Defending champions Mumbai Indians and the formidable Chennai Super Kings are the two franchises which are set to retain all five players when the teams submit their lists tomorrow for the upcoming seventh edition of Indian Premier League.
MI and CSK are the two teams that have the biggest fan base all over India and have had a core set of players that has remained pretty much the same over the years.
As far as BCCI president N Srinivasan’s franchise is concerned, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni will be retained along with Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Suresh Raina — all India regulars. The choice of foreign player will be between West Indies’ Dwayne Bravo and South Africa’s Faf du Plessis.
Dhoni’s fascination for seam-bowling all-rounders is widely documented and Bravo certainly will hold an edge over his South African rival, who has also caught the imagination with his big-hitting prowess.
For Mumbai Indians, it will be the first season without Sachin Tendulkar and skipper Rohit Sharma and the immensely popular Kieron Pollard are the two automatic choices for retention. Mitchell Johnson’s red-hot form and his performance in the Ashes also makes him a contender for a place in the retention list.
Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga who has provided brilliant service over the years is also in MI’s wish-list.
Since there is possibility of a part of IPL matches happening in Sri Lanka, Malinga’s expertise in those tracks at the Premadasa Stadium or Pallekele or Hambantota grounds will certainly come in handy.
Dinesh Karthik’s glovework along with his explosive batting makes him a strong candidate for retention while Ambati Rayudu and Harbhajan Singh will also be in the contention for retention. Harbhajan, with 24 wickets in the last edition and with a better brand value will be slightly ahead in the race than Rayudu.