CSK spoilt for choice, Kings XI search for one
A day before the IPL franchises release the names of the players they have retained, we try to work out who those cricketers could be, based on the buzz from the teams and previous retention and auction trends.
Kings XI Punjab
In contrast to Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab have fewer stars and no Indians who are regulars in the national side. Being a franchise that works on a tight budget, it is unlikely they will retain any players.
The biggest Indian names are Piyush Chawla, who has had reasonable success in the IPL, and Praveen Kumar, who has struggled with injuries this domestic season. Neither of them are candidates to be the face of a franchise, or team captain.
The overseas contingent has more proven T20 performers. Shaun Marsh has been consistently destructive over the years, David Miller is remembered by IPL fans for playing the innings of the tournament last season to stun Royal Challengers Bangalore, and then there's David Hussey, who is among the format's leading run-scorers but had a mediocre season in 2013.
Our picks: No one
Chennai Super Kings
The most successful franchise over six years, and a team that aggressively went all out to retain the core of the side during the previous all-in auction in 2011. In the three years since, they have progressed past the league phase each time, an achievement their captain MS Dhoni is proud of.
They are perhaps the team with most viable options when it comes to retaining players. Dhoni was the most expensive player in the original auction back in 2008, and possibly remains the player who would fetch the biggest bucks in an open auction. Giving up Rs 12.5crores (approx US$2m) from the auction purse for Dhoni would be a bargain. Suresh Raina may not exactly be flourishing on the international stage, but he remains the IPL's highest run-getter and a player to fear in the less-exacting environment of the IPL.
The Chennai Super Kings thinktank also loves allrounders. They have at least two of them who are prized in the T20 format: Dwayne Bravo, whose 32 wickets last season was the most taken in one IPL, and Ravindra Jadeja, for whom they shelled out US$2m two years ago and who had a golden year in international cricket in 2013.
Our picks: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo
With inputs from Nagraj Gollapudi and Amol Karhadkar