IPL auction: Franchises look to fine-tune squads

All eyes will be on Jaipur with the Indian Premier League’s players’ auction scheduled in the Pink City on Tuesday.

Unlike the mega-auction witnessed earlier this year, it will be smaller affair with 346 players going under the hammer this time.

The eight franchises of the popular league will be trying to strengthen their teams and add muscle in weak areas before the main event kicks off late in March next year.

Many franchises have slots to fill, having released some players after the 11th edition of the tournament in May. With most of the big names having been retained by the teams, it will be all about fine-tuning their combinations with faces from the talent pool on offer.

While defending champions Chennai Super Kings looks to be the more settled of the franchises, having released just three players, teams like Delhi Capitals (the new name of Delhi Daredevils) and Kings XI Punjab will be going hard at their targets, with plenty of slots to fill. In fact, Kings XI have the maximum money in their bag – Rs 36.20 crore and they have 15 slots to fill, having retained just 9 players and traded Marcus Stoinis for Mandeep Singh with Royal Challengers Bangalore.

RCB have ten slots to fill and Rs 18.15 crore in their purse. They were a big disappointment last season and have released Brendon McCullum, Corey Anderson, Quinton de Kock, Chris Woakes and Sarfraz Khan. Captain Virat Kohli and South African A B de Villiers have been their mainstays but they would be looking to beef up their death bowling as well as middle-order batting in the coming season.

The other big spenders on Tuesday could be the Delhi Capitals, who have 25.50 crore to splurge, and Rajasthan Royals, who have 20.95 crore in their bag. Three-time champions Mumbai Indians will also be in the picture, though not in a big way, having released J P Duminy and Pat Cummins from their squad.

Delhi Capitals have brought in Shikhar Dhawan from Sunrisers Hyderabad and they have plenty of buys to make, having released Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Liam Plunkett, Mohammed Shami and Glenn Maxwell among others. Under new management, they will be looking to make a fresh impact on the tournament.

One major factor that could influence the franchises will be the availability of players. With the World Cup looming in England next year, it remains to be seen whether the players in the auction list will be available for the entire duration of the tournament.

Still, the spotlight will be firmly on some of the players who have made a name for themselves since the last IPL, like Shimron Hetmyer of the West Indies and Heinrich Klaasen of South Africa. Veterans Yuvraj Singh and Ishant Sharma are also in the fray while the likes of Axar Patel, Jayadev Unadkat, Shami, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Brendon McCullum could grab some interest.

In a change from previous years, the auction will start at 2.30 pm instead of in the morning, with a new auctioneer in place. Richard Madley, who did the duty in previous years, has been replaced by Hugh Edmeades this time.

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IPL auction: Franchises look to fine-tune squads

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