During the last month or so, there was a huge anticipation over the players to be retained by Indian Premier League (IPL) teams for the upcoming seventh edition of the tournament. While some of the team announcements were on expected lines, a few others came up surprises. The tournament rules allowed for five players to be retained, of whom only four can be capped India players. This will leave the franchise with one right-to-match card at the auction on February 12.
Among the various teams, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore had announced their list on January 9 while the rest of the teams declared their list on January 10.
Chennai Super Kings:
For the IPL VII 2014, the tournament rules allow five players to be retained, of whom only four can be capped India players and one foreign player. This is not as simple as it seems like as history says that foreign players have participated more for the teams as compared to the local boys. For the super studded Chennai Super Kings, retaining MS Dhoni is a no-brainer. He is the beating heart of the franchise and has become an icon in Chennai. So much so that he is clearly more connected to the city than his home state of Jharkhand.
With Dhoni comes Suresh Raina, R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, all part of the India set-up as well. Given CSK’s penchant for keeping things constant, they will all be decked in yellow in upcoming IPL VII. Dwayne Bravo, who took the most wickets last season, is another who has stayed with CSK.
In the six-year history of the Indian Premier League, Chennai Super Kings has been the most consistent team, with two triumphant back-to-back seasons in 2010 and 2011, as well as the finals appearances in 2008, 2012 and 2013. In the last season as well, CSK was one of the forerunners to lift the trophy but unfortunately was unable to win it against a dominant Mumbai Indians outfit in Kolkata.
Mumbai Indians surprised everyone by not retaining the ‘Ashes Star’! Yes, we are talking about the aussie pacer Mitchell Johnson who picked 37 wickets in the recently held Ashes. He made tremendous contributions with the bat as well which depicted his form and fitness but the franchise opted for Malinga ahead of him. The Defending champions decided to retain skipper Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh and Ambati Rayudu, Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga and West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard in accordance with the IPL’s new retention rules for the season 2014.
After Dhoni, Rohit Sharma is considered as the most thinking captain in India, which he also showed in last IPL when he took over the captaincy from Ricky Ponting and led the side to their first-ever IPL title and then Champions League. Made it the best way it could be for the veteran Super Sachin.
Kings XI Punjab:
The Priety Zinta co-owned franchise is looking for an overhaul to their team as they look to reach the semi-finals stage once again. The franchise made it to the last 4 stage in the first season of the Indian Premier League but has failed to do so ever since. For this very reason, the franchise has retained just two players; one an Indian local lad and one foreign.
Kings XI have given a shock to all cricket pundits by retaining not-so-known Manan Vohra. He has played just 6 first-class matches so far and has scored a hundred and two fifties. What probably prompted the Kings XI to retain Vohra was his mammoth 187 in the Ranji Trophy just over a week ago against a Jharkhand attack which included the likes of India pacer Varun Aaron.
Vohra, a right-hand batsman, was hired by the franchise last year as a player for the future. He played 12 matches last season, and had a modest record of 161 runs at 20.12 with a top score of 43.
In addition to Vohra, the franchise has gone with South African hard-hitting batsman David Miller – which was something everyone expected the team to do.