It is almost certain that the bonhomie between former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president N Srinivasan’s and his ‘favourite’ India Cements employee Mahendra Singh Dhoni will once again be at display during the Indian Premier League (IPL).
This was made possible as it was decided at the IPL Governing Council (GC) meeting here on Wednesday that all the eight franchises will be allowed to retain a maximum of five of their existing players. This can be done through a combination of player retention before the 2018 auction and the use of right-to-match cards during the auction.
This means that the Chennai Super Kings will have option to retain three from their old pool of Indian players Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
As Ashwin left India Cements to join Sanmar group’s Chemplast team in 2016, there is every possibility that he would be part of the open auction pool.
In case of foreigners, CSK has just two most tempting names — Faf du Plessis and Dwayne Bravo — to be considered from the old list as players like Brandon McCullum and Mike Hussey have retired during this period.
Though there has never been any doubt that Dhoni prefers Bravo, the West Indian all-rounder has been missing international cricket for quite some time due to injury.
Bravo, who was part of Gujarat Lions, missed the entire last IPL season in 2017 after failing to recover from injury he suffered during the Big Bash League.
Another major decision taken at the IPL meeting was to increase the purse this time around from Rs 66 crore to Rs 80crore. It will further increased to Rs 82 crore in 2019, and to Rs 85 crore in 2020. However, the condition is that the franchises should spend at least 75 per cent of the total purse.
Each squad is required to contain between 18 and 25 players with a limit of eight foreigners.
According to insiders, the new guidelines come as a set back for Mumbai Indians, who wanted a rule to make every team retain as many as nine from the existing squad.
Rajasthan Royals, however, had an extreme view in this regard as it didn’t want “any retention” rule in order to get rid of ‘tainted players’. But the IPL GC decided to not complicate the things any more and went ahead with the tried and tested formula.
Another decision is that of the total number of five players, a franchise can retain a maximum of three through retention, and then will have an option of going for three more through right-to-match cards during the course auction. This would give option to teams to to buy back its player by matching the highest bid made for the same by other team.
Apart from this, any team will also have the liberty to retain two uncapped Indian players but at a higher price. Because there has been an upwards revision in the base prices of players. In stead of the existing Rs 10, 20 and 30 lakh respectively for uncapped players, each category will now see an increase of Rs 10 lakh.
The minimum base price for capped Indian players has also been increased from Rs 30 lakh to Rs 50 lakh.