Russell
- Shakib Al Hasan/Sunil Narine/Trent Boult
- Manish Pandey
KKR might be able to retain only four players because of the IPL 2018 player retention rules. Russell had to miss the tenth season of the IPL because he was handed a one-year ban for violation of World Anti-Doping Agency’s whereabouts clause. His ban ends on January 30, 2018, meaning the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise might retain one of their key players in the ninth edition of this T20 league. Gambhir has led the Knight Riders to two IPL titles and is among the top IPL batsmen, too.
Manish Pandey has been a consistent run-scorer for Knight Riders and is a live wire too, on the field. The nature of the Eden Gardens pitch has changed, so this franchise have to decide whether they want to retain Shakib Al Hasan (who is more of a spinning all-rounder), Sunil Narine (who proved last IPL season that he is a lot more versatile now and can fill in as an opener) or Trent Boult, who is a world class fast bowler and suits the pitch conditions at their home ground.
Lasith Malinga is no longer the force he was a couple of IPL seasons ago and the defending IPL champions might not be keen on retaining him. Jasprit Bumrah is the bowler Malinga was and he is likely to be one of the three capped Indian players Mumbai retain before the auction. Kieron Pollard, though inconsistent with the bat, is a T20 specialist, saves you 50 to 100 runs in a season with his fielding and boasts the safest pair of hands. Pandya brothers are high-utility players and are growing into terrific all-rounders. And Rohit Sharma is the most successful IPL captain, who is also a destructive batsman, and retaining him is a no-brainer.
RCB’s quest for an IPL title goes on and in order to give themselves the best chance of ending a 10-year wait, they might look to retain the five players listed above. Kohli, Rahul and de Villiers are their three leading batsmen, though Rahul missed the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League with a right shoulder injury. Avesh Khan of Madhya Pradesh was impressive in the only match he played for Royal Challengers in IPL 2017. He bowled at lightning speed and got the ball to bounce from back of a length at the Feroz Shah Kotla. He is tall and his high-arm action can be disconcerting to face for most batsmen.
- Steve Smith
- Ajinkya Rahane
- James Faulkner
- Dhawan Kulkarni
Again, Rajasthan Royals might be one of the franchises who opt to retain only a maximum of four players. Steve Smith may well replace Shane Watson as the captain, while Ajinkya Rahane is likely to remain their No. 1 opener if he is retained. James Faulkner is no longer a regular in the Australian ODI and T20I squads, but he is a good all-rounder who Royals can retain. Kulkarni is predominantly a new-ball bowler, however, he has tended to be economical in the IPL and does take wickets.
Warner, Bhuvneshwar and Rashid are Sunrisers’ assets and sacrificing even one of them will be a mistake. Vijay Shankar has just broken into the Indian side, albeit only as a replacement, and with his growing stature, he is one uncapped player who the 2016 champions might retain at the auction. Shikhar Dhawan is another player who might initially be released but retained using the right-to-match option.