Monday, March 8, 2010


Come March 12, the third edition of the Indian Premier League will kick off in Mumbai. But in this blog, I'll be attempting to look beyond it. I am placing my eyes on the fourth edition - the IPL 2011 - the first IPL with 10 teams.
As per initial reports, IPL will allow each of the existing franchisees to keep 6 players from their original squads with them (4 Indians and 2 overseas players). All the others will compulsarily have to be auctioned in order to be a part of the next Indian Premier League. Before waiting for this year's IPL, the World Twenty20 Championship to follow, and next year's ODI World Cup (which will be the last major event before the IPL 2011), I am kicking into some previews and strategising.


Players sure to be retained (Indians) - M.S. Dhoni, S. Raina
Players sure to be retained (Overseas) - M. Hayden (assuming he does not retire), A. Morkel (atleast I would have retained him)
Other players in with a chance of being retained - M. Vijay, S. Jakati (he was good last year), P. Patel

The bowling of this team does not inspire a lot of confidence this year. I am sure the owners will be keenly following the best bowlers in this year's tournament and the World Cup before the July auctions.


Players sure to be retained (Indians) - R. Sharma, P. Ojha
Players sure to be retained (Overseas) - A. Gilchrist (if he continues playing), A. Symonds
Other players in with a chance of being retained - H. Gibbs, VVS Laxman (possibly because of the Hyderabad factor), K. Roach, D. Smith, V. Rao

This team looked the strongest on paper in 2008, but took a year to prove itself. If Gilly decides to retire, the performances of Dwayne Smith and Kemar Roach will matter a lot to decide who will be retained for next year.


Players sure to be retained (Indians) - G. Gambhir, V. Sehwag, D. Karthik
Players sure to be retained (Overseas) - None (its a problem of plenty)! It will be a tough choice between AB De Villiers, T. Dilshan, D. Nannes, D. Warner and possibly even W. Parnell
Other players in with a chance of being retained - A. Mishra, A. Nehra, P. Sangwan

This is one team that will surely want Lalit Modi to allow more players from the existing team to be retained by each franchisee. On form, DD should not be beaten this year. Will this rich streak of form of the key components of the team continue till next year? Or will it fizzle out sometime soon? This one is surely a team to watch out for - during this year's IPL and after it as well.


Players sure to be retained (Indians) - Y. Singh, I. Pathan
Players sure to be retained (Overseas) - K. Sangakkara
Other players in with a chance of being retained - B. Lee (if he does continue playing cricket), Y. Abdulla, M. Jayawardene, S. Marsh, R. Bopara, P. Chawla, R. Powar, S. Sreesanth

One thing's for sure - this team next year will still include Yuvraj Singh and Kumar Sangakkara. There are very few cleaner strikers of a cricket ball. Preity Zinta might want to bid for a regular opener in the July auctions if they do not retain Shaun Marsh, their star performer in 2008.


Players sure to be retained (Indians) - L. Shukla, M. Tiwary (I doubt Ganguly will continue playing next year)
Players sure to be retained (Overseas) - B. McCullum, C. Gayle
Other players in with a chance of being retained - A. Dinda, M. Karthik, C. Pujara, I. Sharma, W. Saha

Shah Rukh Khan will want to invest wisely in July. His team's selection strategies have been the centre of many jokes - be it Ishant Sharma's US$ 0.9 million contract in the 1st year, Mortaza's US$ 0.6 million contract in the 2nd year or the investment in injury-ridden Shane Bond for this year. But I pity their team selection strategists. For all of their foolish investments, there always were fools from other franchisees as well who were willing to go almost as far. SRK will surely not want any blogger in his team.


Players sure to be retained (Indians) - Z. Khan, H. Singh, A. Nayar (I am sure SRT will make himself unavailable next year)
Players sure to be retained (Overseas) - K. Pollard
Other players in with a chance of being retained - JP Duminy, L. Malinga, D. Bravo (amongst the overseas players) and S. Dhawan, D. Kulkarni, A. Rayudu and R. Satish (amongst the Indians)

Mrs. Nita Ambani might want to invest in some cool finishers. In both the IPLs thus far, Mumbai Indians have often displayed the case of 'So Near Yet So Far'. They need players who will be able to hold their nerve in the end and pull off some wins. The talent in the team is ample - especially with the inclusion of some ICL comebacks like Rayudu and Satish. I guess that all will agree this is the last time Sachin Tendulkar will be seen playing for an IPL franchisee.


Players sure to be retained (Indians) - Y. Pathan
Players sure to be retained (Overseas) - G. Smith, S. Tait (given his current form)
Other players in with a chance of being retained - M. Patel, N. Ojha, D. Mascarenhas

Shane Warne is already 40. So I am expecting him to hold on to his post of the Coach of RR and maybe even the Chief Recruitment Officer. Given his modus operandi of using lesser known players to get big results, their strategy for the auction in July will be the most unpredictable one.


Players sure to be retained (Indians) - V. Kohli, M. Pandey
Players sure to be retained (Overseas) - K. Pietersen (Dr. Mallaya seems to be fond of him)
Other players in with a chance of being retained - P. Kumar, A. Mithun, R. Uthappa (Dr. Mallaya seems to be fond of him too), E. Morgn, D. Steyn, R. Taylor, R. van der Merwe

This will certainly be the last IPL of Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid. So Dr. Mallaya will have to manage without their services next year. He will also be reluctant to let go of some of the best domestic talent on scene from his squad. I think Eoin Morgan's performance this year can help him unearth a young and brilliant overseas talent that can be a part of his team for a long term period. He will not want his team to be ever referred to as a 'Test Team' in the future.

In addition to the above eight, two more teams will feature in IPL-4. The initial reports are suggesting that Ahmedabad and Pune are the favourites to have an IPL team of their own in the next edition. We will know for sure by 21st March. These two teams will have to build their team and brand right from the scratch. But they will not mind it. Even the Rajasthan Royals were not expected to win in 2008. They will know that they are always in with a chance.

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