While the franchise think-tanks will be huddled up one last time to get their wish lists and calculations in place, Sportstar takes a look at the gaps in their existing squads that they would want to fill.
Chennai Super Kings
Its starting XI, except retired Ambati Rayudu, is already in place. So, CSK, with its sizable purse, may end up playing spoilsport for a couple of other franchises. Besides, the franchise will be keen on having strong back-ups in place for injury-prone Matheesha Pathirana and Moeen Ali. Not to mention its quest for a finisher once MS Dhoni hangs up his boots. Shahrukh Khan calling?
The franchise that’s been the talk of the town ever since that famous transfer may have given its team balance a huge fillip with Hardik Pandya’s homecoming. But the franchise will have limited budget to add a quality pacer to reduce the pressure on Jasprit Bumrah.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Having released a whopping 12 players, including six pacers, KKR’s could be the busiest table at the auction. Besides adding a barrage of pacers, the franchise will also be hoping for a reliable back-up wicketkeeper to Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
Kumar Sangakkara and his think-tank will have their eyes set on two big catches: a reliable middle-order bat and an all-rounder. One of them can be an overseas buy. But with a tight purse, it will be interesting to see who it will opt for.
Despite finishing at the bottom of the points table, SRH has retained its core. It will be eyeing an explosive opener and a quality pacer who can combine effectively with veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
It’s a given that it will target a big-ticket all-rounder to maintain the balance of the team. Who will it be? In fact, the ball will be in GT’s court considering it has the largest purse available. Besides an all-rounder, it will also be on a hunt for an overseas pacer who can combine with Mohammed Shami.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
It has at least three slots to fill in the starting XI. A finisher – preferably an all-rounder, a pacer and a pacer. At least one of them has to be an overseas buy. Can it get its act right this time around, at least on the auction table?
Rishabh Pant is likely to return to the field. Still, Capitals will need a strong back-up as a finisher after having lost faith in Rovman Powell. And it will also require a ready-made replacement for Prithvi Shaw and left-arm pacer Khaleel Ahmed.
Lucknow Super Giants
Mark Wood is set to be available for the entire duration of the IPL. Still, should England pull him midway through the season to prepare for the T20 World Cup, the new management under Justin Langer will be eyeing a strong back-up. Entering the auction with the smallest purse, can it create viable back-ups?
The slot vacated by Shahrukh Khan’s release will be on top of the agenda for Punjab Kings. Can it go for an Indian all-rounder who can finish the games effectively? And then make up its squad with quality back-ups from the domestic circuit?