IPL 2018 Retentions: Players for whom Right-to-Match (RTM) cards should be used
RTM card is an interesting tool and needs to be used carefully by the franchises.
The Thursday morning air was filled with suspense on which players the IPL franchises would retain. The fans, the experts as well as the players themselves were keeping a close eye on the proceedings. Finally, after hours of speculations and rumours, the player retention list was made public.
Mostly there were obvious names on that list and a few surprising ones as well. The final verdict would be that the franchises played the pre-auction retention game really well, keeping in mind the budget, player's current form, fitness, and availability.
The IPL player auction is scheduled for 27th and 28th of January 2018. As per the IPL 2018 player retention rules, a player can be retained either before the auction or during it using the Right to Match card (a maximum of five players can be retained by any franchise). The first half of the retention process was completed on the 4th of January 2018. The excitement leading into the next half of it is sky high.
The auction day gives the franchises another opportunity to retain their ace players using the RTM cards. During the auction, if a player is acquired by another franchise for X amount, then his previous franchise can use the RTM card to retain him for the same bid amount X. Although the auction is still three weeks away, it is very likely that all the teams would have made up their mind on the players to be retained using the RTM.
Let us have a look at those possible players for each franchise.
Note - A maximum of five players can be retained keeping the following things in mind - maximum three capped Indian players, maximum two uncapped Indian players, maximum two overseas players.
#1 Mumbai Indians (MI)
Players retained - Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jaspreet Bumrah
Maximum players retainable via RTM - Two
Capped Indian players retainable via RTM - Zero
Uncapped Indian players retainable via RTM - Two
Overseas players retainable via RTM - Two
The champions of IPL 2017 made a champion move by retaining a top-order batsman, an all-rounder, and an amazing bowler. With just Rs. 47 crore left in the kitty, the MI would be willing to use the RTM card only if the price is right. Following are the key players from the champion side which may be considered for RTM -
Krunal Pandya - The left-handed spin bowling all-rounder had a significant role to play in the Mumbai Indians' success. After being considered initially for the pre-auction retention, Krunal may still be a part of the MI lineup with the help of RTM.
Jos Buttler - An attacking opening batsman, a great finisher, an excellent fielder, and a skilful wicket-keeper - Buttler can wear many hats and be flawless at all of them. If at the end of auction MI are unable to acquire a good wicket-keeper batsman, Buttler may be retained.
Kieron Pollard - The hard-hitting West Indian has been instrumental in MI's success. Pollard's ability to completely wreck the opposition bowling with the bat and his outstanding fielding skills made many think that he will be retained during the pre-auction retention. Hardik Pandya assumes a role similar to his which probably went against him. Irrespective of that, having him in the team is a boon and MI would not be hesitant to use the RTM for him if the price is reasonable.
Note - Harbhajan Singh cannot be retained now as the limit for the maximum number of capped Indian players (3) is reached.