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KKR keep the faith in Kuldeep, Karthik; RCB offload Morris, Finch

How RCB, Sunrisers, Mumbai and KKR stack up ahead of the auction

Chris Morris and Isuru Udana will hunt for a new IPL franchise  •  BCCI

Chris Morris and Isuru Udana will hunt for a new IPL franchise  •  BCCI

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Main Talking Point:
Royal Challengers Bangalore have offloaded three big-ticket overseas signings: Chris Morris, Moeen Ali and Aaron Finch. Morris came with a price tag of INR 10 crores. The franchise revealed in a video after his signing that they were ready to shell out more. Now, he finds himself out after one season where he picked up 11 wickets in nine matches at a more-than-acceptable economy of 6.63, due to his history of injuries and lack of cricket since IPL 2020.
Moeen played all of three matches last season, while Shivam Dube, among their Indian players to be let go, couldn't quite make an impact down the order with the bat, and was sparingly used with the ball. The franchise has filled in the allrounders' void by securing Harshal Patel and Daniel Sams through trades from Delhi Capitals.
Harshal was one of the best seam-bowling allrounders in India's domestic circuit across formats in 2019-20 and is a much improved bowler to the one who represented the Royal Challengers from 2012-17, having increased his pace and developed the potential to become a finisher.
Meanwhile, Australia's white-ball captain Finch will be searching for a ninth IPL team after being released. Finch didn't have a great run with the bat in IPL 2020, tallying just one half-century in 12 innings, and lost his place towards the end of the group phase. His poor run for Melbourne Renegades in the BBL season - 169 runs in 11 innings without a half-century - may have not helped his cause.
What they need:
A strong Indian middle-order batsman who can tonk the ball, and one back-up seamer to strengthen a strong bowling line-up consisting of Navdeep Saini, Mohammed Siraj, Kane Richardson, Sams and Harshal.
Balance purse: INR 35.90 crore, the second biggest purse after Kings XI Punjab
What they said:
Morris did really well for us, but the thing is he had injuries. He missed a bit of cricket [during the IPL] and hasn't played since then, so there's a bit of a risk for us there [with the INR 10 crore purse]. Finch was a great addition from a leadership perspective, whether he played or not, but we decided to go a slightly different way. Josh Phillipe gives us that top order cover."
Mike Hesson, RCB's Director of Cricket
By Shashank Kishore

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Main talking point:
Fabian Allen and Billy Stanlake were the two big names released by Sunrisers Hyderabad. They also let go of Sanjay Yadav, B Sandeep and Prithvi Raj. None of the five released players got a game last season.
The fact that captain David Warner, Rashid Khan and Kane Williamson/Jonny Bairstow are automatic picks in the XI makes it difficult for other overseas players to break through. Last year, Allen was contesting with Mohammed Nabi for the allrounder's spot but once Bhuvneshwar got injured, they found the best balance with Jason Holder in the side.
Holder was drafted as an injury replacement for Mitchell Marsh, and the Sunrisers decided to retain both. They also showed faith in their young brigade, comprising Abdul Samad, Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma and Virat Singh.
Balance purse: INR 10.75 crore
What they need:
If all their players are available, the Sunrisers have most bases covered. What they are missing is an experienced, Indian middle-order batsman.
What they said:
"The thing is the Sunrisers can play only four overseas players and they would want to play five ideally. They have to make a choice between Bairstow and Kane Williamson every day. So I don't think they need any more overseas players."
Deep Dasgupta on ESPNcricinfo
By Hemant Brar

Mumbai Indians

Main talking point:
Mumbai Indians all but emptied their overseas fast-bowling contingent by releasing Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson and Mitchell McClenaghan. Earlier this month, Lasith Malinga also informed the team management about his decision to retire from franchise cricket.
Shrefane Rutherford, Prince Balwant Rai and Digvijay Deshmukh were the others with whom Mumbai parted ways.
While McClenaghan might have been let go because he doesn't fit into the franchise's long-term plans, Coulter-Nile and Pattinson's removals come as a surprise since both of them were impressive as third seamers to Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. Pattinson picked up 11 wickets from ten games at an economy of 9.04 while Coulter-Nile bagged five from seven at 7.92. Both could contribute with bat as well.
Balance purse: INR 15.35 crore
What they need:
With Bumrah, Boult and Dhawal Kulkarni being the only fast bowlers with international experience in the squad, expect Mumbai to go big on pacers, especially the overseas kind, and fast-bowling allrounders. They may also try to rope in a legspinner as back-up for Rahul Chahar.
What they said:
"Lasith Malinga has been at the core of Mumbai Indians for 12 years. We respect his decision, even though I would have liked to him to be part of our bowling attack for another five years. Malinga is an MI legend. We will miss the Wankhede chant for him."
Mumbai Indians owner Akash Ambani
By Hemant Brar

Kolkata Knight Riders

Main Talking point:
Despite two poor IPL seasons, the two-time champions have retained left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav. Dinesh Karthik, who quit as captain after seven games in IPL 2020, has been retained as well, along with Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins and the 2018 Under-19 World Cup trio of Shubman Gill, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi.
Their core squad remains untouched, and the players released - Tom Banton, Chris Green, Ali Khan, Harry Gurney, M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik and Siddhesh Lad - have never really been starters. The list of low-profile player releases, though, means that their available budget - the second-lowest among all teams - is roughly 20% of what Kings XI Punjab have.
Balance purse: INR 10.85 crore
What they need:
A capped Indian fast bowler will be high on their priority since they have none. They also need a back-up wicketkeeper for Karthik with Banton and Naik released.
What they said:
"I was enjoying the rumours that were floating around, rather than the reality. Challenging taking some calls because you're shooting in the dark about the location of IPL 2021 - India or the UAE. Our think tank felt we have a balanced squad. Over the years, we've had small squads and go into mini-auctions looking to do small fine-tuning. We don't need too many significant changes. Eoin Morgan will have a full season.
"In our set-up, we don't put players back into auctions to try and buy them back cheaper. Auction dynamics are demand-and-supply, and particularly in mini-auctions there's no logic when pricing goes. Price tag as we are concerned doesn't matter at all. First four years, Russell was at an INR 60 lac contract, so these things balance each other out. Was more a matter of squad composition and balance. We forget about the money honestly."
KKR CEO Venky Mysore
By Sreshth Shah

Where teams stand