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Everything You Need to Know About the 2021 IPL Auction

| February 4, 2021 12:43 pm PDT
Everything About the 2021 IPL Auction

Just three months after the previous season ended, the 2021 IPL auction is set to take place on Thursday, February 18.

There has already been a host of off-season activity, with big names such as Steve Smith, Glen Maxwell, and Jason Roy all being released by their respective teams. There are also a number of youngsters hoping to get their first taste of the Indian Premier League this year.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians will be looking to replace the retired Lasith Malinga, while CSK will need to find a replacement for Shane Watson.

Below, I tell you everything you need to know about the 2021 IPL auction. I cover all the main talking points and assess what each franchise needs to do on February 18.

How Will the 2021 IPL Auction Work?

  • The 2021 IPL action will take place on Thursday, February 18
  • Each of the eight franchises has a budget of 85 crores (roughly $12.5m)
  • The maximum number of players allowed in a squad is 25
  • Each team must end up with a minimum of 18 players
  • Teams have already chosen their retained players from last season
  • The remaining budget after the retention process can be spent during the auction
  • Each squad is restricted to a maximum of eight overseas players
  • “Right to Match” cards (RTM) can be used to retain released players
  • RTMs allow previous teams to match any offers made for their recently released player

The 2021 IPL will be held in Chennai later this month, following the completion of India and England’s second Test match in the same city.

Due to the shortened off-season, the 2021 auction isn’t likely to be as eventful as previous years. Still, there is plenty of business that needs to be sorted out before the new season gets underway.

With 53.2 crores still to spend, Kings XI Punjab head into the auction with the biggest remaining budget. KXIP also has the most overseas slots to fill (5).

Royal Challengers Bangalore have the most overall player slots to fill (13), while Sunrisers Hyderabad have the fewest (3).

In a change to previous years, franchises won’t be allowed any additional money to finalize their rosters. Alternatively, squads must be completed by using the funds freed up by departures.

You can find the full lists of retained and released players for the 2021 IPL season here.

Below, I take a closer look at each franchise and assess where each squad stands heading into the upcoming auction.

How Will Chennai Super Kings Replace Shane Watson?

Of course, the big news regarding CSK is the return of legendary captain MS Dhoni. It wasn’t clear whether the 39-year-old would come back for another season, but he has signed a new deal worth 15 crores.

He joins local heroes Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja, along with overseas stars Dwayne Bravo, Sam Curran, Josh Hazlewood, Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Lungisani Ngidi, and Mitchell Santnar.

However, that means that the Chennai franchise only has one overseas slot left to fill at the auction.

Category Stat
Current Players 18
Current Overseas Players 7
Money Spent 62.1 crore
Budget Remaining 22.9 crore
Available Player Slots 7
Overseas Slots 1

Meanwhile, all-rounders Kedar Jadhav and Piyush Chawla have been released by CSK, while veterans Shane Watson and Harbahjan Singh have also left.

The Super Kings won’t be the busiest franchise at the auction, although they still have some important slots to fill. Glenn Maxwell has been touted as the ideal Watson replacement, but there are plenty of other exciting options out there.

Will Delhi Capitals Consider Alex Hales?

Delhi Capitals parted ways with some big names during the off-season, choosing not to retain the services of Australian Alex Carey and Englishman Jason Roy.

The Delhi franchise also let overseas duo Keemo Paul and Sandeep Lamichhane go.

Keeping hold of players like Rishabh Pant, Shimron Hetmyer, Shikhar Dhawan, and Kagiso Rabada was obviously a priority for DC, yet the squad still needs strengthening.

Category Stat
Current Players 19
Current Overseas Players 6
Money Spent 72.0982 crore
Budget Remaining 12.9018 crore
Available Player Slots 6
Overseas Slots 2

With Carey and Roy out of the equation, the Capitals need some firepower at the top of the order. Colin Munro, Josh Inglis, and Alex Hales have all impressed in the Big Bash League this year, so we could see DC turn to one of those options.

Having been released by RCB, Shivam Dube is also likely to be on DC’s radar. The all-rounder would be a useful addition to the squad.

Can Kings XI Punjab Fill the Glenn Maxwell Void?

With 53.2 crore in the bank and five available overseas slots, it’s fair to say that Kings XI Punjab are in a strong position as we approach the 2021 IPL auction.

Sure, big names like Glenn Maxwell and Sheldon Cottrell haven’t been retained. But with KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Jordan, and Chris Gayle all still with the franchise, KXIP have the foundations to create a stellar squad.

Category Stat
Current Players 16
Current Overseas Players 3
Money Spent 31.8 crore
Budget Remaining 53.2 crore
Available Player Slots 9
Overseas Slots 5

Maxwell is gone, so the team needs a new finisher in the middle order. In my opinion, KXIP should look no further than the world’s number-one ranked T20 batsmen – Dawid Malan.

The Punjab outfit may also look to acquire a new paceman to support the aging Mohammed Shami. Mitchell Starc certainly fits the ball, although I can see plenty of franchises bidding for the Aussie speedster.

Whatever happens, it’s destined to be an entertaining auction for KXIP.

Alex Carey to Kolkata Knight Riders?

Along with SRH, Kolkata Knight Riders currently have the joint-lowest remaining budget. But having retained the likes of Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, and Eoin Morgan, the squad is already packed with top-quality players.

KKR waved goodbye to English pair Tom Banton and Harry Gurney after the 2020 season, while Chris Green also left the franchise. But after shining in BBL 10, I wouldn’t be surprised if Green heads back to Kolkata.

Category Stat
Current Players 17
Current Overseas Players 6
Money Spent 74.25 crore
Budget Remaining 10.75 crore
Available Player Slots 8
Overseas Slots 2

I can see the Knight Riders targeting Alex Carey, who was recently released by Delhi Capitals. The Australian would be a solid opening partner for Shubman Gill and could also offer depth in the wicket-keeping department.

Mujeeb Ur Rahman is another option that KKR may look to pick up. After all, the leg-spinner enjoyed an excellent BBL 10 campaign before teaming up with Afghanistan.

Can Mumbai Indians Find a New Paceman?

The defending champions have already released Nathan Coulter-Nile, while Lasith Malinga has ended his time with the franchise. This sees MI head into the auction with four overseas slots to fill.

That’s a pretty exciting prospect, right?

Let’s not forget that Mumbai Indians boast homegrown stars like Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, and Jasprit Bumrah. So, where can the team be strengthened?

Category Stat
Current Players 18
Current Overseas Players 4
Money Spent 69.65 crore
Budget Remaining 15.35 crore
Available Player Slots 7
Overseas Slots 4

Well, having released a number of fast bowlers, it is pretty clear that MI will be looking to acquire one or two pacemen when the auction gets underway.

Jhye Richardson has shone with the Scorchers in the Big Bash League this year, so he will surely be considered. Kyle Jamieson, Chris Morris, and Sheldon Cottrell are also available.

Will Rajasthan Royals Cope Without Steve Smith?

Rajasthan Royals will be without Steve Smith for the 2021 IPL season, leaving a gaping hole in the team’s batting line-up.

However, the departed Aussie has freed up a big chunk of RR’s budget (12.5 crores to be exact), so the Rajasthan franchise will now be looking to add a big-name batsman to their squad.

In my eyes, Kedar Devdhar is a sensible option. The wicket-keeper batsman has shone in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this year, and he isn’t likely to be too expensive, meaning RR can bring in more players.

Category Stat
Current Players 17
Current Overseas Players 5
Money Spent 50.15 crore
Budget Remaining 34.85 crore
Available Player Slots 8
Overseas Slots 3

Unsurprisingly, English trio Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer, and Jose Buttler have been retained for the 2021 season. They will be joined by fellow overseas pair Andrew Tye and David Miller.

The Royals finished rock bottom of the table in the previous campaign, so they will be looking to make the most of their remaining 34.85 crores.

Could Royal Challengers Bangalore Target Smith?

With only 12 players currently on their books and a whopping 13 slots still up for grabs, Royal Challengers Bangalore looks set to be exceptionally active during the 2021 IPL auction.

The Bangalore franchise is ten players light following last term’s fourth-place finish, with Aaron Finch, Dale Steyn, and Moeen Ali among the ten players recently released by RCB.

Category Stat
Current Players 12
Current Overseas Players 4
Money Spent 49.1 crore
Budget Remaining 35.9 crore
Available Player Slots 13
Overseas Slots 4

Led by captain Virat Kohli, I think RCB will be one of the many teams looking at Alex Carey. Countryman Josh Philippe is already in the squad, but Carey would add some vital experience.

The Bangalore outfit has relied heavily on Kohli and AB de Villiers for runs in recent season, so we could even see RCB make a shock move for Steve Smith, who was the only captain to be released last term.

Yes, Smith endured a 2020 campaign to forget. But he is still one of the best batsmen on the planet.

Who Will be Sunrisers Hyderabad’s Last Overseas Player?

SH only released five players following the previous campaign, with Australian Billy Stanlake and West Indian Fabien Allen both left to search for a new team in 2021.

David Warner, Rashid Khan, Kane Williamson, Jonny Bairstow, and Mitchell March have all been retained by the Hyderabad franchise, so the team will already be confident of emulating last season’s third-place finish.

SH may not have the biggest budget to use, but they will still be looking to do business at the auction.

Category Stat
Current Players 22
Current Overseas Players 7
Money Spent 74.25 crore
Budget Remaining 10.75 crore
Available Player Slots 3
Overseas Slots 1

With Stanlake being released, SH could turn to someone like Jhye Richardson to bolster their bowling attack. However, with just one overseas slot remaining, Kedar Jadhav or Harbhajan Singh may be called upon.

SH could use their final overseas berth to acquire Shakib Al Hasan. The Pakistani all-rounder was released by the franchise in 2019 following a ban, but he could make a comeback this year.

Closing Thoughts

The IPL auction is one of the standout dates on the Indian Premier League calendar, with each franchise battling it out to finalize their squads for the upcoming season.

There is no shortage of world-class players up for grabs this year, meaning the 2021 IPL auction is set to be a thrilling event.

The new campaign is scheduled to commence in early April, although no official start date has been announced yet jet. In the meantime, why not check out some of my recent IPL posts?

Ben Morris
Ben Morris

Ben is a sportswriter and tipster who specializes in soccer. Currently based in the UK, he has traveled all around the world watching – and betting on – his beloved sport.

Alongside his regular soccer content, Ben publishes blogs and picks for cricket, Formula 1, Aussie rules, darts, and various other sports.

Ben is a diehard fan of Nottingham Forest and England, so he hasn’t had much to cheer about in recent years!

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