The Indian Premier League (IPL) mega auction is just a few weeks away, and IPL franchises are gearing up for it. Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders management is perplexed about what players to retain, before they go into the auction.
Nevertheless, franchises like Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians will also face the dilemma of selecting players, but their choices will be comparatively easier than RCB and KKR. This is because both the teams have identified their important players over the previous seasons, and also know the fan favourites.
However, this is not the case for RCB and KKR. The problem for the franchises start from their captain, with the teams having mega stars in Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir as captains respectively. Not retaining Virat Kohli will be a very bold decision for the RCB management, as the Indian skipper boasts a powerful profile. Kohli is a consistent performer, and is the most sellable brand in India right now. However, with Kohli’s superstar profile, his retention value will also be high.
According to new policies introduced by the BCCI, if a team were to retain either one or two players, the guideline price for the top player is Rs 12.5 crore. However, if the team opts to retain three players, the highest guideline price for one player will be Rs 15 crore. According to various sources, few top IPL players have stated their price tags to their respective franchises.
It will be interesting to see if Kohli has given his price, but he may well be worth Rs 25 crore if he steps into the auction. The new IPL rule suggests: “The deduction from salary purse in case of retention will be determined on the basis of guideline price or actual price (whichever is higher).”
The clause of recording the higher price (guideline or actual) in case of retention did not exist in the previous editions, and RCB got away by paying Kohli Rs 15 crore, while having Rs 12 crore being cut from their auction purse. If RCB management decides to retain three players in Kohli, AB de Villiers and Yuzvendra Chahal, the amount deducted will be Rs 33 crore from their Rs 80 crore salary cap.
After such a deduction, it will be a near-to-impossible task for RCB to create a squad of more than 20 good players. On the other side of the coin, Gautam Gambhir has been a successful captain for KKR, winning two IPL titles with them.
However, his ability to score at a higher strike-rate will be a concern for the KKR management. The left-handed opener has scored 4100 runs to become the 4th highest run-scorer in the IPL. However, he has a strike-rate of 120, which is the lowest among the top scorers. Moreover, Gambhir is now 36 years old.
If KKR opt to retain Gambhir on a three-year period, Gambhir will be around 40 when his contract with the franchise expires. The reports in the IPL circle speculate that KKR will be opting for a younger captain for IPL 2018. One can argue that MS Dhoni himself is 36 and will face the same situation as Gambhir, if CSK retain him. However, Dhoni’s icon status and fine form will be what separates him from Gambhir.