IPL 4 – Mega Auction – Round 1

IPL 4 Mega Auction  First Round was held on 8th January 2011 at Bangalore.

Post the first round here are the core of all the squads.

Bangalore Royal Challengers
Retained –  Virat Kohli
Round 1 – Cheteshwar Pujara Dirk Nannes Zaheer Khan Saurabh Tiwary  Daniel Vettori AB De Villiers Tillakaratne Dilshan

Chennai Superkings
Retained – M S Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay, Albie Morkel
Round 1 – Michael Hussey Doug Bollinger Wriddhiman Saha Ravichandran Ashwin Subramaniam Badrinath Dwayne Bravo

Deccan Chargers
Round 1 – Cameron White Kevin Pietersen Shikhar Dhawan Ishant Sharma Pragyan Ojha Amit Mishra JP Duminy Dale Steyn Kumar Sangakkara

Delhi Daredevils
Retained  –  Virendra Sehwag
Round 1 – James Hopes David Warner Aaron Finch Irfan Pathan Naman Ojha Morne Morkel

Kings XI Punjab
Round 1 – Adam Gilchrist Shaun Marsh David Hussey Ryan Harris Stuart Broad Dinesh Karthik Abhishek Nayar Praveen Kumar Piyush Chawla

Kochi Team
Round 1 – Steven Smith Brad Hodge VVS Laxman Rudra Pratap Singh S Sreesanth  Ravindra Jadeja Parthiv Patel Ramesh Powar Brendon McCullum Mahela Jayawardene Muttiah Muralitharan

Kolkata Knightriders
Round 1 – Brad  Haddin Brett Lee Shakib Al Hasan Eoin Morgan Yusuf Pathan Gautam Gambhir Manoj Tiwary Jacques Kallis

Mumbai Indians
Retained – Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga, Keiron Pollard
Round 1 – Andrew Symonds Rohit Sharma James Franklin David Johan Jacobs

Pune Sahara Warriors
Round 1 – Tim Paine Callum Ferguson Yuvraj Singh Robin Uthappa Ashish Nehra Nathan  McCullum Graeme Smith Angelo Mathews

Rajasthan Royals
Retained – Shane Warne, Shane Watson
Round 1 – Paul Collingwood Rahul Dravid Ross Taylor Johan Botha

2nd Round of auction will be held on 9th January 2011.

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IPL4 – Format & Auctions

Finally, After all the long litigations and hours of meetings it almost seems final that IPL 4 would have 10 teams and 74 matches. There would 2 groups of 5 each which would play matches on Home and Away basis thus producing 40 matches. The next round will have top 6 teams playing against each other in home- away basis and thus producing another 30 matches. 2 semi finals, 1 3rd place match and the mega final would make it 74 matches over a period of 6 weeks.

The players auction has been finalized for 8th and 9th January 2011. There are 416 players available for the first round of auction. This list includes heavyweights like Rahul Dravid, YuvRaj Singh, Zaheer Khan from India and International stars like Brian Lara, Micheal Hussey and Kevin Peterson.  Out of these the list will be pruned down to a more reasonable number by December 24,2010 based on the interests shown by the 10 franchises. The base prices for the players are fixed but that is of course not indicative of the actual prices. Notable absentees in the list are Ricky Ponting, Mitchell Johnson and Micheal Clarke who have resisted IPL’s money in favor of longer International career. Pakistani players are also not part of the list.

12 players have been retained by various franchises. Mumbai Indians have retained Sachin, Harbhajan Singh, Malinga and Pollard while Chennai have put faith in Dhoni, Raina, Vijay and Albie Morkel. Delhi have retained Sehwag while Bangalore are happy with Virat Kohli. Rajasthan have retained Shane Warne and Shane Watson. The other 3 teams namely Deccan, Knightriders and Kings XI Punjab and the 2 new teams of Pune and Kochi go with empty roster in the auction and the full 9 Million $ to spend.

Apart from the auctions the team will be entitled to sign the Indian domestic players which will make the backbone of any team. BCCI is yet to decide upon the final date from which this signing can happen.

The auctions would surely be as keenly followed as the actual IPL Matches.

IPL 4 – Status Update

IPL 4 is set to be played 6 days after the conclusion of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011. The tournament is now about 4 months away, however due to the various controversies neither the no. of teams, the players, no. of matches, format anything is known to the public and not even to the players and team owners. It was supposed to be a 10 Team event when 2 new teams Pune and Kochi were added last year in much publicized team auction.

Later due to the ownership issues and various non-cricketing reasons Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab were suspended from the IPL and the Kochi team was always on the brink of suspension due to its various ownership issues. At one stage it looked there would be just 7 teams and an eighth team would be added after a fresh round of auction. However as things stand today Kochi is back in the fold and so is Rajasthan Royals based on the court order. Punjab team is likely to be there as well as their case is similar to the Royals. Thus it would be a 10 team affair.

Player auction which was supposed to be held in November had been postponed to January and now it seems may further gets postponed to March, i.e. during the ICC World Cup. As the BCCI is yet to clear off the court cases.

No one is sure about the format, the no. of matches either and would a round robin home-away format will be followed or a changed format of 2 groups would be followed is yet to be decided. The teams are not sure about the exact playing dates as well. The Player retention rules are even more controversial with teams having a choice of up to 4 players to retain from their existing team, but then they lose half their auction limit of 9 Million $. It seems not all teams are in favor of retention however Mumbai Indians and Chennai Superkings are quite keen on it.

As of now it seems Mumbai have decided to retain Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Lasith Malinga  and either of Keiron Pollard and J P Duminy. Chennai have decided to retain Dhoni, Raina, Murali Vijay and Albie Morkel while Bangalore are keen only on Virat Kohli and Kolkata are keen only on Chris Gayle and not even their very own Ganguly. Delhi are sure to keep Sehwag with them and possibly Ashish Nehra, Dirk Nannes and maybe Gautam Gambhir too. Rajasthan have opted for Shane Warne, Watson and possibly Yusuf Pathan. Deccan Chargers have decided not to retain anybody while Kings XI Punjab are still awaiting for court ruling to decide anything. There are clearly no takers for veteran players such as Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Kumble and so on. The teams also do not have a fixed strategy and things are quite muddled at the moment.

Unless and until clarity comes from the court regarding status of various teams and BCCI decided upon the format of the game and auction dates and rules nothing can be sure.

Although one thing is sure, BCCI is hell bent on hosting the IPL 4 by hook or crook.

Champions League T20 – 2nd Edition

2nd Edition of Champions League of T20 cricket begin in South Africa on 10th Sept- 2010.

The First edition was played in India in 2009 October. The first edition had 12 teams. This one has 10 teams owing to the fact that 2 English teams are not participating this year due to clash of the schedule with their domestic commitments.

10 Teams meaning there are 2 groups of 5 each, with each team playing their group members once. Thus resulting in 20 games followed by 2 semi finals and final. 23 Games in the period of 16 days or so. The matches would be played across South Africa under lights in the evening period which is a prime television time for the subcontinent viewers.

The 3 IPL teams qualified are the 2010 Champions Chennai Superkings, runner up Mumbai Indians and 3rd placed Banagalore Royal Challengers. Winners of the first edition of Champions were New South Wales from Australia who defeated Trnidad and Tobago from West Indies in the finals. Sadly both these teams have not qualified for the Champions League this year. Infact such is the unpredictability of T20 cricket that only 2 teams Royal Challengers Bangalore and Wayamba from Sri Lanka were present in the previous edition.

Looking at the draws, the teams, the schedule, the South African conditions with early season pitches and the nature of T20 cricket it would be very difficult to predict anything. My support is of course for all 3 Indian teams and especially Mumbai Indians with Sachin Tendulkar leading it.

Lets see how it goes !

IPL could have a 6- way Tie

IPL is reaching a very crucial and interesting state now and with just 2 or 3 games left each team it could be “anybody’s game” as Ravi Shastri would put it.

Mumbai Indians is the only sure shot entry to the semi finals with 16 points and other teams following closely behind. RR- RCB-DD are tied on 12 points and CSK-DC-KKR are tied on 10 points with KXIP occupying the last spot with 8 points.

Considering the schedule of the remaining matches, there could be a 5 way or even 6 way  tie for the remaining 3 semi final spots. The results have to follow a particular pattern which is of course not guarantee to happen however the scenario cannot be ruled out either. Here’s how it can happen

Match Between –  Place –  Result –  2 Points to

DC * RCB – Nagpur- DC Winning – DC goes to 12 points
MI *  DD – Mumbai – MI Winning – MI goes to 18 points
CSK * KKR – Chennai – CSK winning -CSK goes to 12 points
RR * RCB – Jaipur – RR winning –  RR goes to 14 points
CSJ * DD – Chennai – CSK winning – CSK goes to 14 points
KXIP * DC – Dharamsala – DC winning – DC goes to 14 points
RCB * MI – Bangalore – RCB winning RCB goes to  14 points
KKR * RR – Kolkata – KKR winning – KKR goes to 12 points
KXIP * CSK – Dharamsala – KXIP winning- KXIP goes to 10 points
DD * DC – Delhi –  DD winning – DD goes to 14 points
KKR * MI – Kolkata – KKR winning – KKR goes to 14 points

This would result in MI occupying top spot with 18 points and KXIP bottom with 10 points and 6 other teams tied with 14 points.
THIS CAN HAPPEN. Net Run rate becomes very crucial and no one can say which 3 team would qualify, not even Ravi Shastri with his deep insight and Lalit Modi with his deep pockets.

IPL – Midseason Review

Now that IPL 3.0 is more than half way through and is entering its most important phase, the race for semi final spot hots up. Few teams have leap-frogged over others and some have fallen behind badly.

To begin with Mumbai Indians led by the maestro Sachin Tendulkar is leading from the front and is as good as qualified for one of the semi final spots unless some real bad catastrophical mathematical combination occurs. Delhi Daredevils and Bangalore Royal Challengers look to grab the 2 spots in semi final. The battle for the 4th spot is tough and is a close call between Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Superkings and surprise surprise Kolkata Knightriders.

The other 2 teams Kings XI Punjab and Deccan Chargers though still have a theoretical chance of qualifying , but I assume their IPL battle is over for the year and they have another race to fight, to avoid the bottom place.

So my earlier prediction made before the start of IPL, of semi final spots almost seems to be correct. MI, DD, RCB and CSK or RR would make it and KKR I dont think will.

IPL 3 – First Impressions of Teams

Now that I have seen at least one match of each of the 8 teams, I think now is a good time to mention my first impressions of the teams.

To start with –  Mumbai Indians –  It looked like grandfather Sachin and Sanath playing with their grandkids, atleast when the team was announced. With their combined age 77 it did seem that way. The team looked lacking middle order strength BUT they proved me wrong and the new recruits seems like a good choice. Aditya Tare, Saurabh Tiwary, Sathish and Ambati Rayadu look well in their part and they won the match despite Seniors not doing much, Harbhajan injured and Yusuf Pathan blitzkrieg.  Perhaps Lucky to win that day, but if they continue to play that way a spot in the semis is there for the taking.

A team you love it or hate it but cant ignore it ,  Kolkata Knightriders. Surprise ! Surprise !  The team is playing as a ‘team’ and have left behind their past 2 nightmarish seasons, at least it looks so far. Ganguly is leading them from the front and his fielding and batting maybe a bit rusty but his captaincy is as sharp as it was during his peak. Angelo Matthews has to be the most underrated ( and cheap) all rounder just like most Lankan players are. Brad Hodge is playing well and Laxmi Ratan Shukla seems to have a got a second wind. The team should continue to do well especially in home games with massive Eden Garden support behind them and half of Bollywood cheering for them. With superstar overseas players like Hussey, Bond , Mccullum and Gayle yet to arrive , things can only be better. Perhaps a semifinal spot for them.

Rajasthan Royals was the team of 10 players and Shae Warne in the first edition, now its perhaps 10 players and Yusuf Pathan. The man is in peak of his form and can do no wrong. Breaking several domestic records in last 2 months he continues to pummel the opposition bowlers with his huge sixes and massive drives. Royals were unlucky not to win their first match. However apart from Pathan other team members looked bit out of touch. Warne didnt turn the ball much and none of the other bowlers were impressive. Although its mindless to predict based on just 1 game but I think Royals might just miss out on the Semis spot this year.

Another team that looked rusty was Chennai Superkings. Even with massive crowd support behind them, they couldnt muster up a decent fight to the Chargers. Their bowling looks weak and even Muralidharan seems  struggling. They are also missing Flintoff and Oram and they seem to rely too much on Dhoni and Hayden at the top. Someone like Suresh Raina, Badrinath etc. have to stand and deliver. They have to improve and improve real soon.

Deccan Chargers rolled over the superkings succesfully after suffering unexpected loss against Knightriders. They seem to have the right team combination with Gilchrist and Gibbs at the top, Symonds and Rohit Sharma in the middle. Their bowling also looks decent with R P Singh, Vaas and Prgyan Ojha. Their slightly weaker link is I think VVS Laxman. Laxman is the most elegant player when its comes to batting in a test match, however in this format of the game he looks out of place especially when he is opening the innings along with fluent Gilchrist. Perhaps they need to make him bat at 4 or 5, although I cant see him slogging in the final 5 overs either. Maybe drop Laxman altogether.

Bangalore Royal Challengers looks a great team when you have experience of Kaalis, Dravid, Kumble to combine with young brigade like Manish Pandey , Robin Utthappa and Virat Kohli and with Dale Steyn leading the bowling attack you have one of the best balanced team. However they were simply outclassed in the first match by KKR. Perhaps they would soon get their act together and be a team they were last year.

Kings XI Punjab to me looks the weakest team of the tournament. Somehow the middle order of Mahela, Yuvraj and Sangakkara looks too sedate and their bowling minus Brett Lee lacks serious firepower. Irfant Pathan needs a speedy dose of aggression from his brother Yusuf Pathan. Ramesh Power and Piyush Chawala looked clueless on slow pitch. They need Brett Lee to be back , mercurial Sreesanth to be consistent and maybe someone more aggrasive like Shaun Marsh at top of order should be good. Whats Mohhamad Kaif doing in the team?

Finally, the team to beat, Delhi Daredevils with the strongest batting lineup of this IPL, they would be the team every other team would be afraid of. On their day any of Sehwag, Gambhir, Warner, Dilshan and AB Deviliers can blast any bowling attack out of the ground. They have a wonderful bowling attack as well with Dirk Nannes in top form and Amit Mishra with a new found confidence. A semifinal spot is almost a guaranteed if they continue to play like they do and they can. Who knows maybe even the championship !

IPL 3.0 Predictions

IPL 3.0 begins today. 60 matches and 6 weeks, long way to go. 8 Teams, each almost as good as another and T-20 is as unpredictable as it gets. But I am being brave and predicting the 4 semifinalists. I could turn out to be a total gool or a wizard, but here are my predictions.

Bangalore Royal Challengers, Delhi Daredevils , Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will be the 4 semifinalists.

Only the time will tell. Let the games begin.