IPL 2020: Mumbai Indians look for big-hitting opener; Royal Challengers Bangalore eye smart strategy

Updated: Dec 19, 2019, 07:40 IST | Arup Chatterjee | Kolkata

Rather predictably, Mumbai Indians have retained the core of the squad that lifted a record fourth IPL title earlier this year.

Robin Uthappa's base price of  Rs 1.5 cr is the highest by an Indian
Robin Uthappa's base price of Rs 1.5 cr is the highest by an Indian

Kolkata: For Mumbai Indians (MI), today's IPL 2020 auction here is no more than about choosing the topping for their cake. Most other franchises will, in contrast, be looking for the right recipe and trying to put it all together in the six hours or so. The players in fray will be hoping to add to their Christmas cheer, and some of them will walk away with big slices of the cake.

MI retain their core

Rather predictably, MI have retained the core of the squad that lifted a record fourth IPL title earlier this year. Kieron Pollard, Pandya brothers Hardik and Krunal, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan and Quinton de Kock will again rally around skipper Rohit Sharma. The squad has actually been bolstered during the trade window with Kiwi pacer Trent Boult, West Indian 'finisher' Sherfane Rutherford and Dhawal Kulkarni joining from other franchises.

They have left themselves with very little marketing to do. MI can add a maximum of two overseas and five domestic players at the auction, and are left with just R13.05 crore, the smallest purse among the eight franchises. Having released Evin Lewis, homing in on a hard-hitting opener may well be on top of MI's wishlist.

Three-time winners Chennai Super Kings, who lost the final last year, too have chosen continuity and are left with just Rs 14.6 crore and five slots to fill.

That star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore have never lifted the trophy seems to have finally got to them. Even though the 'big' auction that signals the revamps, comes up before the 2021 IPL, RCB is not willing to wait. AB de Villiers is the only overseas player to have been retained as the Virat Kohli-led squad looks for a fresh start. Offloading Colin de Grandhomme, Dale Steyn, Heinrich Klassen, Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Shimron Hetmyer and Tim Southee has released more money, and the franchise now has R27.90 to spend at the auction. Yuvraj Singh too was released but the former India star has gone on to retire from all competitive cricket.

KKR ignore local talent

Unlike MI, Kolkata Knight Riders have by and large ignored local talent, particularly in the post-Sourav Ganguly era. Lanky pacer Ishan Porel, a standout member of the 2018 U-19 World Cup-winning squad, was ignored last time. KKR will have a purse of Rs 35.65.

The two-time champions have released a few key players like hard-hitting Aussie Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa. The latter has set himself a base price of R1.5 crore, the highest by an Indian in this auction. The top bracket of R2 crore has seven overseas players.

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