The players have been bought, the line up is ready and the countdown has begun to see which team clicks.
The Indian Premier League Season 4 kick-started with player auction that included two new teams: Team Kochi and Pune Warriors. Here is a brief analysis of who's playing for which team in 2011.
Retained their skipper, the iconic Tendulkar, and Harbhajan, Pollard and Malinga ahead of the auctions. Though I felt Rohit Sharma at $2 million was an expensive buy, they had a good deal picking up medium-pacer Munaf Patel ($0.7 million) and South African Davy Jacobs ($0.19 million).
But I feel they are going to miss Zaheer Khan who, along with Malinga, made a dream combo last year. With Symonds in, watch out for fireworks from the Symo-Bhajji duo.
Looks pretty ordinary without Gambhir, Vettori and Dinesh Kaarthik. However they have retained the explosive Virender Sehwag. Naman Ojha, James Hopes , Warner and Colin Ingram should strengthen the batting line-up.
Irfan Pathan at $1.9 million is an expensive deal especially since he has been discarded from the national team. Good bowlers? Agarkar, Morne Morkel, and Travis Birt could be of some help!
A decent batting line-up with Pietersen, White, Sangakkara and Duminy. Pace bowling is helmed by Steyn, Ishant and Theron while Pragyan and Mishra make the spinning side. Has anybody heard of Daniel Christian? He has played just three international T20 games. Time will show whether he's worth that $ 1million.
Kings XI Punjab
A lacklustre performance at the auctions. They didn't pursue top players except Adam Gilchrist. Gilchrist and David Hussey make a good bat while Dinesh Kaarthik and Abhishek Nayar play second fiddle. The bowling department looks pathetic with a lone seamer, but Rimmington and Mascarenhas will partner Praveen Kumar. The spin department lacks experience with just Piyush Chawla and Ryan Harris.
Decided to retain spin wizard Shane Warne and his Australian counterpart Shane Watson. While Ross Taylor and Johan Botha were picked for $1 million and $0.95 million respectively, Rahul Dravid and Collingwood were bought cheaply at $0.5 million and $0.25 million. For now, the bowling department has Warne, Tait and Watson.
Kolkata Knight Riders
An all-new squad should counter previous debacles. They roped in Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan at $2.4 million and $2.1 million respectively. They have also bought the much experienced ex-RCB batsman Jacques Kallis. Their bowling department looks decent. They also have Bangladeshi all-rounder Shakib Al Hassan. However injury prone Brett Lee's $0.4 million offer surprises me.
Chennai Super Kings
The reigning champs had the simplest strategy: “Hang on to the winning combination”. They held on to Dhoni, Raina, Vijay and Morkel. Other players picked were Bollinger, Hussey and Ashwin. One good deal was getting Bravo at $0.2 million. Dhoni will also have Randiv as a spinning option now, after missing out on the wily Murali.
Have decent batsmen in Jayawardena, McCullum and Owais Shah though availability concerns will be an issue. Sreeshanth brings in the Kerala flavour and fan base, but a great performance? RP Singh, Vinay Kumar and Murali will make a lethal bowling attack. How good is Ravindra Jadeja's deal? Too much for a rookie, I would say.
Bangalore Royal Challengers
Some striking deals were that of Zaheer, Vettori and Nannes. A good batting line-up relies on Dilshan, De Villiers, and Pujara. Sourabh Tiwary will also come in handy at pressure situations. Their pace merchants will be Zaheer, Nannes and Langeveldt while Vettori will probably ally Dilshan. Kaif is an add-on packet. So RCB's chances look bright too.
Had a reasonably good day at the auctions. Their expensive player was Robin Uthappa for $ 2.1 million. This side has a good all-rounder combination of Yuvraj and Mathews.
Another great deal was getting Graeme Smith for $0.5 million while their best buy is Murali Karthik for $0.4 million.
It was a black Sunday when big names like Chris Gayle, Brian Lara, Jayasuriya and Sourav Ganguly found no takers.
So let's get down there to catch the action, entertainment, and a bit of gossip and controversy as well!
Praveen is a Final Year Information Technology student of Rajalakshmi Engineering College.