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.
Squad: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Mayank Markande, Rahul Chahar, Anukul Roy, Siddhesh Lad, Aditya Tare, Evin Lewis, Kieron Pollard, Ben Cutting, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff, Quinton de Kock
Playing XI (probable): Quinton de Kock*, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Rohit Sharma, Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard/Ben Cutting*, Mitchell McClenaghan*, Jason Behrendorff*, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah
With Quinton de Kock coming into the side, Mumbai Indians have a solid top order. All they need is a fast bowler to bowl alongside their mainstay Jasprit Bumrah. Mumbai will also look to add more bowlers as there are chances of Bumrah being rested for the latter part of the tournament keeping the World Cup in mind.
What they need: Like-for-like back-ups for Bumrah, overseas batsman/all-rounder to bat in the top six
Target players: Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Varun Aaron, Atit Sheth (India quicks); Shimron Hetmyer, Nicholas Pooran, Heinrich Klassen, (overseas batsmen in the top six), Shivam Dubey and Varun Chakravarthy (bowlers)
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Squad: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Yuzvendra Chahal, Washington Sundar, Pawan Negi, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kulwant Khejroliya, Marcus Stoinis
Playing XI (probable): Virat Kohli, Parthiv Patel, AB de Villiers*, an Indian middle-order batsman, Moeen Ali*, Marcus Stoinis*, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Nathan Coulter-Nile*, Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Siraj
Royal Challengers Bangalore made an unusual trade during the window - they traded Mandeep Singh to Kings XI Punjab in exchange for Marcus Stoinis. In all likelihood, Stoinis might not be available for the latter part of the tournament. RCB's biggest strength, apart from Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, is their bowling unit. Their focus this time around would be to pick an Indian or overseas batsman who can play the role of finisher, and a back-up wicketkeeper for Parthiv Patel.
What they need: Indian and overseas middle-order batsmen, back-up wicketkeeper
Potential targets: Shivam Dubey, Manoj Tiwary, Anmolpreet Singh, (middle-order options), Naman Ojha, Sheldon Jackson, Akshdeep Nath (back-up wicketkeeper for Parthiv Patel), Angelo Mathews, Joe Denly, Colin Ingram, Shimron Hetmyer (back-up for Moeen Ali/Stoinis)
Kings XI Punjab
Squad: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Andrew Tye, Mayank Agarwal, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Karun Nair, David Miller, R Ashwin, Mandeep Singh
Playing XI (probable): KL Rahul, Chris Gayle*, Mayank Agarwal, Karun Nair, David Miller*, Mandeep Singh, R Ashwin, Andrew Tye*, Ankit Rajpoot, Mujeeb Ur Rahman*, Indian fast bowler/spinner
Despite some big wins in the first half of the 2018 season, Kings XI Punjab have decided to go for a revamp. They have retained only 10 of their full squad and have released many big names. They have the biggest purse and the maximum slots to fill. They would first look to build a full squad before going for back-ups. They are likely to dictate terms during the bidding and get the players they are targeting since they have the largest purse.
What they need: Back-up options for all positions, an Indian bowler
Potential targets Colin Ingram, Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Luke Ronchi (batting options), Shivam Dubey, Axar Patel, Varun Chakravarthy, Jaydev Unadkat, Atit Sheth (Indian bowlers).
Squad: Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Jayant Yadav, Manjot Kalra, Colin Munro, Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Shikhar Dhawan
Playing XI (probable): Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Colin Munro*, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, overseas allrounder, Chris Morris*, Kagiso Rabada/Trent Boult*, Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav/Rahul Tewatia, Avesh Khan
They haven't made the playoffs since 2012. Various auction strategies have been tried and tested over the years but those have hardly worked in their favour. But with Shikhar Dhawan's return, and overseas bowling options in Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada, Sandeep Lamichhane and Trent Boult, the rebranded Delhi Capitals would look to turn their fortunes around this time. All they have to do is pick up a good overseas allrounder/finisher along with an Indian quick and few backups.
What they need: Overseas/Indian batsman, back-up for Indian top-order batsmen, Indian fast bowler, back-up wicketkeeper for Pant
Potential targets: Shivam Dubey, Nicholas Pooran, Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Shimron Hetmyer, Manoj Tiwary, Anmolpreet Singh, (batting options), Sheldon Jackson (back-up keeper), Axar Patel (spinner), Lasith Malinga, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Shami, Atit Sheth, Mohit Sharma, Barinder Sran, Varun Aaron (fast bowlers).