How will the 2018 Indian Premier League Auction go?
With the 2017 Indian Premier League finally over, the attention will now not only move towards international cricket but also on what will happen during the auction of the 2018 Indian Premier League. What will the player retention strategy be, which teams will retain which players and how many teams will participate in the IPL?
There are a lot of other questions that the fans will be looking for answers to and we will get to them later but in this specific article, we are looking to gauge the following:
- Will IPL Teams be allowed to retain players?
- If so, how players will be allowed to be retained before the 2018 Indian Premier League Auction?
- What could the player retention strategy be from the teams’ perspective?
- Which & how many teams could participate in the 2018 IPL?
First things first. At the time of writing, i.e., just one day after the 2017 IPL Final, there’s nothing official that has been released by the BCCI and what we are looking to do here is logically speculate about how things could go heading into the 2018 IPL Auction.
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As we get more information out of the BCCI stables, we will update this article with it, but for here’re our educated guesses – educated from having a team of cricket experts who know how things work in international & domestic cricket.
Will teams be allowed to retain players or will all players be released back into the auction pool?
Now this is a big, big question and one that could decide the future of a lot of franchises. Frankly, we believe it does not make any sense for the IPL Governing Council to not allow teams to retain a few of their players.
For one, after the first auction that was held before the 2008 IPL, there have been two major IPL auctions, or mega-auctions as they call them. And in both those cases, teams were allowed to retain a few players.
In the first mega-auction that was held before the start of the 2011 IPL Auction, teams were given a chance to retain up to four players. And then before the 2014 edition, teams were given an opportunity to retain five players with a Right to Match card also afforded.
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Secondly, franchises have built their IPL brands and teams around a handful of players – at least some of the franchises have. So it makes no sense for them, business-wise and cricket-wise – to have a complete makeover of the teams.
Most teams could protest if they are forced to send all their players back into the auction pool – well, Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils might not but that’s their own fault they haven’t gotten their team strategy right.
Yes, IPL teams will be allowed to retain players.
So if teams are indeed allowed to retain players, how many would players that be?
This is a subjective question. Some would say not more than two players should be retained – after all, the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals will be rejoining the fray – while others could look at as many as six to be allowed to be retained before the 2018 IPL Auction.
We think a figure of either four or five makes sense with a concept like the Right to Match card also re-introduced. Using the RTM cards, a team has an extra option to select their own player from the auction even if someone else has won him over through the bidding process.
Four to be retained + 1 RTM card sounds a fair deal, but this could well be three retained players + 1 card as well. Will be interesting to watch out for this one.
As far as the retention strategy is concerned, franchises will want to retain their marquee players, who have become the face of their team.
Why would Kolkata Knight Riders want to let go of their captain Gautam Gambhir? Or for that matter even a Robin Uthappa or a Sunil Narine.
Mumbai Indians will never want to lose Rohit Sharma. A three-time IPL champion and you lose him just that like just because 10 seasons are up? Not a chance. What about Kieron Pollard? Jasprit Bumrah? Lasith Malinga.
And then the biggest examples of them all. Virat Kohli for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Even AB de Villiers. Probably Chris Gayle had he not had such a poor IPL season in 2017.
These are teams and their respective players on whom the brands have been established. On whom their cricketing strategies have been made. Highly doubtful everyone will be sent back to the auction pool.
Teams will look to retain their best-known names and then if they have more options, could look at experimenting on one or two youngsters.
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Lastly, how many teams will participate in the IPL 2018?
For now, what’s certain is that the Chennai Super Kings and the Rajasthan Royals will be returning back to the fold while the Rising Pune Supergiant and the Gujarat Lions will definitely be going out.
If the IPL Governing Council decides there would be no change to the number of teams, then that’s how it would remain.
If, on the other hand, even if they allow the addition of two extra teams, a new tender will need to be floated and Pune and Gujarat will need to re-bid for the teams – as harsh as it sounds, we don’t there was anything in their two-year contract that allowed them the right to first refusal in case the IPL allowed two extra teams in the tournament.
For now, it looks like eight teams will take part in IPL 2018. Even if more were to play, it would be a new bidding process for the new teams as well.
The new few weeks will make things clearer as far as the 2018 Indian Premier League Auction is concerned.