When last year’s IPL ended, and the World Cup was over, we descended into a seemingly unending no-great-cricket-left-so-now-you-have-to-do-other-work-instead-of-watching-or-reading-about-cricket-the-whole-day hole (Recently discovered by scientists to be one of the most dangerous threats known to humankind). But when the IPL trading window opened, we got on the spaceship that took us right to our home planet of cricket maniacs. Although you can say that the whole trading and offseason part of the ‘new’ IPL is a little imitative of leagues like MLB or NFL but it’s entertaining and I like it.
In this article, I will be expressing my views on all the trades, retentions, releases and all the squads of all the IPL teams. I’ll also be predicting which players some teams might go for in the auction (Which by the way, is on my birthday!).
Squad – Aditya Tare, Anmolpreet Singh, Anukul Roy, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Jasprit Bumrah, Jayant Yadav, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McCleneghan, Quinton de Kock, Rahul Chahar, Rohit Sharma, Suryakumar Yadav, Trent Boult, Dhawal Kulkarni (Traded in), Sherfane Rutherford (Traded in)
Released Players – Adam Milne, Alzarri Joseph, Barinder Sran, Ben Cutting, Beuran Hendricks, Evin Lewis, Jason Behrendorff, Pankaj Jaswal, Rasikh Dar, Yuvraj Singh
Last year’s champions, Mumbai Indians are easily one of the best sides at the moment and they are definitely going to challenge for the trophy again. They have retained their core which is made up of the poles of the Indian team. Their pace attack is spectacular, with the likes of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, two pacers considered to be the best in the world. They still have room for improvement in the spinners section though. Rahul Chahar has proven to be a promising young talent, but I do not think Krunal Pandya is ready as of now to take that second spinner spot. They might have their eyes on Piyush Chawla or maybe even Varun Chakravarthy if they want to take a risk. Basically, their playing 11 is more or less sorted, but they need some backups or they will not be able to defend their title.
Chennai Super Kings
Squad – Ambati Rayudu, KM Asif, Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Imran Tahir, Jagadeesan Narayan, Karn Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, Monu Singh, MS Dhoni, M Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Suresh Raina
Released players: Chaitanya Bishnoi, David Willey, Dhruv Shorey, Mohit Sharma, Sam Billings, Scott Kuggeleijn
The yellow brigade has kept completely silent at the trade window, and they have good reason for that. Reaching the finals two years in a row is not every team’s piece of cake. In MS Dhoni, they have a captain who ages like fine wine. In fact, their whole team is full of older players who are arguably playing better than they did at their supposed peak. The likes of Shane Watson, Faf Du Plessis, DJ Bravo and even Imran Tahir, the oldest player of the 2019 World Cup. tThey also have some young talent mixed in there. Deepak Chahar, the new owner of the best T20I bowling figures in the hitsory of the game and one of my favourite new ball pacers, is one of their homegrown finds. The myriad spinners they have complements the Chepauk pitch they will play on perfectly. There is definitely some room for improvement in the batting department, but then again, we say that every year, and they go out and prove us wrong every year. But I think they’ve played the odds too much now. So maybe not the extremes of the 2018 and 2019 seasons next year…
Squad: Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Keemo Paul, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Sandeep Lamichhane, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane (Traded in), R Ashwin (Traded in)
Released players: Ankush Bains, B Ayyappa, Chris Morris, Colin Ingram, Colin Munro, Hanuma Vihari, Jalaj Saxena, Manjot Kalra, Nathu Singh
The undoubted winners of the trades, Delhi Capitals have the best squad according to me. Their Indian core is stunning. They might be the only team with an all-Indian top 5, and a solid one at that. The best or the most high-profile trade acquisitions of all the 11 both came to them. In Rahane and Ashwin, they got two experienced Indian players who will do the mentoring job for a bunch of promising young Indians. What’s interesting is that Rahane and Ashwin were both captains of their respective teams. They both actually have captaincy experience on the international level. DC’s current captain Shreyas Iyer, however has no captaincy experience on a bigger scale than these two. So DC might cave and make one of them the captain. But I hope they don’t do that. Iyer’s style of captaincy is new and fresh, while Rahane and Ashwin use more orthodox styles. As for the auction, DC need to buy only foreign players. A foreign all-rounder and a few bowlers fit their bill. The need for batsmen is minimal and they just need one or two backups, nothing else. If I have to make a wayyyy too early prediction for next year’s IPL trophy, I’d say it’s going to the Kotla, or now the Jaitley.
Squad: Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Billy Stanlake, David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha
Released players: Deepak Hooda, Martin Guptill, Ricky Bhui, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan
SRH have also not made any trades, though they have released some important players. They wouldn’t have liked releasing Shakib but they had no choice there. They have also released Yusuf Pathan and Deepeak Hooda. This leaves their middle order blank. That means they will definitely go for someone like David Miller or Chris Morris or Carlos Brathwaite who actually played for them in 2018. They don’t really have a lot of great Indian options in that place. SRH’s bowling attack has always been considered the best but right now I fail to see why. Rashid Khan is the best T20 player in the world. The problem with them is that they have 5 great foreign players and they will probably get some more. So they will have to sit out. That will be a tough decision to make. The team otherwise is quite strong and should make the playoffs.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Squad: Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Harry Gurney, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Siddhesh Lad (Traded in)
Released players: Anrich Nortje, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Lynn, Joe Denly, KC Cariappa, Matt Kelly, Nikhil Naik, Piyush Chawla, Prithvi Raj Yarra, Robin Uthappa, Shrikant Mundhe
KKR has really cut off their own foot with the players they have released. Players like Chris Lynn, Piyush Chawla and Robin Uthappa who are assosciated with KKR and are some of the first names that come to mind when you think of the eastern giants. The release of Uthappa is still justifiable. There seemed to be some problems in the dugout involving him and he wasn’t playing that well either. Maybe they want to buy back Lynn and Chawla at a lower price. Saying that, what is left of their squad isn’t that repulsive. The most valuable player of the last IPL and the best all-rounder in the T20 format is part of their team. In fact, Russell was the only reason why KKR contended for the playoffs last year. Of course, they didn’t make it. They have got quantity in the bowling department, loads of it, but not a lot of quality. For the batting department, even the former isn’t true. They need at least one match-winning batsman and bowler each. Auction purse is not an issue for them so they can go for big stars.
Kings XI Punjab
Squad: Arshdeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Darshan Nalkande, Hardus Viljoen, Harpreet Brar,KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, M Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan, K Gowtham (Traded in), Jagadeesha Suchith (Traded in)
Released players: Agnivesh Ayachi, Andrew Tye, David Miller, Moises Henriques, Prabhsimran Singh, Sam Curran, Varun Chakaravarthy
Talking about auction purse not being a problem, we now come to the team with the most money come the auction. Kings XI Punjab have been active in the trade window. They traded away their captain, Ravi Ashwin and an emerging pacer Ankit Rajpoot. It is hard to say how Punjab will perform. Their team doesn’t look the strongest as of now, but they have much, much more money to spend than the other teams. Their bowling is quite weak. We should probably expect the biggest bowlers to be going to Mohali next season. The biggest buys at this auction will be made by KXIP. First and foremost, they need a captain. They are the only team right now who doesn’t have a captain. Maybe they can deploy Gayle or KL Rahul in the skipper spot but it would be much better to go with an experienced foreign option like Eoin Morgan, who also brings a great bat to the team. They will also be looking for a wicket keeper as their current keeper, KL Rahul keeps part time. If I was to predict their performance next year, I would expect one similar to this year’s.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Squad: AB de Villiers, Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini, Parthiv Patel, Pawan Negi, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Virat Kohli, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal
Released players: Akshdeep Nath, Colin de Grandhomme, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klassen, Himmat Singh, Kulwant Khejroliya, Marcus Stoinis, Milind Kumar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Prayas Ray Barman, Shimron Hetmyer, Tim Southee
The legend that is RCB. Every single year, we say ‘this is the year.’, ‘they will win now’, but they always misfire. After all they are the misfiring superstars. They have cleaned out their squad by releasing almost everyone in sight. One important thing to note is that they have only retained 2 foreign players. So they can buy 6 overseas players now. This means that they won’t face the same problem as most of the other teams will – Running out of overseas spots. If you look at the squad right now, they have no specific needs but a little bit of everything would really catapult their team to one of the best in the IPL. RCB fans probably feel very confident about their chances next year. But again, they do that every year.
Squad: Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler, Mahipal Lomror, Manan Vohra, Riyan Parag, Sanju Samson, Shashank Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Steve Smith, Varun Aaron, Ankit Rajpoot (Traded in), Mayank Markande (Traded in), Rahul Tewatia (Traded in)
Released players: Aryaman Birla, Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Jaydev Unadkat, Liam Livingstone, Oshane Thomas, Prashant Chopra, Rahul Tripathi, Shubham Ranjane, Stuart Binny, Sudhesan Midhun
The last team is the Rajasthan Royals, the team that I support. RR was the most active team in the trade window but their trades weren’t that great. First, they let go of Rahane. I can live with that but they should have asked for big players in return. They instead settled for two young inexperienced spinners. The biggest stupidity, I felt, was that they also released Rahul Tripathi, even after losing Rahane. Now they are left with very few dependable Indian batsmen. They also traded away Krishnappa Gowtham which I think was a smart decision as it gave them good money for the auction. Now let’s talk about their shopping list for the auction. They definitely need Indian pacers. Maybe they buy back Undakat at a lower price.They also need an opener to start off the innings along with Jos Buttler. As I said earlier, the auction this time is on my birthday. I hope RR can give me a birthday gift by buying a few remarkable players and putting together a good squad.