KPL 2018 auction: Full list of updated squads and team analysis
The auctions ahead of the 2018 edition of the Karnataka Premier League, which is slated to start next month witnessed some thrilling action as the seven teams in the fray indulged in some heated bidding that saw the likes of pacer Abhimanyu Mithun (₹8.3 lakh), Robin Uthappa (₹7.9 lakh) and seasoned all-rounder Amit Verma (₹7.6 lakh) emerging as the top three costliest buys on the day.
The left-arm spinners had a field day as 17-year old Shubhang Hegde joined his senior statesmen K.P Appanna, Suneel Raju and Abrar Kazi as all the four crossed the ₹3 crore mark while it was not all rosy as big guns Krishnappa Gowtham, Mayank Agarwal were procured for a paltry sum of ₹25,000 owing to the dilemma over their availability for the tournament.
Pacer T Pradeep (₹6.9 lakh), hard-hitting batsman Jonathan R (₹5.45 lakh) and Bijapur Bulls' batting mainstay from last season Mohanram Nidesh (₹5.85 lakh) also earned fat contracts as the auction had its fair share of action and surprises. Here is an analysis of how the squads shape up for the upcoming season of the league.
Team: Manish Pandey (R), Stuart Binny (R), Stalin Hoover (R), Avinash D (R), Mohanram Nidhesh, Dikshankshu Negi, Shubhang Hegde, Rakshith S, Nikin Jose, Saurabh Yadav, Prashant S, Sadiq Kirmani, Darshan Machaiah, Shreyas BM, Akshay Ballal, Aman Khan.
One of the biggest positives for the defending champions will be the availability of middle-order bat Manish Pandey, who has enjoyed tremendous success with the Indian team and will be a vital contributor to the Panthers. Stuart Binny and Stalin Hoover, two of the best all-rounders in the domestic circuit and the Panthers' lead run-getters last season were also retained while Avinash D's outstanding run last season with the ball, including a hat-trick in the semifinals saw the Panthers retain faith in their pacer.
In the auctions, the Panthers managed to add more firepower to their middle-order in the form of Mohanram Nidesh, who made a name for himself with the Bijapur Bulls last season and aggressive right-hand batsman Dikshankshu Negi while in young Shubhang Hegde, they have a reliable spinner to bank on.
Youngsters in Rakshith S and Sadiq Kirmani will undoubtedly strengthen the batting order while useful additions in the form of Aman Khan and Akshay Ballal could well put the Panthers in the path of another title victory.