After the big auction in January, the IPL will end 2018 with a second auction on December 18 in Jaipur. Unlike the expansive exercise in January where franchises built squads virtually from scratch, teams this week will mostly look to plug gaps and pick back-up players.
With the World Cup commencing about two weeks after the IPL, availability will be the key determining factor for franchises, which will look to pick players as cover to those who will leave for World Cup preparatory camps. Also, with the venue yet to be finalised, most of the investments franchises make are likely to be short-term in nature.
As analysts, coaches and owners continue brainstorming on the eve of the auction, ESPNcricinfo does a deep dive into what each franchise requires and what roles and players each one is likely to target.
Chennai Super Kings
Squad: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Billings, Mitchell Santner, David Willey, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Karn Sharma, Dhruv Shorey, N Jagadeesan, Shardul Thakur, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi
Playing XI (probable): Shane Watson*, Ambati Rayudu, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni, Kedar Jadhav, Dwayne Bravo*, Mitchell Santner* , Deepak Chahar, Shardul Thakur, Harbhajan Singh, Lungi Ngidi*
If it ain't broke, why fix it? This has been CSK's mantra since the first season. The defending champions, led by MS Dhoni, have chosen not to upset the applecart and have retained 23 players. They still have 8.4 crores with which to pick up two Indian players, and in all likelihood will want a left-arm fast bowler and probably a back-up spinner for the ageing Harbhajan Singh.
What they need: Back-up Indian spinner and a left-arm fast bowler
Potential targets: Jaydev Unadkat, Mohit Sharma, Varun Chakravarthy
Squad: Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, T Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Shreevats Goswami (wk), Khaleel Ahmed, Yusuf Pathan, Billy Stanlake, David Warner, Kane Williamson, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Shakib Al Hasan, Abhishek Sharma, Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem
Playing XI (probable): Sreevats Goswami, David Warner*, Kane Williamson*, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda/Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan*, Vijay Shankar/Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan*, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed
The best bowling team of IPL 2018 sold Shikhar Dhawan to Delhi Capitals (formerly Daredevils) in exchange for three players - Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma and Shahbaz Nadeem - during the trade window. Although it seems like a good trade on paper, it would be interesting to see how these three players actually make their way into the playing XI. The bowling unit looks well-balanced, but the challenge would be to find a replacement for Dhawan and a domestic wicketkeeper to stand by for Goswami. With Warner, still finding his way in to international cricket and not available likely for 4 weeks, Sunrisers could benefit by picking an overseas wicketkeeper who can bat at the top of the order to keep the successful combination intact.
What they need: Indian wicketkeeper, overseas opener (back-up for Warner), wicketkeeper-batsman, an overseas quick as back-up for the injury-prone Billy Stanlake
Potential targets: Wriddhiman Saha, Nicholas Pooran, Heinrich Klaasen or Luke Ronchi (wicketkeeper-batsmen), Lockie Ferguson, Lasith Malinga, Oshane Thomas, Dale Steyn or Ali Khan (fast bowlers)
Kolkata Knight Riders
Squad: Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Chris Lynn, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti
Playing XI (probable): Chris Lynn*, Sunil Narine*, Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell*, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi/ Prasidh Krishna/ Kamlesh Nagarkoti, an overseas fast bowler
Kolkata Knight Riders lost a number of players to injury last season. Finishing third on the table,few of their wins depended on the performances of the three foreign players - Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn and Andre Russell. This time, keeping players' availability in mind, they would want sufficient back-ups for overseas slots across skillsets.
What they need: Back-up overseas options (all slots)
Potential targets: Colin Ingram, Corey Anderson, Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Joe Denly, Jonny Bairstow, Ali Khan, Lockie Ferguson, Oshane Thomas, Dale Steyn, Lasith Malinga, Sam Curran, Mohammed Shami
Squad: Ajinkya Rahane, K Gowtham, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal, Aryaman Birla, S Midhun, Prashant Chopra, Stuart Binny, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes, Steven Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ish Sodhi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Mahipal Lomror
Playing XI (probable): Ajinkya Rahane, Jos Buttler*, Sanju Samson, Steven Smith*, Rahul Tripathi, Ben Stokes*, K Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer*, Dhawal Kulkarni, Indian spinner/fast bowler
A number of tactical errors hurt them last season, but Rajasthan Royals managed to make the playoffs. One of the biggest challenges that awaits Royals is the availability of their players. The core of their team is built around Steven Smith, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes, who may not be available for almost two to four weeks (if Archer makes the England World Cup squad). With overseas talent available in the auction pool, Royals have their task cut out and would hope to unearth a few Moneyball picks.
What they need: Like-for-like back-ups for Smith, Buttler and Stokes, an Indian fast bowler to fill Unadkat's spot (if they are not buying him back at a lower price), an extra spinner
Target players: Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Luke Ronchi, Colin Ingram (top-order batsman slot), Corey Anderson, Sam Curran, James Faulkner, James Neesham (back-up allrounders). Unadkat, Mohit Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Atish Seth (bowling options)