Kicking off the 2018 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), eight franchises in the annual T-20 league announced the names of the players that were retained ahead of the player auctions on January 27. Eighteen players, including six overseas players, were retained.
According to the provision, each team can retain up to three players ahead of the auction. Four teams — Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Mumbai Indians (MI), Delhi Daredevils (DD), and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) — have taken advantage of this provision.
The six overseas players, which were retained, are Chris Morris (DD), Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders), Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders), AB de Villiers (RCB), Steve Smith (Rajasthan Royals), and David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad).
While the likes of Virat Kohli, M S Dhoni and Rohit Sharma were expected to be retained, there were some surprises. Many expected KKR to retain Gautam Gambhir, but he didn’t figure in the list. Similarly, SRH decided to let go of Shikhar Dhawan in favour of Warner and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
This also means the auction will see some big names being up for grabs. Apart from Gambhir, players such as Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Shaun Marsh, Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane, and Krunal Pandya will be part of the auction pool. Ben Stokes, last year’s most expensive player, also finds himself up for auction. This season will see RR and CSK returning to the league after a two-year suspension.
According to the revised rules set by the IPL Governing Council late last year, each team can retain up to five players from its 2017 team. However, ahead of the auction, only up to three players can be retained. During the auction, up to three players may be retained using the Right to Match (RTM) provision, which implies that a team may match the final bid price for a player in order to retain him.
The salary purse for this year’s auction has also been increased to Rs 800 million. The money for the retained players will be deducted from this purse. With every new IPL cycle, each team starts with Rs 800 million and by the end of the auction, they are supposed to spend at least 75 per cent of it.
“For the 11th season of the IPL, we are pleased to retain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, and Sarfaraz Khan. Virat has been a part of RCB since the inception of the league, and is the team’s captain — on and off the field.
The camaraderie and teamwork between Virat and de Villiers has been the backbone of the team for several seasons, and we want to build on that. Sarfaraz is one of the players, which we believe will rise to great heights, not just in the IPL but in world cricket. We believe that together — Virat, de Villiers and Sarfaraz —embody the ‘play bold and fearless’ outlook that is inherent in RCB, and we are excited to retain them for IPL 2018,” RCB Chairman Amrit Thomas said.