The retention rules ahead of the IPL 2022 mega-auction have been announced, with each team allowed to keep hold of up to four players from their IPL 2021 squads.
This can include up to three Indian players, and up to two overseas cricketers. However, the number of players retained will have a big impact on the amount available to each team in the auction. While there will be an expanded pot of INR 90 crore available to each side (approximately US$12 million), the amount deducted for each retention could be significant.
In the 2018 mega-auction, retaining three players would cost a total of INR 33 crore, over a third of the total budget, so it is likely that retaining four could use up nearly half of the total pot.
The two new teams, based in Lucknow and Ahmedabad, will be allowed to choose three players each from the pot of un-retained players ahead of the auction.
If each team does retain the full quota of players, here is who they should go with.
Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Kieron Pollard
Notable omissions: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya
This isn’t about what they will do, but about what they should. MI have a problem of plenty, with cricketers of the quality of Krunal Pandya, Rahul Chahar and Quinton de Kock barely entering this conversation. But the above quartet gives them the core of a team with time on their side and proven ability in the IPL in spades.
Any questioning of Rohit Sharma’s credentials is met with exasperation and disbelief, but he has never been a truly top-class batter in the IPL, and with Mumbai Indians enduring their worst campaign in a long time in 2021, and with Rohit in his mid-30s, this could be the time for a leadership shake-up. Hardik Pandya is the other notable omission, with his inability to bowl regularly limiting his value.
Chennai Super Kings
Ruturaj Gaikwad, Ravindra Jadeja, Deepak Chahar, Moeen Ali
Notable omissions: MS Dhoni, Faf du Plessis
Again, it would be a massive shock if CSK let go of MS Dhoni, a man synonymous with the franchise, and perhaps more loved in Indian cricket than any other. Off the field and in the dressing room, his presence is supreme. But on it, he’s a shadow of his former self, and at some point, the captaincy-batting trade-off will only work one way.
Ruturaj Gaikwad, 2021 Orange Cap winner, and Ravindra Jadeja, second in the IPL 2021 MVP stakes, are no-brainers, while Deepak Chahar, a high-class swing bowler, can lead the attack. Picking Moeen Ali over Faf du Plessis is tough on a man so nearly top run-scorer last year, and Player of the Final to boot. But Moeen is younger, offers something in two departments, and will be free from most of his England commitments going forward.
Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Avesh Khan, Anrich Nortje
Notable omissions: R Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Kagiso Rabada, Axar Patel, Shreyas Iyer
Anrich Nortje edging out Kagiso Rabada is a sign of how their stocks have risen and fallen respectively. On the Indian front, Avesh Khan edges out Ashwin and Axar due to the value of Indian quicks and the relatively large number of quality Indian spinners available. Dhawan and Iyer are the two batters to be cut, but that’s a very close call.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Glenn Maxwell
Notable omissions: AB de Villiers, Mohammed Siraj, Harshal Patel
Maxwell over AB is about age and role, with the Australian able to have a bigger impact at No.4 than de Villiers as a finisher. Virat Kohli is no longer captain, but he has kindly retained himself to leave RCB without a tricky decision to make. On balance, one of the greatest batters of all time is worth keeping around, if only to see whether taking the captaincy away can free him up to return to his 2016 T20 peak. Chahal over Siraj is down to the former’s experience and pedigree, but again, a very close shout. Harshal Patel, the 2021 MVP, doesn’t quite have the credit in the bank to warrant backing.
Rashid Khan, Jonny Bairstow, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan
Notable omissions: Kane Williamson
Sunrisers Hyderabad could justifiably decide not to use all four retentions, and could even only hold onto Rashid Khan and go for a full rebuild at the auction. If they do keep a quartet of players, then Bairstow is a consistent, belligerent batter to build a line-up around, while the two quicks are skilled enough to lead an attack. The idea of retaining Umran Malik is intriguing, given how high his ceiling could be, but there isn’t the body of work to justify that call.
Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler, Kartik Tyagi, Jofra Archer
Notable omissions: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jaydev Unadkat
Like SRH, if Rajasthan Royals just held onto Sanju Samson and one of the Englishmen, that would make sense. Kartik Tyagi is a hugely talented young quick, and while Archer and Buttler are among the best T20 players in the world, availability could be an issue.
Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Ravi Bishnoi, Nicholas Pooran
Notable omissions: Chris Gayle, Mohammed Shami
Nicholas Pooran is the best of a not great overseas bunch, highly talented but out of form, and so if Punjab Kings wanted an all new overseas group, that would make sense. Aside from that, that opening pair is perhaps the most feared in the league, and Ravi Bishnoi, a young, hugely talented mystery spinner, can lead the attack.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Shubman Gill, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell
Notable omissions: Eoin Morgan, Venkatesh Iyer
Andre Russell is lucky to make this list, given his shaky form over the last two seasons. Eoin Morgan captained KKR to the playoffs, but given a specialist captain is questionable in any case, using an overseas retention slot on one is even harder to justify. Had Venkatesh Iyer had a full season of top-order dreaminess and useful medium-pace to point to, retaining him could be an option, but it’s still hard to work out how good he actually is.