Kolkata is all set to host the auctions for the upcoming season of Indian Premier League – IPL 2020 – on 19 December. 8 teams will be looking to fill a maximum of 73 spots in the auction. The transfer window saw some interesting and strategic trades and releases, some of which were no short of shocking.
Teams like Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad did not indulge in any trading and released only a few players, while some others like Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab have released a major chunk of their players.
As we head into the much anticipated auctions, here we analyse one major area of concern for each team ahead of the auctions:
Royal Challengers Bangalore:
RCB, for a long time now, have been tagged as a batting-heavy side with mediocre or below par bowling. The situation is no different this time around too. With Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Siraj and Navneet Saini, they have three very good fast bowling options. But none of them are not as good with the white ball as they are with the red ball. Only Saini showed some promise of delivering at the death last year.
Umesh has been really good with the new ball but terrible at the death. Siraj’s case is not much different, except the fact that he has not got much chances with the new ball. Further, by releasing the likes of Tim Southee, Colin de Grandhomme and Dale Steyn, RCB have a serious dearth of death bowlers.So death bowling in particular is RCB’s major area of focus in the auctions.
Mumbai Indians have most got most of their bases covered. The playing XI looks quite formidable from the list of retained players. The major focus will be on improving the bench strength, especially in the batting department. With the release of Yuvraj, Lewis and Cutting and trade of Siddhesh Lad, Mumbai will look to get some better options with the bat who can come in handy when someone from the playing XI gets injured.
The strong Indian core in batting holds DC in good stead. Fast bowling lies in the safe hands of Kagiso Rabada and Ishant Sharma. The spin department looks strongest among all teams. The only major gap they will be looking to fill will be that of a finisher. The lack of good lower order batsmen did cost them a few games last season.
Chris Morris has been released along with the likes of Ingram and Vihari. This has led to a situation where they have too many top order batsmen but lack middle order batters for IPL 2020. They will be looking to get in some experienced international middle order batsmen as they already have a very strong Indian core.
With the likes of Warner, Bairstow and Williamson being the top order batsmen, SRH will have to rely on Indian talent to handle the lower middle order in IPL 2020 unless they make a splash in the auctions. They did invest in the likes of Yusuf Pathan and Deepak Hooda for the task of finishing with the bat. But the investment did not yield much results and they had to release them ahead of the auctions.
With the squad they have, Vijay Shankar and Abhishek Sharma will be tasked with the job of finishing. However, both are quite inexperienced for the role and SRH will be looking to bring in some experience in the lower middle order.
Chennai Super Kings:
Having released just six players, CSK hold an almost identical look to the 2019 squad. However, the concerns over the under-performing middle order, which was clearly overdependent on skipper Dhoni in the last season, still remains. Also unlike most teams, CSK do lack the much-needed aggressor in their middle order, who can hit sixes at will right from the word go.
They will be wanting some firepower in the middle and lower middle order as backups for the under-performing Rayudu and Jadhav. An experienced overseas campaigner fit for this role will be what they will be looking to get.
Despite having stalwarts like Buttler, Smith and Stokes, RR need some good Indian batting to make the bench stronger. Also, after releasing Binny and trading K Gowtham, they lack firepower in the lower middle order. So finishing is one area of concern for RR ahead of the auctions.
Stokes might be good enough for the role but he has not been up to the expectations for the last two seasons. And without support there will be a clear case of over-reliance on him. Hence, RR will be looking for good lower middle order Indian batsmen.
Kings XI Punjab:
The top order remains the strongest suite for KXIP. The middle order, with Miller gone, remains an area to be focused on. Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Karun Nair and Sarfaraz Khan are options for the middle order, but none of them have the experience of playing the role of a finisher. Miller’s lack of form and the dearth of proper finishers has haunted them in crunch games for two years now.
Some good and experienced middle order batsmen from the overseas contingent will be on KXIP’s radar in the upcoming auctions.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
The major area of concern for KKR remains the bench strength. The last two seasons saw them with a formidable playing XI but a weak bench, which haunted them the most in the 2019 season. They did not have anyone else to go to when the regulars under-performed.
The first choice XI is still very strong for IPL 2020 but they lack bench strength in every department, starting from top order batting to death bowling. Hence, buffing up the bench strength will be the major focus area for KKR.