With the player's list trimmed to 578 players for the upcoming IPL 2018 player auction on January 27 and 28 in Bangalore, the permutations and combinations of players by franchises is on all-time high. Most of the teams have retained the players they wanted to in the pre-auction retention and still have their right-to-match (RTM) to get back players from their squads of last year.
With many franchises retaining 2-3 players and some even retaining just one player, RTM cards will definitely come in handy for the franchises, to create the core of their teams for the upcoming IPL 2018. Therefore, we look at one player each that the franchises should use their RTM cards on.
Check out the choices:
Jos Buttler – Mumbai Indians (MI)
England’s Jos Buttler was a revelation for the Mumbai Indians team in IPL 2017. He made 272 runs in 10 matches with a best of 77 and a strike rate of 153.67. Most importantly, he hit 15 sixes and 27 fours for Mumbai at the top and was instrumental in MI winning the IPL title.
His best innings of 77 came when Mumbai was chasing 199 against KXIP and he brutalized the KXIP bowling attack. He scored his 50 in 24 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes and eventually made 77 off 37 balls before getting dismissed, hitting 3 more sixes. Thanks to him, MI chased down 199 in just 15.3 overs.
Given that every IPL team has an explosive opener, Mumbai would want to use their RTM to retain Jos Buttler. Since MI has already retained three Indian players, they can’t use their RTM card on retaining any more Indian players and Jos Buttler will be perfect for them, since ECB has become lenient of their players playing a full season of IPL.
Yuzvendra Chahal – Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) shocked everyone by retaining Sarfaraz Khan in the pre-auction retention. Sarfaraz had missed the IPL 2017 season due to a knee injury, but RCB have shown faith in his abilities and retained him along with captain Virat Kohli and South African AB de Villiers.
But one player that RCB will definitely like to use one of their two RTM cards on will be leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal. He had picked 14 wickets in 13 matches and was amazing bowling in power plays and even in the death overs. With leg-spinners becoming increasingly effective in the IPL, Chahal is someone RCB will want back into their team, as they form a new core of players for the upcoming IPL season.
Manish Pandey – Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Everyone remembers Manish Pandey’s brilliant innings in the IPL 2014 finals against KXIP, which won KKR their second IPL title. Pandey was remembered for being the youngest and first Indian to score a century in IPL; before he played that wonderful innings in the final.
Pandey is also a stabilizing element in the KKR batting lineup that has some big hitters. Pandey plays spinners and quicks brilliantly and has the big shots to up the tempo whenever needed. He is the perfect no.4 batsman in any batting lineup and with others teams after him, after his performances for the Indian team, KKR will want to use their RTM card on Pandey and give him the most overs to face and score runs.
Ajinkya Rahane – Rajasthan Royals (RR)
Ajinkya Rahane found ‘home’ at Rajasthan Royals from 2011-2015 and was one of the building blocks of the Rajasthan Royals’ success in IPL. Not explosive, but technically brilliant, Rajasthan Royals will definitely be looking forward to welcoming Rahane back into the RR family.
They can build their batting around Rahane and Steve Smith, who they have retained for the IPL 2018; and then add some explosive batting to support their calmness and ability to bat through the innings.
Dwayne Bravo – Chennai Super Kings (CSK)
‘Champion’ Dwayne Bravo missed the IPL 2017 due to his injured hamstring and we all missed his playing abilities and celebrations. He was a brilliant and vital player for Chennai Super Kings, before playing for Gujarat Lions in 2016.
Bravo recently became the first bowler to pick 400 wickets in T20 cricket and he also has 5457 runs in the format. He record alone makes him one of the must-have players in IPL and he has done wonders for CSK. A brilliantly deceiving bowler in death overs, he can use the long handle to good effect in the finals overs of the innings. If needed, Bravo can also bat through the innings if the need arises. Bravo is a must-have player in the playing XI and CSK knows that and will be looking to use the RTM card on him when he comes up in the auction.
Quinton de Kock – Delhi Daredevils (DD)
Quinton de Kock was brilliant for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2016. He scored a century for them and was the top scorer for them in the season. He missed the IPL 2017 due to injury and Delhi decided not to retain him. But Delhi knows his worth both as a keeper and as an opener and will want to use their RTM card on him to keep him in their team.
De Kock is brilliant behind the stumps and can take the game away from any opposition in the first six overs whether batting first or batting second. Delhi Daredevils will want to have him behind the stumps, though they have the option of Rishabh Pant as the keeper in their team.
Hashim Amla – Kings XI Punjab (KXIP)
South African Hashim Amla wasn’t picked in the auction by Kings XI Punjab but was brought in the team as a replacement of Shaun Marsh in IPL 2016. He got only 6 matches to play in that season and scored 157 runs with a best of 96.
But Amla showed his value in the IPL 2017 when his team was struggling to find any form. Amla hit 420 runs in 10 matches he played and hit 2 centuries for KXIP, with a best of 104*. Though Kings XI Punjab retained just one player – Akshar Patel, in the pre-auction retention, they will be missing out on a big player, if they don’t use their RTM card on Hashim Amla and make him a part of their team in IPL 2018.
Rashid Khan – Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)
Rashid Khan was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 4 crore and this made Rashid the most expensive Afghanistan player sold in the auction. He performed admirably well in the IPL 2017 for SRH and was one of the best players in the IPL that year.
SRH have retained their 2016 IPL winning captain David Warner and star bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar. But when the time comes in the auction, when Rashid Khan shows up, SRH should be ready with their RTM card; because Rashid has proven that he can change the match with his bowling alone. Given that he can bat as well, SRH can use Rashid as a pinch hitter if needed to.