A 'right to match' option could be the last hope for IPL teams to retain their biggest stars

Which team will Kohli play for next season?
Sagnik Kundu

What’s the story?

With the governing council keen on sending all the players back to the auction pool without retention, the only hope left for IPL teams to retain their big stars could be a ‘right-to-match’ option.

According to a report in the Times of India, the members of the BCCI are insistent about sending all the players back under the hammer for the next edition of the IPL. However, teams like Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad are eager to have the option of matching cards.

In case you didn’t know…

The right to match card, which was introduced in the IPL auction back in 2014, gives the team owners an opportunity to retain players by matching their auction price. For instance, a player, say, Virat Kohli, comes up for auction. Once the final bid has been made and there are no further bids for Kohli, the auctioneer announces him as sold.

This is where the right to match card comes into play. The auctioneer now asks Kohli’s old team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, if they wish to use their card and retain Kohli. If RCB decide to use the card then Kohli joins his former team at the final price he commands in the auction.

The heart of the matter

According to the report, teams like RCB and Mumbai Indians want to retain their big players. But, as confirmed by Preity Zinta a couple of weeks back, the BCCI had told all the teams that all the cricketers would go back under the hammer. The two teams rejoining the league next year, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, have a different take.

CSK, in fact, want to get their old players like MS Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin for the next season. However, the other teams are strongly against the idea of them getting any undue advantage. It has been further reported that CSK are open to the draft system. But it is understood that, like every other team, CSK will have to start from scratch at the auction.

Some of the top Indian cricketers, though, have backed the idea of retention.

What’s next?

The IPL will be back next year with a fresh look. Although some of the board members were keen on a 10-team tournament, it is highly unlikely to take place. There is no window for those extra matches and even the broadcasters are not keen on having more than eight teams.

Author’s Take

Players like Kohli, Dhoni and Rohit Sharma have become icons for their respective teams. Fans cannot imagine an RCB side without Kohli, or a CSK side without Dhoni. Perhaps it would be a smart decision on the part of the board to give the right to match option, at least to keep the fans happy.

Edited by Staff Editor


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