The IPL Governing Council had set January 10, 2014, as the cut-off date for the franchises to submit the list of players, they wanted to retain for the upcoming seasons. All franchises have complied with the deadline. Other than a couple of surprises, the retained-player lists were on expected lines. As an example, the Chennai Super Kings retained Dhoni, Raina, Jadeja, Ashwin and Bravo. They now have Rs. 210 million left with one Right-to-match card. Exactly the same thing happened in the case of Mumbai Indians, who retained Rohit Sharma, Malinga, Pollard, Rayudu and Harbhajan. There were some doubts about Harbhajan but it seems his closeness with Sachin Tendulkar and a good equation with Nita Ambani would have helped his cause. Like the CSK, the Mumbai Indians also have Rs. 210 million to build the rest of their squad and of course; they have one RTM card. The only other IPL franchise to retain five players is Rajasthan Royals. They decided to continue with Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson and Stuart Binny. RR will also have Rs. 210 million and one RTM card.
The biggest surprise was Kings XI Punjab throwing their lot in favour of Manan Vohra. They have also retained the talented David Miller and with this, the Kings still have Rs.435 million and 2 RTMs. Miller demonstrated tremendous batting ability in the lower middle order, especially in the last year’s match, where he blasted Royal Challengers, Bangalore bowlers in bringing a turn around with an explosive century. Miller finished IPL 6 as Kings XI’s leading run-getter with 418 runs with an impressive strike rate of 164.56. The same thing cannot be said about Vohra, who was hired by Kings XI last year. His performance in IPL 6, where he scored 161 runs in 12 matches, at a modest average of 20.12, can be called exemplary. But it seems his recent outings for Punjab for Ranji games could have been a factor in his getting a preference over talented and time-tested local Punjabi boys; Mandeep Singh and Gurkeerat Singh.
When asked about the choice of Miller and Vohra, a Kings XI official responded that Miller was crucial for the franchise and stood in the same class as Brad Hodge and Kieron Pollard. Any side will benefit from such guys, who are capable of single-handedly changing the complexion of the game in lower middle order. They have a great utility value, when the chips are down. The same official also compared Vohra, as being in the same mould as Sanju Samson, the talented Kerala batsman, who has also been retained by Rajasthan Royals. Vohra made three back-to-back centuries in CK Nayudu Trophy and he was quickly drafted to play for Punjab in the Ranji Trophy. He justified selectors’ faith by scoring a brilliant 187 against Jharkhand, where the pitch turned viciously.
Other than Manan Vohra, Delhi Daredevils not retaining any of their existing players came as a real surprise. The DD, thus, became the only IPL franchise to come up with a blank list. When the Indian Premier League was launched seven years ago, DD was a big force, with a number of quality players in their fold. David Warner, Mahela Jayawardene, Morne Morkel, Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen are world class players in their own rights but none of them was retained by DD. The Daredevils’ is a classic case of how great players have failed to combine as a great team. As per a rumour, the DD officials failed in the last-minute negotiations on the price that Pietersen, Sehwag and Warner demanded. But this has one positive aspect for DD. They will have the full purse of Rs. 600 million and 3 RTM cards, when they go for the auction, starting this Sunday.
The retention lists, submitted by other IPL franchises, do not contain anything surprising. Kolkata Knight Riders retained Gautam Gambhir and Sunil Narine and they still have Rs. 380 million with 2 RTM cards. Similarly, Sunrisers Hyderabad are also left with the same money and 2 RTM cards by retaining Shikhar Dhawan and Dale Steyn. Royal Challengers Bangalore, however, have retained three players; Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers. They will have Rs 305 with 1 RTM card for building their squad, as they go for the auction.