Indian Premier League: Race for retention hots up
The 15th edition of the IPL may be four months away but there’s already lot of activity behind the scenes over the retention of players before the mega auction in January.
The deadline for the eight franchises, part of IPL 2021, is Tuesday as hectic parleys continue with the players. With two new franchises joining the fray from next season, the race to retain and acquire cricketers is only expected to get intense, if not murkier.
The salary cap for the 10 franchises has been fixed at Rs 90 crore and the deductions will apply based on the number of retentions. The existing eight franchises will be allowed to retain four players.
The two new franchises — Sanjiv Goenka-backed RPSG Ventures Ltd and international investment firm Irelia Company Pte Ltd, an arm of CVC Capital Partners, which successfully bid for the Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises, respectively — will be allowed to pick three players from the unretained pool before the auction.
MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant are set to continue with their respective franchises. India’s T20 vice-captain KL Rahul will not be part of Punjab Kings and is being tipped to lead the Lucknow team.
Sources told The Telegraph that Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan prefer to be in the auction pool and have informed Delhi Capitals accordingly. Both are being pursued by Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises.
While Mumbai Indians are also reportedly interested in picking Shreyas at the auction, at least one other existing franchise too want him since he is being seen as captaincy material.
Kolkata Knight Riders are learnt to have confirmed Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy as the players they would retain. The Shah Rukh Khan-co-owned franchise was keen on Venkatesh Iyer too, but are having second thoughts since the all-rounder no more falls in the uncapped player bracket. Shubman Gill and Andre Russell are also in Knight Riders’ list of retention.
Another cricketer whose agent has been bargaining hard with different franchises has been Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.
The leg-spinner wants to be retained as the No.1 player for Sunrisers Hyderabad, which will cost the franchise Rs 16 crore. But the franchise has apparently made it clear that captain Kane Williamson is their top choice and that the Afghan will have to settle for Rs 12 crore.
That hasn’t pleased one of the leading bowlers in T20 cricket and there is a possibility that Sunrisers could lethim go. Franchises like Punjab Kings are willing to go into the auction with a full purse and form a new-look side. However, it is learnt that they are in talks with some of their uncapped players like Ravi Bishnoi and Arshdeep Singh.