With the rules on player retention clarified by the IPL governing council in a meeting on Wednesday (December 6), franchises have the option of keeping a bulk of their core going into the next three seasons. Teams will be allowed to retain a maximum of five players – three players under retention and two players as ‘Right to Match’. The other restrictions include: a maximum of three capped Indian players can be retained, and only two overseas players and two uncapped Indian players can be retained.
Keeping these conditions in mind and assuming franchises want to make use of both options, we are putting out a list of players franchises are likely to retain for the next three years. First up – Mumbai Indians.
(We are assuming that all international players will be available for the entire season)
The most successful team in IPL history head into the 11th season as defending champions, after their miraculous win in the final against Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017. One of the franchise’s strong points over the last ten years has been ensuring they maintain a strong core every season. Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Rohit Sharma and Harbhajan Singh have been a part of the Mumbai outfit for more than seven years. But this might change in 2018.
Here’s a look at the players they could retain:
Three IPL titles, two Champions League T20 titles, Mumbaikar – we can say without doubt that the 30-year-old will be leading the side next season and beyond. While 2017 may not have been the most prolific season for Rohit, his performances for the national side, in limited overs and of late in the Test series against Sri Lanka, shows that he is in great form. While he opens the batting for India, he takes the responsibility to power the batting from middle order for MI. With the major auction scheduled next year, a huge shuffle in the squad could result in him opening the batting next season onwards.
— Rohit Sharma (@ImRo45) December 6, 2017
Even the skipper admits, Bumrah belongs in blue. From being an upcoming bowler to the spearhead, Jasprit Bumrah has had a meteoric rise in the Indian limited overs set-up. Some consider him the best limited overs bowler in the world right now. A seamer who can bowl at speeds of over 140km/hr, possesses a deceptive slower ball and can hit the yorker length at will is the check list for an ideal T20 bowler. Bumrah fits that bill perfectly and it is unlikely Mumbai are going to let go of him anytime soon.
We spoke of Jasprit Bumrah’s meteoric rise in India’s ranks. Same can be said about this 24-year-old all-rounder. Virat Kohli is the face of Indian cricket at the moment; Hardik Pandya is next in line for that tag. His loud personality garners attention off the field, his performances on the field. The all-rounder has shown what he is capable of when in form e.g his quick-fire half-century in Chennai and century in testing conditions at Pallekele. He has been an integral part of the franchise for the last three years and that is unlikely to change.
RTM 1: Jos Buttler/ Krunal Pandya
The first ‘Right to Match’ option could be a toss-up between all-rounder Krunal Pandya and England international Jos Buttler. The elder Pandya was crucial to Mumbai’s triumphant 2017 season, finishing with 243 runs with an average in excess of 34 and 10 wickets in just 13 games, which included a player of the match performance in the final. His future as a Mumbai Indians player could be determined by how the auction pans out for the blue outfit.
While Buttler may not be able to bowl like Krunal, he is a natural wicketkeeper – a factor which is sometimes ignored in this format. The 26-year-old on his day is a devastating batsman; which Kings XI Punjab found out in their clash against MI last season. He was played as an opener in 2017 to accommodate the likes of Pollard, the Pandyas and Rohit Sharma in the middle order. But considering how the squad might change drastically next season, he could be eyed as a big-hitter in the middle order next year.
RTM 2: Kieron Pollard
This biggest factor why we believe Mumbai Indians will keep Kieron Pollard as an ‘RTM’ option is the availability of Ben Stokes. The England all-rounder will be going back in the auction after Rising Pune Supergiant’s two-year contract as a franchise came to an end in 2017. The 26-year-old raised a massive bidding war last time around, with RPS managing to attain the Englishman’s services for Rs 14.5 crores. Stokes is an upgrade and if Mumbai are not able to buy the all-rounder in the auction, they are likely to use the RTM option to retain the West Indian.