Firstpost takes a look at how IPL sides Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals fared in the trading window, what they lack in their squad and what they need to hit the ground running when the T20 league begins.
They are at different ends of the spectrum in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 Players' Auction. One has the second fattest purse and the other has the second smallest packet. It is a reflection of their contrasting fortunes over the past three seasons, Delhi Capitals (playing as Delhi Daredevils) ending in the lower half of the table and Sunrisers Hyderabad making to the play-offs each time.
It is evident that Hyderabad will be able to focus on making on or two buys with its Rs 9.70 crore while Delhi will need to find some players who not only can plug the gaps in the squad but also can lift the quality of its cricket so that it can aspire for a berth in the play-offs in what can emerge as one of the most competitive seasons in IPL.
IPL 2018 standing: 8th place
Salary cap available: Rs 25.50 crore
Available slots: 10 (Indian 7, Overseas 3)
Players retained: Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Jayant Yadav, Manjot Kalra, Colin Munro, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult
Players released: Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Junior Dala, Liam Plunkett, Mohammed Shami, Sayan Ghosh, Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Naman Ojha
They may have a less energetic name now, Delhi Capitals, than in the first 11 seasons of Indian Premier League when they were known as the Delhi Daredevils. But you can be sure that the franchise will be among the more aggressive bidders at the IPL 2019 Players Auction in Jaipur on 18 December as they seek to improve their record by building competitive squad for the season.
After successive appearances in the semi-finals in the first two years, Delhi's team was able to make it to the play off only once. Worse, they have not been able to find a place in the top half of the table for six seasons in-a-row. They are the only side among the the eight in the league with such a dubious record over the last six years. The others have at least one top-three finish in this time.
Their top-order batting has an explosive quartet in Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and Rishab Pant. A quality all-rounder in Chris Morris, fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Trent Boult, IPL's second-most successful bowler Amit Mishra and his fellow leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane to form a strong nucleus but they will need to find a few others who will add muscle to the XI.
Delhi will need a couple of batsmen, one who can play the anchoring role if necessary and a finisher, and a couple of all-rounders to find the balance in the XI for each game. There should be no doubt that Windies' batsman Shimron Hetmyer and uncapped Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dubey will be high on the team's shopping list.
Having traded off their reliable and consistent left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem to Sunrisers Hyderabad, Delhi will now be looking to add one such bowler to its roster. Axar Patel could be that experienced left-arm spinner that the team will look to secure in the auction. Besides, his batting lower down the order can come in more than handy.
If Delhi can acquire three players, they will arm themselves with a side that can make a strong run like they did in 2012. Yet, other franchises will also go for these big-ticket names and it is possible that Delhi may be outbid when chasing one or more such players. The team will need to zero in on alternatives and be prepared to change its approach dynamically in the auction room.
Of the three teams with more than Rs 20 crore in their respective bags, Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals have always left themselves with significant monies rather than spend the whole purse. That will make Delhi Capitals (Rs 25.50 crore) face some challenge from Royal Challengers Bangalore (Rs 18.15 crore) and Kolkata Knight Riders (Rs 15.20 crore) much of the time.
Yet, having retained just 10 players, Kings XI Punjab will be serious players in the auction. But Delhi are in a position to make some significant bids. How well former Australian captain Ricky Ponting, former India batsman Mohammed Kaif, who has watched most of the Indian talent from close quarters, and others strategise could well determine the team's fortunes in 2019.
IPL 2018 standing: 1st place
Salary cap available: Rs 9.70 crore
Available slots: 5 (Indian 3, Overseas 2)
Players retained: Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, T Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Khaleel Ahmed, Yusuf Pathan, Billy Stanlake, David Warner, Kane Williamson, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Shakib Al Hasan
Players released: Sachin Baby, Tanmay Agarwal, Wriddhiman Saha, Chris Jordan, Carlos Brathwaite, Alex Hales, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan
An opening batsman, a wicket-keeper, preferably home grown, and, if possible, some players who can add strength to its bench. That could well be Hyderabad's shopping list at the IPL 2019 Players' Auction. For, the 20 players already in its ranks cover all bases in the XI and will need only some bolstering.
The return of their successful skipper David Warner from exile will compensate the loss of Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who stood in superbly as leader last season, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan and Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan will expectedly be their quartet of overseas players in all games.
Wicket-keeper Sreevats Goswami, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda or Vijay Shankar and the trio of swing bowlers in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma will complete the XI that will do duty in most matches. With such an assured line-up and with Rs 9.70 crore available, last year's runner-up can do some focussed bidding.
Former captain Dhawan's insistence on a change of teams is the only top gun move that has been forced on Sunrisers. His decision to seek greener pastures in Delhi means that Sunrisers may have to look for an opening batsman to partner Warner this season.
Goswami is the only wicket-keeper in their squad now and Sunrisers will want to add some muscle with another stumper. Sunrisers may want to bid for the return of the seasoned Naman Ojha or for England's Johnny Bairstow, either of whom could end up as a first choice in the XI as wicketkeeper-batsman.
Yet, it should not be surprising if Sunrisers' think tank chases Windies batsman Hetmyer and rejig the overseas component by replacing Shakib Al Hasan with Shahbaz Nadeem to fit the big hitter in the XI.
The other area where they may want to find some insurance is in an overseas all-rounder in place of Windies captain Carlos Brathwaite. But having traded in Vijay Shankar from Delhi to go with Shakib and Yusuf Pathan, They do not have to actively pursue an overseas all-rounder. They will want to be careful in not disturbing the stability and consistency that they have found over the last three seasons.
It is certain that Bhuvneshwar, Siddharth, Sandeep, Rashid and Shakib will form the Sunrisers' bowling component. Nadeem's left-arm spin has also become available, thanks to some smart trading. With such a bowling unit, it may not have to do much more at the auction than pick up some solid back up players.
Sunrisers' challenge will be to find some reserve batsmen who will be aware that they may not get many games this season but be ready for a call up at any time should any of their match-winners get injured or report sick during the long-drawn tournament. They have to ensure that the atmosphere in the team is always optimally high for them to be in the play-off rounds for the fourth successive time.
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