Kings XI Punjab's big purse and the return of 'Chinna Thala'

How CSK, Royals, Capitals and Kings XI stack up ahead of the auction

Harbhajan Singh and Suresh Raina hadn't played much cricket since the last IPL

Suresh Raina has the backing of the Super Kings, Harbhajan Singh not quite  •  BCCI

Chennai Super Kings

Main talking point:
Suresh Raina's retention. The 34-year old had abruptly left the IPL's bio-secure bubble in the UAE in August and had opted out of the 2020 season. He had also retired from international cricket last year, but the Super Kings' management has put faith in him once again. Having not played top-flight cricket since IPL 2019, Raina recently returned to action for Uttar Pradesh in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20s, finishing with one half-century in five outings.
Balance purse: INR 22.9 crore
What they need:
Having released Harbhajan Singh, the Super Kings don't have a specialist offspinner in their squad. Filling that hole will be on the top of the checklist at the auction next month. With Kedar Jadhav gone and MS Dhoni fading, they need a versatile middle-order batsman to take the load off Ravindra Jadeja.
What they said:
"He [Raina] is one of our best batsmen in the last ten years. He had to miss out last year but he is back now and we are happy with him."
A franchise official
By Deivarayan Muthu

Delhi Capitals

Main Talking point:
  Last season's finalists have not touched their core squad, especially the Indians. They have released the overseas players who struggled to make the first XI, including Sandeep Lamichhane, Jason Roy, Alex Carey and Keemo Paul. Fast bowler Tushar Deshpande, who blew hot and cold last season, has been released too. Shimron Hetmyer, however, has been retained as has Chris Woakes, who had pulled out of IPL 2020. The Capitals, though, have traded out two players, both allrounders, after initially retaining them. Australian Daniel Sams and Indian Harshal Patel have moved to Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Balance purse: INR 12.9018 crore
What they need:
The Capitals definitely need a wicketkeeper since Carey, their back-up when Pant was injured, has been released. An Indian gloveman will be ideal because that means the XI doesn't need multiple changes if Pant needs replacing. They also only have five overseas players in the squad, so they might get foreign back-ups for the likes of Rabada, Stoinis and Hetmyer.
By Sreshth Shah

Kings XI Punjab

Main talking point:
Letting go of two of their biggest buys in the last auction: Glenn Maxwell (INR 10.75 crore) and Sheldon Cottrell (INR 8.5 crore). Maxwell had meagre returns in IPL 2020, but his current form for Melbourne Stars in the BBL is encouraging. The Kings XI have also jettisoned the likes of Mujeeb Ur Rahman, K Gowtham and Karun Nair to significantly enhance their purse. No other franchise has a bigger purse than the Kings XI ahead of the upcoming auction.
Balance purse: INR 53.2 crore
What they said
"The plan was to keep the core of the team, and make sure the players who were part of the team last season will continue this year as well. We believe that this group along with whoever we pick at the auctions to fill those gaps will be able to turn things around for Kings XI Punjab," Anil Kumble, the head coach, was quoted as saying by the Kings XI website.
What they need:
Maxwell again? Or probably another gun middle-order finisher. An overseas bowler who can bowl at the death to back up Arshdeep Singh and Chris Jordan. With Gowtham, Mujeeb, and J Suchith all being released, they also don't have a specialist fingerspinner in their squad apart from Harpreet Brar.
By Deivarayan Muthu

Rajasthan Royals

Major talking point:
They've had captaincy troubles time and again. Two seasons ago, they replaced Ajinkya Rahane with Steven Smith midway through. Now, after finishing last in 2020, they've backed Sanju Samson to take over the leadership role, while offloading Smith, who has been a pillar of the franchise for many years. All the other players released have mostly warmed the bench over the years. They've appointed a new director of cricket in Kumar Sangakkara, who will lend plenty of experience to an already accomplished coaching set-up.
Balance purse: INR 34.85 crores
What they need:
Ben Stokes is their premier allrounder, but they'd do well to have a back-up for him in another overseas allrounder. While they've stocked their squad with three legspinners, all Indian, they'd also look to have some offspinners in their line-up for variety.
What they said:
"As the IPL has grown, the captaincy has become a year-round task, and as such strong local Indian leadership has become increasingly important. Sanju made his debut as a Royal, and it has been a joy to watch his development over the last eight years. He is the ideal person to lead the Royals into the 2021 season."
Manoj Badale , co-owner of Royals
By Shashank Kishore

Where teams stand