Here is a look at the squad structure of four teams – Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils.
Kings XI Punjab
1 Virender Sehwag, 2 Mandeep Singh, 3 Shaun Marsh, 4 George Bailey (capt), 5 David Miller, 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Mitchell Johnson, 8 Parwinder Awana, 9 Rishi Dhawan, 10 Murali Kartik, 11 L Balaji.
When KXIP chose to retain the lesser known Manan Vohra ahead of the auctions, many thought of it as a tactical blunder. But, during the auctions, Punjab executed a near perfect strategy and walked away with the best possible squad.
Aggressive bidding with the buffer of large purse proved to be the key for the Mohali-based team. The presence of former India all-rounder Sanjay Bangar, who will be coaching KXIP for the first time, at the auctions clearly put KXIP miles ahead of others – a fact well justified by the bargain buys of Virender Sehwag, Mitchell Johnson and Glenn Maxwell.
Add to that Australia’s T20 captain of George Bailey, Shaun Marsh and Thisara Perera in the mix and KXIP have a team most would fear this season.
Johnson’s full wrath will be magnified at their home ground at Mohali and even though they let go of Piyush Chawla – their highly successful spinner – in Murali Kartik hey have acquired a more than capable replacement.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The biggest talking point of the Auctions has been Yuvraj Singh’s price tag of Rs. 14 crore
Buying Yuvraj Singh at whopping 14 crore did put a lot of pressure on RCB to get themselves a squad at first and after their initial hiccups they managed pretty well. The heavily armoured batting order is capable of shooting down any kind of target and posting totals that could be out of reach for any batting line-up.
And that is what Vijay Mallya would be relying on. A line-up comprising of Ashok Dinda, Varun Aaron, Shadab Jakati and Zaheer Khan will not be the one to bet on ripping through the opponent or come up good during close encounters. Due to the big names, RCB also have to content themselves with a rather slim bench strength and any injury to the big guys will definitely put RCB in a spot of bother.
1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Sanju Samson (wk), 3 Shane Watson (capt), 4 Steve Smith, 5 Brad Hodge, 6 James Faulkner, 7 Stuart Binny, 8 Rajat Bhatia, 9 Dhawal Kulkarni, 10 Iqbal Abdullah, 11 Pravin Tambe.
Rajasthan Royals have a pretty balanced side
Over the course of IPL, Rajasthan Royals have never seized to surprise and this year too, at the auction, Rajasthan spent the least and put up the the biggest squad of the lot surprising many. With Dravid at the helm of affairs at the table and with five retentions (Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane, Stuart Binny, Shane Watson and James Faulkner), RR went for potential rather than big names.
With their core team already set Rajasthan made a few bargain buys and also fought for their own players who came up in the auction namely Brad Hodge and Pravin Tambe. Addition of local allrounder – Abhishek Nayar, Rajat Bhatia and Australians Ben Cutting and Kane Richardson have now given RR a very flexible team.
With emphasis on utility players, their XI will be chopped and changed more often, not allowing the opponents to come up with a clear strategy. but that would also mean a not so settled team for the Rajasthan as well. The have a lot of back up in the squad of 25, but lack experience. But the question is, will be be able to spring another surprise? With this team, they surely will.
1 Murali Vijay, 2 Mayank Agarwal 3 Kevin Pietersen, 4 Dinesh Karthik (capt/wk), 5 JP Duminy, 6 Saurabh Tiwary, 7 Jimmy Neesham, 8 Jaydev Unadkat, 9 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 10 Mohammed Shami, 11 Shahbaz Nadeem.
Delhi Daredevils made a smart move by not retaining anyone and then ending up with the desired players in auctions
The two time wooden-spoon holders had to go for a complete revamp and that is what they did. A totally new look team with a handful of the old lot gives Delhi Daredevils a rather mean looking squad. Their former captain Mahela Jayawardene was the first to go under the hammer and he went unsold.
The icon player Virender Sehwag was untouched and they let go of David Warner rather meekly. Signs were not looking really good at the start but with big buys of Kevin Pietersen and Dinesh Karthik DD jumped back into contention and their strategy to wait and watch started to click.
With no retentions they had the maximum purse to play with but somehow the GMR Sports-owned franchise did mess it up a little bit. They were good in patches but some outrageous bids from they was really hard to understand.
Delhi always had a strong bowling line-up to boast about but this time they let go of Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav, drafting in Coulter-Nile, Shami, Unadkat and Laxmi Ratan Shukla in the bowling department.
Looking at the low and slow Frerozshah Kotla track, DD’s home ground, this bowling attack will be more effective than the quicks and add to that Neesham’s handy medium-pace and Shahbaz Nadeem dead accurate slow left-arm, DD might as well have made a team that could go unbeaten at home.
Ross Taylor, Murali Vijay, JP Duminy give DD some hard-hitters but each of them is more than capable of playing a sensible innings as well. Overall a solid team and after the first season of IPL, this Delhi Daredevils team have darkhorse look to them.