Defending champions Mumbai Indians and the formidable Chennai Super Kings are the two franchises which are set to retain all five players when the teams submit their lists tomorrow for the upcoming seventh edition of Indian Premier Lague.
MI and CSK are the two teams that have the biggest fan base all over India and have had a core set of players that has remained pretty much the same over the years. As far as BCCI president N Srinivasan's franchise is concerned, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be retained along with Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Suresh Raina -- all India regulars.
The choice of foreign player will be between West Indies' Dwayne Bravo and South Africa's Faf du Plessis. Dhoni's fascination for seam-bowling all-rounders is widely documented and Bravo certainly will hold an edge over his South African rival, who has also caught the imagination with his big-hitting prowess.
Rohit Sharma. Pic/ Suresh K.K.
For Mumbai Indians, it will be the first season without Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Rohit Sharma and the immensely popular Kieron Pollard are the two automatic choices for retention. Mitchell Johnson's red-hot form and his performance in the Ashes also makes him a contender for a place in the retention list.
Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga who has provided brilliant service over the years is also in MI's wish-list. Since there is possibility of a part of IPL matches happening in Sri Lanka, Malinga's expertise in those tracks at the Premadasa Stadium or Pallekele or Hambantota grounds will certainly come in handy.
Dinesh Karthik's glovework along with his explosive batting makes him a strong candidate for retention while Ambati Rayudu and Harbhajan Singh will also be in the contention for retention. Harbhajan, with 24 wickets in the last edition and with a better brand value will be slightly ahead in the race than Rayudu.
For Delhi Daredevils, it might be a new beginning having had horrible last season.
Virender Sehwag is unlikely to be retained as he has had a prolonged slump in batting form with falling level of fitness. There is an outside chance of David Warner making the retention list but DD management always has the option of buying Warner back from the auction pool. Kolkata Knight Riders are all set to retain their captain Gautam Gambhir, who led the team to their maiden IPL triumph back in 2012.
West Indies spinner Sunil Narine and speedster Mohammed Shami are also in the wish-list of the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise. Rajasthan Royals with the retirement of Rahul Dravid will automatically promote Shane Watson as their skipper. Talented keeper batsman Sanju Samson along with Ajinkya Rahane are the couple of Indian players that the Shilpa Shetty co-owned franchise might think of keeping back.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, who started off last season with a good show will retain Shikhar Dhawan and Dale Steyn for sure. There is a choice between new ODI sensation Quinton de Kock and West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy. Kings XI Punjab are also one franchise that will look to build a team afresh after the retirement of Adam Gilchrist. They have the option of either retaining or buying back South African hard-hitter David Miller, who made quite an impression last season.