The 12th edition of the lucrative Indian T20 league is likely to be affected due to the general elections in the country in May 2019. It is highly likely that the tournament will be hosted either in UAE or South Africa for its forthcoming season next year.
The preparations for the cash-rich league are already underway with franchises figuring out their squads much ahead of the next edition. With auction likely to be scheduled in the second half of December, teams have very less time in hand to consider their best possible squads for IPL 2019.
Most of the teams have gone about their business with ease in trading players with other teams from the league. The teams have looked to make the most of the first trading window in their quest to find the right balance before they go into the auction.
The most talked about trade saw Shikhar Dhawan returning to Delhi Daredevils in place of Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem, and Abhishek Sharma. This might prove to be a lifeline for Delhi as they hope to end their 11-year drought of being devoid of any IPL trophy.
As we near the IPL auctions for the twelfth time in its history, here's looking at some of the Indian players who could be released ahead of the auctions:
#1 Chennai Super Kings - Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan, often known as the Turbanator of Indian cricket, shifted his base for the first time in IPL history ahead of the 11th edition of the league. After being not retained by the three-time champions in Mumbai Indians, Singh was bought by Chennai Super Kings to strengthen their spin bowling stocks for IPL 2018. Harbhajan who didn't interest any other franchise was bought at his base price of INR 2 crores.
In the 13 games in the season, Bhajji could only manage 7 wickets though with an impressive economy of 7.05. Skipper Dhoni always thought of the off-spinner as the defensive option who could go on to contain runs. It might be no surprise if CSK might release Harbhajan ahead of the season to rope in any other young attacking option in their ranks. This might be evil signs for the ageing off-spinner but he might have to face the brunt ahead of the IPL auctions.
#2 Royal Challengers Bangalore- Navdeep Saini
Delhi's young fast-bowling sensation in Navdeep Saini was roped in by Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of the eleventh edition in 2018. A predominantly swing-bowler, Saini has often acquired the news for his consistency and the ability to bowl to turn games in the domestic circuit for his state team. It was only due to the volumes of his performances that he was a part of India's one-off Test squad against Afghanistan but unfortunately couldn't break into the playing XI.
Saini who was bought for a whopping amount of INR 3 crores, didn't get an opportunity to feature in the XI in any of the IPL games for RCB. This might just tempt the franchise to release the fast bowler considering their fast bowling stocks which are usually high due to the presence of many International cricketers. This could be the blessing in disguise for the talented pacer to show his skills for any other franchise even in the shortest version of the game against some of the best in the world.
#3 Sunrisers Hyderabad - Manish Pandey
One of the hot buys of 2018, Manish Pandey was rewarded for some consistent run in the domestic and being a regular part of India's limited overs recruits. The right-handed batsman was bought for a staggering amount of INR 11 crores by the Hyderabad-based franchise. It wasn't peculiar for Pandey being offered such a high pay as the 28-year old was banked upon to shoulder responsibility for the franchise.
However, Pandey had a miserable season as he couldn't get going in the entire season. In 15 games, he could only muster 284 runs at a mediocre average of 25. He failed to live up to the expectations set by the franchise ahead of the tournament and it won't be unusual to release the Indian middle-order batsman. His exclusion from the team may allow them to rope in any free-flowing batsman to resolve their middle-order woes ahead of IPL 2019.
#4 Kings XI Punjab - Manoj Tiwary
Bengal skipper shifted his base in 2018 after a successful IPL campaign with the Rising Pune Supergiants in 2017 to help the franchise reach the finals of the tournament. In 2018, he was bought by Kings XI Punjab for INR 1 crore to add value to the side in terms of his experience and a handy middle-order batsman. However, Tiwary didn't fit in their scheme of things as he was warming the benches for a majority of the tournament.
Manoj played only five games in the season and didn't do enough good to cement his spot in the starting XI. His 47 runs with highest of 35 didn't help Punjab in the best possible ways. It won't be a surprise if the 32-year old is released by the franchise to rope in a hard-hitting batsman in the lower-order to finish games for the side.
#5 Rajasthan Royals - Rahul Tripathi
After an impressive run in IPL 2017 for the Rising Pune Supergiants, Rahul Tripathi was the star attraction of the next year's IPL auction in 2018. And with no surprise, the youngster was amongst one of the highly paid uncapped Indian players. He was bought by the Rajasthan Royals for INR 3.4 crores to resolve their opening issues ahead of the tournament.
However, Tripathi was a flop in his second season at the IPL. In his 12 games for the franchise, he could only accumulate 226 runs at a meager average of 25 with the bat. A season which panned out in a sheer disappointment for the Maharashtra-lad, the franchise might opt to leave him out and call for someone more aggressive and fearless at the top of the order. It could be unfortunate for Tripathi to be left out on the basis of one awful season, but that's how cricket indeed is a cruel game.
#6 Mumbai Indians - Aditya Tare
Mumbai's Ranji Trophy winning skipper has been in the fray ever since he made his first-class debut in the 2007-08 season for his state team. Tare was roped in for the first time in IPL by Mumbai Indians in 2010. The wicket-keeper batsman has been in the reckoning but his inconsistent play and the lack of opportunities once again sees him on the brink of being going down the hammer in IPL auctions for next year.
Tare who was bought at his base price of INR 20 lakhs by Mumbai Indians as the wicket-keeper batsman, didn't feature in any of the games in 2018. With just 35 games in seven years in IPL, Tare has notched up performances at some irregular intervals. It will be no surprise if the franchise decides to release him ahead of the IPL for not such noteworthy exploits for the men in blue.
#7 Kolkata Knight Riders - Rinku Singh
The aggressive left-handed batsman from Uttar Pradesh who has always looked to follow the footsteps of the senior cricketers from the state was a part of the IPL 2018 for the second time in his career. Rinku Singh, who made his IPL debut for Kings XI Punjab in 2017 could only manage to play a solitary game for the Kings and hence was released at the end of the season.
However, Rinku was bought by the Kolkata for INR 80 lakhs in the auction and was expected to be one of the finds of the league. However, it wasn't to be as he didn't get enough opportunities to showcase his talent with the bat. A lower-order batsman, Rinku played only four games to muster 29 runs with the bat. He did leave an impact in the field but that might just not do it for the youngster to continue his services for the Knight Riders.
#8 Delhi Daredevils - Gurkeerat Singh Mann
A handy middle-order batsman and a useful off-spinner, Gurkeerat has been plying his trade for different IPL teams as an all-rounder in the seasons gone by. In the last IPL auctions, the Punjab-lad was a part of Delhi Daredevils as the franchise bought him for INR 75 lakhs ahead of the season. His maiden stint for the Delhi-based franchise didn't fare well as he didn't get an opportunity to make it to the playing XI in any of the games.
The all-rounder who was even handed his ODI debut for India against Australia in January 2016, has been inconsistent with his performances in IPL. After playing for Kings XI Punjab in the previous seasons, Delhi seemed interested in his skills in IPL 2018. However, he might be shown the way out after not getting an opportunity to play in the eleventh edition.