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KKR retain Gauti, Narine

- MI, CSK and RR use full retention quota for IPL VII

Calcutta: Defending champions Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals have exhausted all their five retentions available for the seventh edition of the IPL.

Friday was the last date of submitting the list to the governing council.

CSK have predictably retained captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina and West Indies’ Dwayne Bravo.

Mumbai Indians retained captain Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard and Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga.

Aussie pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson will in all likelihood be picked up with ‘Right to Match’ card.

Kolkata Knight Riders retained their captain Gautam Gambhir along with off-spinner Sunil Narine for the next edition of the cash-rich league.

Royal Challengers Bangalore retained their captain Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers.

Rajasthan Royals retained Australian Shane Watson, who will lead the side in IPL-VII along with left-arm seamer James Faulkner and India internationals Ajinkya Rahane and Stuart Binny. Sanju Samson, the talented India colts wicketkeeper-batsman who was the find for the Royals in the last edition, has also been retained.

Kings XI Punjab retained hard-hitting South African David Miller and talented Ranji team opener Manan Vohra. Vohra is another uncapped player to be retained.

Delhi DareDevils unanimously decided against retaining any of their existing players going into the auction.

The team management explaining the decision said: “It was the unanimous decision of the management with the focus of building a fresh team that the fans would be proud of.”

The Shah Rukh Khan co-owned Kolkata Knight Riders have retained only two players.

Gambhir led the team to IPL glory in 2012 and is again set to lead the team for the fourth straight season while Narine has been one of the biggest assets for the franchise.

KKR chief executive Venky Mysore said: “We are delighted that we have managed to retain two of our key players. We hope to build a competitive and exciting squad. The challenges of salary cap deductions and the retention rules did not allow us to retain more of our original team, who made us proud over the past three years.”

KKR will have Rs 38 crore of salary cap and two retention cards going into the auction in February.

Gambhir became the most expensive buy ever at an IPL auction in 2011, when KKR paid $2.4 million for him. The following year KKR once again surprised everyone by going in for the relatively unknown Narine, who was bought for $700,000.

They proved to be smart investments as Gambhir and Narine were consistent match-winners and played decisive roles during their successful IPL campaign in 2012. Gambhir was the second-best batsman that year, while Narine finished as the second highest wicket-taker and the most economical bowler.

Although both Gambhir and Narine have been struggling with form, the franchise seems to be confident they are still the best bet.

Gambhir has lost his place in the Indian team. Gambhir's consistency and his aggressive leadership were factors that led to retaining him.

As for Narine, the franchise felt he remained the most promising of their bowlers.

Mumbai Indians expectedly retained five players. Johnson will now be the favourite to be obtained through ‘Right to Match’ cards that the franchise can exercise during the two-day auction on February 12 and 13.

“The formidable combination of these five players — Rohit, Pollard, Malinga, Bhajji and Rayudu — forms the nucleus of Mumbai Indians. They have exemplified the spirit of Mumbai Indians and are match-winners in their own right,” Nita Ambani, co-owner of MI, was quoted as saying in a press release.

Dinesh Karthik is another player who has missed out on retention as Rayudu being a specialist batsman and his ability to do a decent job behind the stumps tilted the scales in his favour.

Mumbai Indians have had decent success over the last four years, both on and off the field, emerging as one of the most successful and followed teams.

Rajasthan Royals finished in third place in IPL 2013, behind Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. They showed strong form in the Champions League T20 also, finishing as runners-up. Rahul Dravid’s captaincy had steered the team to the top tier after Royals had finished seventh in IPL 2012.

Although he has retired, Dravid will stay on as a mentor for the side. His presence has been vital for the development of young players like Rahane, Binny and Samson. At 19, Samson is likely to be the youngest player retained among all teams.

Samson is also the vice-captain of India’s Under-19 team, which will play the World Cup in the UAE in February. He showed enough promise and commitment for the franchise to retain him. Samson has shown an ability to maintain a calm head in tight situations.