The IPL 2021 auction is scheduled for February 18. This will not be a mega auction, which means that franchises will largely seem to fill in the gaps, some bigger than others. In this, the first of the two-part review, we consider the requirements for the Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Chennai Super Kings
The return of Suresh Raine restores a certain balance, and perhaps self-confidence.
The Super Kings battled in IPL 2020 with seventh place, their lowest in tournament history. They have only one overseas slot left: they will probably look for a powerful striker, who can not only replace the now retired Shane Watson, but also double as a bowler. The two names at the top of the wish list are likely to be Glenn Maxwell and Moeen Ali, who meet the criteria for a strong kick and add a finger element that the Super Kings missed so much last year without Harbhajan Singh. They could consider getting someone who could become a candidate for the captaincy in the near future when MS Dhoni decides to declare it a day, which brings someone like Steven Smith into conflict.
Current first XI: 1 Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2 Faf du Plessis, 3 Suresh Raina, 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 MS Dhoni, 6 Ravindra Jadeja, 7 Sam Curran, 8 Dwayne Bravo, 9 Shardul Thakur, 10 Deepak Chahar, 11 Imran Tahir.
Key gaps: Top overseas batsman / batting allrounder
Potential selections: Steven Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Moeen Ali, Jason Roy, Marnus Labuschagne
Fingerpinners: K Gowtham, Jalaj Saxena
After setting their first IPL finals in 2020, the Delhi Capitals wouldn’t want to mess too much with their combination. But they still need a few spare options for the first XI. They have a total of eight jobs, including three overseas jobs. But with a purse of just INR 13.4 crore, they will try to find the best place for key roles.
The Capitals need a blanket for Rishabh Pant and perhaps a backup for Marcus Stoinis as an overseas planet. You might also want an overseas speed bowler, who replaced left-handed boatman Daniel Sams in the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Current first XI: 1 Shikhar Dhawan, 2 Marcus Stoinis, 3 Ajinkya Rahane, 4 Shreyas Iyer, 5 Rishabh Pant, 6 Shimron Hetmyer, 7 Axar Patel, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Ishant Sharma.
Key gaps: Batting allrounder (backup for Marcus Stoinis)
Potential selections: Chris Morris, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Christian, Shivam Dube
Back left hand and goalkeeper: Jason Behrendoff, Joel Paris, David Willey, Sheldon Cottrell, Sam Billings, Glenn Philips
Kings XI Punjab
With a bag of INR 53.20 crore, Kings XI Punjab could have a lot of fun, targeting all the players he wants and having a hard time.
Coaches of Anil Kumble, Kings XI were not lucky enough to at least not reach the playoffs in the IPL 2020. Their Indian core for kicking is one of the strongest in the competition. But Kings XI will look for overseas waves and bowling alleys to ensure proper balance. Will it buy Maxwell, which was the second most expensive purchase at auction in 2020 at a price of 10.75 kroner (approximately $ 1.514 million)? After releasing K Gowtham and Mujeeb ur Rahman, they also need a quality hairpin, a job that even Maxwell did a few matches last season while opening the bowling alley. Will Kumble be tempted to hang out with his former Indian teammate Harbhayan Singh, who despite winning 40 IPLs on the Mumbai Indians and Super Kings despite 40 years? The specialist foreign high-speed bowler is another position that Kings XI will be looking for.
Current first XI: 1 KL Rahul, 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Nicholas Pooran, 5 Mandeep Singh, 6 Deepak Hooda, 7 Chris Jordan, 8 M Ashwin, 9 Mohammed Shami, 10 Ravi Bishnoi, 11 Arshdeep Singh.
Key gaps: Wadding and bowling around
Potential selections: Moeen Ali, Shakib Al Hasan, Tom Curran, Fabian Allen, Dan Christian
Speed bowlers: Jhye Richardson, Kyle Jamieson, Umesh Yadav, Naveen ul Haq
Fingerpinners: Harbhajan Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Khrievetso Kense
Kolkata Knight Riders
Since the start of IPL 2020, the Kolkata Knight Riders have changed their coaching staff and captain, and recently even hired a prominent analyst to help them better strategize in their quest to win a third title, after their last triumph in 2014. Fitness Andre Russell, along with Sunil Narina’s failure as an opener, harmed the Knight Riders in the 2020 IPL. Finding capable entourage that can serve as a backup for the Caribbean couple is likely to be their priority at this auction.
Current first XI: 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Rahul Tripathi, 3 Nitish Rana, 4 Dinesh Karthik, 5 Eoin Morgan, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Sunil Narine, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Kamlesh Nagarkoti, 10 Varun Chakravarthy, 11 Prasidh Krishna
Key gaps: Backups for Russell and Narine
Potential selections: Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Morris, Daniel Christian, Ravi Bopara
Indian midfielder: Kedar Jadhav, Shivam Dube, Himmat Singh, Shahrukh Khan
Gaurav Sundararaman is a senior analyst at ESPNcricinfo