The 2019 Indian T20 League season was a tough one for both Kolkata and Punjab. While there was too much onus on Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell for Kolkata, Punjab failed to impress across disciplines and was listless with their ability to fightback. At the auction this year, both teams will want to step up and make some radical choices.
Team: Arshdeep Singh, Chris Gayle, Darshan Nalkande, K Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen, Harpreet Brar, Jagadeesha Suchith, Karun Nair, KL Rahul, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb ur Rahman, M Ashwin, Nicholas Pooran, Sarfaraz Khan
Released players: Agnivesh Ayachi, Andrew Tye, David Miller, Moises Henriques, Prabhsimran Singh, Sam Curran, Varun Chakaravarthy
Slots to fill: Nine (four overseas)
Money remaining: Rs 42.70 Crore
Possible strategy: Punjab have done decently ahead of the auction by letting go of some big purchases that didn't yield expected results. By releasing seven players, they have opened up big cash, setting themselves up for a good auction.
They have the most cash in the kitty heading into the auction and will look to plug major holes in the side. In David Miller and Sam Curran, Punjab lost a finisher and an all-rounder. They are also short of death bowlers with Andrew Tye (and Curran) released.
A back-up for Chris Gayle could also be on the radar given his late, poor form.
Players who could be the radar: Aiden Markram, Pat Cummins, Andile Phehlukwayo, James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Ishan Porel, Virat Singh, Tim Seifert, Kedar Devdhar
Team: Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik, Harry Gurney, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Narine
Released players: Anrich Nortje, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Lynn, Joe Denly, KC Cariappa, Matt Kelly, Nikhil Naik, Piyush Chawla, Prithvi Raj Yarra, Robin Uthappa, Shrikant Mundhe
Slots to fill: 11 (four overseas)
Money remaining: Rs 35.65 Crore
Possible strategy: Kolkata released some long-standing players in Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla and Chris Lynn. They also dispensed of some foreign stars who were costing them and filling up places in the squad. With 11 slots (and four of them overseas) available to fill and a cash balance of more than Rs 35 crore, Kolkata can make a splash at the auction to give a fresh look to the side.
Finding a replacement for Lynn, stocking up a bit on spin resources, a back-up for Andre Russell and a pace bowling mainstay will be on their radar this auction. Splurging a bit on the main pacer and opener could be on the cards.
So, we might see them opt for a few domestic middle-order batsmen to fill in slots. Siddhesh Lad was traded in, but they might need more power in this area.
Players who could be the radar: Dale Steyn, Rilee Rossouw, Tom Banton, Chris Woakes, Chris Morris, Baba Aparajith, Dhruv Shorey, Sai Kishore, Varun Chakravarthy
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Sajjad Hussain