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Time for Mumbai to let Pollard go? Do Sunrisers hold on to Williamson?

And what about Mayank Agarwal, Jason Holder and Devdutt Padikkal - will they be retained?

Nagraj Gollapudi
Is it the end of the road for Kieron Pollard at Mumbai Indians?  •  BCCI/IPL

Is it the end of the road for Kieron Pollard at Mumbai Indians?  •  BCCI/IPL

Tuesday is the deadline for IPL franchises to finalise the list of players they want to retain and release ahead of the next auction. The IPL will then finalise the pool of players who will go under the hammer at the mini auction, set for December 23. ESPNcricinfo looks at a set of key players whom franchises will be deliberating hard on - should he stay, or should he go?

Kieron Pollard

Team: Mumbai Indians
Current price tag: INR 6 crore (USD 800,000 approx.*)
IPL 2022 stats: 11 games, runs 144 at 14.40 with a strike rate of 107.46, four wickets at 31.25 with an economy rate of 8.92

He is a T20 legend. He has the immense experience of 600-plus T20 matches. He has won five IPL titles with Mumbai Indians, who bought him in 2009 and have retained him ever since. But Mumbai would be lying if they said the question of releasing Kieron Pollard this year has not crossed their mind. Since he retired from international cricket in April, Pollard, who is 35, has had a knee operation followed by a weak CPL, where he led Trinbago Knight Riders who failed to make it to the tournament's knockouts for the first time. But it was a weak IPL 2022, where he sat out the last three matches and Mumbai endured their worst season, finishing bottom of the table, that would have set the franchise thinking. In Dewald Brevis, Tim David and Tristan Stubbs, Mumbai have young powerhitting options in their squad, ready to take over the baton from Pollard. But will Mumbai dare to cut the deep emotional bond with him? Or will they retain him in the belief that he can reinvent himself?

Kane Williamson

Team: Sunrisers Hyderabad
Current price tag: INR 14 crore (USD 1.8m approx.*)
IPL 2022 stats: 13 games, 216 runs at 19.63 with a strike rate of 93.50

Last year Sunrisers Hyderabad faced a lot of criticism when they retained Kane Williamson as their first pick - meaning he got the biggest price tag - while letting go of serial match-winner Rashid Khan, their best bowler since he joined the franchise in 2017. The Sunrisers management was clear about the logic: they wanted Williamson to lead the franchise after the bitter fallout with David Warner, he was seen the most capable hand to take over. But a nagging elbow injury has affected Williamson's batting and possibly had a knock-on effect on his leadership too. From the start of IPL 2021 till date, Williamson has scored 1080 runs at 32.72, with a strike rate of 110.88, across 42 T20s. While New Zealand reached the semi-finals of the recent Men's T20 World Cup, Williamson's diminished ability to construct impactful innings remained a big talking point. The possibility of letting him go and buying him back cheaper at the auction is an option Sunrisers will mull. That will significantly swell their purse, which currently is INR 5.10 crore (0.10 crore left over from the last auction, plus this auction's purse of INR 5 crore) and allow them to be more of a force at the auction.

Pat Cummins

Team: Kolkata Knight Riders
Current price tag: INR 7.25 crore (USD 966,000 approx.*)
IPL 2022 stats: Five games, seven wickets at 30.28 with an economy rate of 10.68, 63 runs at 15.75 with a strike rate of 262.50

Last season, Cummins missed KKR's first three games but on arrival, he hit the joint-fastest fifty in the history of the tournament, off 14 deliveries against Mumbai. Knight Riders, it seemed, had made the right move to acquire Cummins in 2020, but then his main skill - bowling - failed, with his economy rate jumping past 10. However, Cummins will not play* IPL 2023, he announced on Monday, because it is sandwiched between Australia's four-Test India tour and the five-match Ashes, which starts mid-June. Besides, having acquired New Zealand fast man Lockie Ferguson from Gujarat Titans via a trade, Knight Riders might think they have an able replacement on the team sheet.

Mayank Agarwal

Team: Punjab Kings
Current price tag: INR 12 crore (USD 1.6m approx.*)
IPL 2022 stats: 13 matches, 196 runs at 16.33 with a strike rate of 122.50

The big question confronting Punjab Kings is whether to release Mayank Agarwal, who led them last year, and then buy him back cheaper. Agarwal was one of the two players Kings had retained before the auction last year, but the pressure of captaincy seemed to eat into Agarwal's batting form, his stats falling away from the the three previous seasons, when Agarwal played 47 matches for 1317 runs at 29.26 with a strike rate of 144.24, including a century and eight fifties. Kings have appointed Shikhar Dhawan as their new captain for the upcoming season.

Devdutt Padikkal

Team: Rajasthan Royals
Current price tag: INR 7.75 crore (USD 1m approx.*)
IPL 2022 stats: 17 games, 376 runs at 22.11 with a strike rate of 122.87

Devdutt Padikkal courted attention with his attractive strokeplay when he made his IPL debut in 2020 at Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he played as an opener. At the 2022 mega auction, Rajasthan Royals bought him, having seen off rival bids from Royal Challengers, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai, but then shuffled him around the top order, from Nos. 1 to 4. While he primarily played the No. 4 role, another young Indian left-hander, Yashasvi Jaiswal, known for his fearless approach to batting, largely opened with Jos Buttler. Contrary to Jaiswal's reputation, questions over strike rate have swirled around Padikkal ever since his Royal Challengers days, and it might have an impact on his future at Royals. In IPL 2022, both his strike rate and average were his lowest in the three seasons he's had at the IPL.

Jason Holder

Team: Lucknow Super Giants
Current price tag: INR 8.75 crore (USD 1.16m approx.*)
IPL 2022 stats: 12 games, 14 wickets at 27.92 with an economy rate of 9.42, 58 runs at 9.66 with a strike rate of 131.81

Gautam Gambhir thumped Lucknow Super Giants' table at last year's auction to signal his happiness at securing the services of West Indies allrounder. Super Kings, Mumbai and Royals were all keen to get Holder, but Super Giants stayed resolute. But Holder was not at his best with bat or ball in IPL 2022, and there are two other reasons for Super Giants to consider letting him go. One, they were the only franchise last auction to burn their entire purse of 90 crore, meaning they could enter this auction with a purse disadvantage unless they let some people go. Also, their owner Sanjiv Goenka is a big fan of England Test captain and allrounder Ben Stokes, whom he had brought in for what was a record sum in 2017 at the now defunct Rising Pune Supergiant. Stokes played a key hand in RPSG making the 2017 final, and he currently does not have an IPL franchise - he pulled out of the auction last year. Could Super Giants consider releasing Holder to be in a position to afford big names like Stokes, should they become available?
* The story was updated after Cummins announced he will not feature in IPL 2023
Dollar figures as per the exchange rate at the time of the previous IPL auction.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo