The mini players' auction ahead of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) takes place on 18 February in which representatives of all the eight franchises will be under one roof in Chennai to take each other on in an intense off the field battle.
In this piece, we will look to analyse the possible auction strategies of five-time winners and present defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) and the runners-up of IPL 2020, Delhi Capitals (DC).
Purse: INR 15.35 crore.
Slots available: Seven, including four overseas
Retained players: Rohit Sharma (C), Quinton de Kock (WK), Ishan Kishan (WK), Aditya Tare (WK), Suryakumar Yadav, Anmolpreet Singh, Chris Lynn, Saurabh Tiwary, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jasprit Bumrah, Rahul Chahar, Trent Boult, Mohsin Khan, Hardik Pandya, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy
Released players: Lasith Malinga, Mitch McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sherfane Rutherford, Prince Balwant Rai, Digvijay Deshmukh
Mumbai Indians almost had a near-perfect show in the IPL last year as they defended their title successfully. However, despite their commanding performance, quite a few eyebrows were raised when the management decided to release a bulk of their cricketers and most of them were overseas pacers. It seems they want to add a few fitter and younger fast bowlers compared to the ones they released to form a quality back-up force for their mainstream pacers like Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
Hence, with a purse of over INR 15 crore as well as with four overseas slots available, it is a no-brainer that Mumbai will bid aggressively for the likes of Chris Morris, Jhye Richardson, Mark Wood, David Willey, Sheldon Cottrell, Adam Milne, or Liam Plunkett. The Rohit Sharma-led team needs at least two overseas pacers from this auction to feel secure.
Furthermore, Mumbai require some experience in their spin department. The fading form of Krunal Pandya and the inexperience of Rahul Chahar are needed to be covered. So, it won't be surprising if they repurchase veteran Harbhajan Singh. Amongst the foreign options, someone like Sandeep Lamichhane can be a decent choice.
Well, some experts believe Mumbai can be a little more adventurous and bid for Shakib Al Hasan, who along with his bowling skills will add to the batting as well. However, considering their primary preference of spending the bulk of their money on overseas fast bowlers, getting Shakib will be a difficult proposition for this franchise. Hence, instead of the Bangladesh all-rounder, they might target other utility options like Moeen Ali or Kyle Jamieson.
Purse: INR 12.8 crore
Slots available: Six, two overseas
Retained Players: Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Prithvi Shaw, R Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Lalit Yadav, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams, Pravin Dubey, Chris Woakes
Released Players: Alex Carey (WK), Keemo Paul, Tushar Deshpande, Sandeep Lamichhane, Mohit Sharma, Harshal Patel, Jason Roy
Following their impressive show in the UAE, Delhi have kept their core group intact prior to the IPL 14. Going into the auction, they released a few of their back-up players and will search for like-for-like replacements. Delhi have the second-lowest purse left amongst eight franchises and they have six lots to fill. Hence, it will be difficult for them to purchase any of the marquee players.
Primarily, what Delhi want from this auction is an all-rounder who can be a back-up for Marcus Stoinis. Ideally, someone like Shivam Dube, who has been released by Royal Challengers Bangalore, or Australia's Moises Henriques will be on the radar. Also, Glenn Maxwell will be another option. However, getting him would not be a cakewalk considering the amount they have.
Delhi further need a few quality Indian fast bowlers who can do the job in their first-choice XI alongside Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. For that particular role, Umesh Yadav seems like an ideal choice. From the uncapped players, Chetan Sakariya, the left-arm sensation who had a brilliant Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy campaign for Saurashtra, might attract a bid from this franchise.
Nevertheless, after releasing Alex Carey from the squad, Delhi desperately need a back-up wicketkeeper for Rishabh Pant. Also, considering Prithvi Shaw's scratchy form, they preferably will look for someone who can open the batting as well. Hence, for this dual role, someone like Mathew Wade, who recently had a good white-ball series against India can be considered. There is also young Josh Inglis, who was impressive in the last Big Bash League for Perth Scorchers, scoring 391 runs in 15 outings.
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Most of the IPL teams have completed their quotas of 25 maximum players apart from RR and RCB.
Here's a list of all unsold players from the IPL 2021 auction.
The team went into the auction with the biggest prize purse among eight teams – Rs 53.20 crore – and shelled out Rs 22 crore for Richardson and Meredith.