We are all set for the 9thedition of the IPL with the successful completion of the 2016 players auction. While the 6 existing franchises used the opportunity to strengthen their squads further, the 2 new ones concentrated on forming a healthy nucleus of players for their first ever Indian Premier League.Also Read:IPL 2016 Teams and full players listThe Gujarat Lions and the Rising Pune Supergiants started the auction with just 5 players in their respective teams, but they walked out of it with full squads. The other franchises, meanwhile, filled the voids created by the players released by them with some fresh picks.It was a surprise that the INR 10 crore-barrier was not breached, even though Shane Watson came quite close to doing it with an INR 9.5 crore deal with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The most expensive man in IPL history, Yuvraj Singh, couldnt quite meet his own standards despite signing with Sunrisers Hyderabad for a lucrative INR 7 crore.With the squads for the 2016 IPL having been finalized, we look to rate them according to how good they look, at least on paper.Also read: IPL 2016 Schedule, complete Time Table, Match Timings, PDF download
#1 Royal Challengers Bangalore - 9/10
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Retained Players: Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Mitchell Starc, David Wiese, Sreenath Aravind, Varun Aaron, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Adam Milne, Sarfaraz Khan, Harshal Patel, Abu Nechim, Yuzvendra Chahal
New Buys: Shane Watson, Stuart Binny, Kane Richardson, Samuel Badree, Travis Head, Praveen Dubey, Vikramjeet Malik, Iqbal Abdulla, Akshay Karnewar, Vikas Tokas, Sachin Baby
Team Intro: Having retained most of their core team members from the 2015 IPL, Royal Challengers Bangalore used the auction to boost the squad. RCB had put up a very decent performance in the previous edition as they finished 3rd in the group stage and crashed out only in Qualifier 2. They have reached close to winning the title on a few occasions but failed and will be looking to set the record straight this time.
Big Four: The Big Three – Kohli, Gayle and de Villiers – have now become the Big Four with the inclusion of Watson, who has been one of the top players in IPL history.
Spinners galore: RCB have invested in spinners at the auction so that the likes of Chahal get some much-needed support. From leg spinners to left-arm spinners to even ambidextrous spinners, they have them all.
Stronger Indian group: Royal Challengers Bangalore already had a good core of Indian players and they have done well to rope in some good local players.
Less Backup for Biggies: There is a lack of players who could do the cover up job in case one or more of the top players fail. At least, a couple of more strong foreign players could have been the ideal remedy.
Things are looking good for RCB and they could be in line for their first piece of silverware.
#2 Kolkata Knight Riders - 8.5/10
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Retained Players: Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Sunil Narine, Yusuf Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Morne Morkel, Shakib Al Hasan, Umesh Yadav, Manish Pandey, Chris Lynn, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Kuldeep Yadav, Sheldon Jackson
New Buys: Jaydev Unadkat, Colin Munro, John Hastings, Jason Holder, Ankit Rajpoot, R Sathish, Manan Sharma
Team Intro: There has been no looking back for KKR ever since they won their first IPL title in 2012. The Knight Riders have built a strong core in recent years and that is visible in the fact that they picked just 7 players at the auction. After an average performance in the previous season where they ended up fifth, they will be wanting to stamp their authority all over again.
Core Strength: The primary feature of the KKR squad over the past few seasons has been their powerful core which helped them grab 2 titles in the space of 3 years. The team management has retained players and backed them despite poor form at times.
In-form Players: Barring a few, most KKR players have been in rip-roaring form in the past couple of months or so. While Chris Lynn and Andre Russell have made merry at the BBL, players like Piyush Chawla and Sheldon Jackson have outperformed in domestic cricket. Even new buys like Colin Munro and John Hastings have been very consistent.
Less-inspiring pace attack: Morne Morkel being an exception, the rest of the pace attack looks quite frail with the likes of Russell and Yadav prone to leaking runs thick and fast. KKR will be hoping new recruits like Holder, Hastings and Unadkat come good.
Captain’s struggles: Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir has been in patchy form throughout the Indian domestic season and his batting could be a big cause for concern.
With some of their players in exciting form, KKR may fancy their chances of ending in the Top Four at least.
#3 Kings XI Punjab - 8/10
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Retained Players: Glenn Maxwell, David Miller, Axar Patel, Murali Vijay, Manan Vohra, Mitchell Johnson, Rishi Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha, Shaun Marsh, Gurkeerat Singh, Sandeep Sharma, Nikhil Naik, Anureet Singh, Shardul Thakur
New Buys: Mohit Sharma, Kyle Abbott, KC Cariappa, Marcus Stoinis, Farhaan Behardien, Pardeep Sahu, Swapnil Singh, Armaan Jaffer
Team Intro: After struggling for most early seasons of the IPL, Kings XI Punjab hit a breathtaking high in the 2014 edition. However, they flattered to deceive as they came crashing down to the bottom last year. The Kings will be raring to prove their mettle in the 2016 IPL.
Good all-rounders: The Kings XI Punjab line-up boasts of some exciting all-rounders such as Glenn Maxwell, Rishi Dhawan, Axar Patel and Gurkeerat Singh. The inclusion of Marcus Stoinis and Farhaan Behardien only adds to this strength.
More spinners: A big issue that had been hurting the Kings last time was the lack of spinners apart from Axar Patel. However, they have managed to rope in a few more spinners this time with leggie KC Cariappa and left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh coming in.
Few big players: Aside from Glenn Maxwell and David Miller to some extent, there is a visible lack of big players, particularly in the batting line-up. Things are likely to get even more dicy as Virender Sehwag will also not be involved as a player going forward.
Kings XI Punjab will be hoping to hit the right notes after a disastrous season in 2015.
#4 Delhi Daredevils - 8/10
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Retained Players: Nathan Coulter-Nile, Mohammed Shami, Zaheer Khan, Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Amit Mishra, Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir, Shahbaz Nadeem, Saurabh Tiwary, Albie Morkel, Jayant Yadav
New Buys: Pawan Negi, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Joel Paris, Sam Billings, Pawan Suyal, Chama Milind, Pratyush Singh, Mahipal Lomror, Akhil Herwadkar, Khaleel Ahmed
Team Intro: Other than a few good seasons early on, the Delhi Daredevils journey in the IPL has been a difficult one so far. They create a new-look team virtually every season and look to make amends for previous failings but let themselves down again and again. The Daredevils have followed their trend and bought 14 new players this time around as well in the hope that things will be better.
Strong retained players: Despite releasing a lot of players prior to the auction, Delhi Daredevils did retain some of their better performers last time. Players like Zaheer, Mishra, Iyer, Duminy and Tahir among others will want to repay the trust shown in them.
Lots of young local talent: Delhi Daredevils have used the 2016 auction to infuse some young local players into the team. They have opted for Under-19 stars like Rishabh Pant, Mahipal Lomror and Khaleel Ahmed and also a few experienced ones like Samson, Negi and Nair.
Less depth in batting: Batting could turn out to be a real cause of concern for the Daredevils, especially when it comes to foreign players. JP Duminy is perhaps the only strong name and also Quinton de Kock, to certain extent.
Lack of a strong core: Too much chopping and changing has ensured that Delhi Daredevils struggled to build a core team. This hurts them every time as most of the season is spent in just settling down.
The Daredevils desperately would want to overcome their demons in the 2016 IPL.
#5 Mumbai Indians - 9.5/10
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Retained Players: Rohit Sharma, Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Harbhajan Singh, Corey Anderson, Ambati Rayudu, Vinay Kumar, Parthiv Patel, Jasprit Bumrah, Lendl Simmons, Unmukt Chand, Mitch McCleanaghan, Marchant de Lange, Shreyas Gopal, Siddhesh Lad, Akshay Wakhare, Nitish Rana, Hardik Pandya, Jagadeesha Suchith
New Buys: Jos Buttler, Nathu Singh, Tim Southee, Krunal Pandya, Kishore Kamath, Jitesh Sharma, Deepak Punia
Team Intro: The defending champions have shown a lot of trust in their 2015 squad as they retained 19 players from it. Mumbai Indians have slowly established themselves as one of the powerhouses of the IPL with some consistently good performances. Mumbai possess a brilliant mix of strong Indian and foreign players who can slay the strongest of oppositions on their day.
Strong Indian unit: Mumbai Indians boast of perhaps the strongest unit of Indian players in the IPL with the likes of Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Ambati Rayudu, Vinay Kumar and Parthiv Patel in their ranks.
Plethora of allrounders: There are quite a number of good allrounders in the MI squad such as Kieron Pollard, Corey Anderson and Hardik Pandya among others.
Powerful pace attack: The Mumbai Indians pace attack is one of the best in the IPL with Lasith Malinga as the leader and other potent pacers like Mitch McCleanaghan, Tim Southee, Jasprit Bumrah, Marchant de Lange, Vinay Kumar and newbie Nathu Singh.
Lack of a strong top-order batsman: Although things have worked out for MI despite Rohit Sharma being the only big player in the batting order, they would still have been better off having a proven international batsman to share space with the skipper.
The stage looks set for Mumbai Indians to produce another powerful performance in 2016.
#6 Sunrisers Hyderabad - 8.5/10
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Retained Players: Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Trent Boult, Eoin Morgan, Karn Sharma, Moises Henriques, KL Rahul, Parvez Rasool, Kane Williamson, Naman Ojha, Ashish Reddy, Bipul Sharma, Ricky Bhui, Siddharth Kaul
New Buys: Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Mustafizur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Aditya Tare, Ben Cutting, Vijay Shankar, Tirumalasetti Suman
Team Intro: The Sunrisers Hyderabad showed some good improvement in the later half of previous season after struggling initially. They possess a strong unit, but have failed to produce the desired results thus far in the IPL. SRH have bought new players this time around, however, they also retained a number of players from their 2015 squad.
Powerful batting line-up: If there is one thing that makes Sunrisers Hyderabad a dangerous side, it is their batting. They already had Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Kane Williamson and Eoin Morgan and have added more firepower by hiring the services of Yuvraj Singh.
Potent pace attack: SRH have managed to assemble quite a pace attack for the 2016 IPL with bowlers like Boult, Bhuvneshwar, Nehra, Mustafizur, Sran and Cutting in the squad.
Lacking in the spin department: The Sunrisers squad does not have too many good spinners with Karn Sharma and Parvez Rasool being the only known names. As such, it may be difficult going for them in the new season.
Sunrisers Hyderabad are another strong looking side who would want to prove their worth.
#7 Rising Pune Supergiants - 9/10
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Draft Picks: MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Steven Smith, Faf du Plessis
Auction Buys: Kevin Pietersen, Mitchell Marsh, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Thisara Perera, Rajat Bhatia, Murugan Ashwin, Ashok Dinda, Scott Boland, Adam Zampa, Peter Handscomb, RP Singh, Ishwar Pandey, Ankit Sharma, Ankush Bains, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aparajith, Deepak Chahar
Team Intro: Rising Pune Supergiants is one of the two new teams which have replaced suspended franchises, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. They may have a short stay in the IPL as they are likely to be dissolved once the tainted teams return after two years. Nevertheless, they could make some history if they manage to put up a good performance.
Best IPL captain to lead them: The Rising Pune Supergiants have managed to rope in the ultimate skipper to lead their team in the IPL, MS Dhoni. The iconic captain of the Chennai Super Kings led them in many great performances.
Plenty of big players: RPSG have a number of big Indian and foreign players in their squad including Dhoni, Rahane, Ashwin, Smith, du Plessis, Pietersen and Ishant.
Good all-rounders: The new franchise has picked up some fabulous allrounders at the auction in the form of Irfan Pathan, Thisara Perera and Micthell Marsh.
Too many cooks: It may turn out to be a classic case of too many cooks spoiling the broth for RPSG with a large number of big players in the team.
With the team that Rising Pune Supergiants have picked, they could create some ripples in their very first season.
#8 Gujarat Lions - 9/10
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Draft Picks: Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, James Faulkner, Dwayne Bravo
Auction Buys: Aaron Finch, Praveen Kumar, Dale Steyn, Dwayne Smith, Dinesh Karthik, Dhawal Kulkarni, Eklavya Dwivedi, Andrew Tye, Ishan Kishan, Shadab Jakati, Pravin Tambe, Jaydev Shah, Pradeep Sangwan, Akshdeep Nath, Paras Dogra, Umang Sharma, Amit Mishra, Shivil Kaushik, Sarabjit Ladda
Team Intro: The other new franchise which may be around for the next couple of years in the IPL is Gujarat Lions. The Lions got a chance to pick five big players from the tainted franchises and they made the most of it at the draft. The team looks good on paper, but how it performs on the field is something time will tell.
Exciting allrounders: The Gujarat Lions have included some really good allrounder in their side such as Ravindra Jadeja, James Faulkner, Dwayne Bravo and Dwayne Smith.
Efficient Indian unit: Even apart from the really big players like Raina and Jadeja, Gujarat have other talented Indians like Kulkarni, Tambe, Jakati, Sangwan and Dogra among others.
Batting may be a concern: Although they have some really strong batsmen in Raina, McCullum, Finch and Dinesh Karthik, there is not much to cheer about beyond them.
No one expects them to become champions and Gujarat Lions may be able to prosper because of this.