Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) released 11 players in December before Indian Premier League (IPL) Auction 2017. They made a shocker of a decision a day before the auction as they sacked former Indian skipper MS Dhoni and made Australian skipper Steven Smith their leader. They had a rough first edition last year finishing on 7th spot in IPL Standings Table, just above Kings XI Punjab with 5 wins under their name.
With Dhoni sacked, it clearly means that RPS mean serious business this time around. RPS had an unfortunate first year as several players left midway due to injuries. Let’s take a look at players they might eye when auctioneer Richard Madley announces their names.
Who should RPS focus on?
In previous edition, RPS lacked an in-form fast bowler. Mitchell Johnson might be their first pick for the strike bowler berth. Australia’s former fast bowler Johnson can be the answer to RPS’ problems. Johnson had a terrific Big Bash League (BBL) 2016-17 season. His performance must have made his ex-franchise Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) scratch their heads. Johnson bowled a record-breaking spell for Perth Scorchers in BBL semi-final, his figures read 3 for 3 in 4 overs. With Smith as RPS’ skipper, he might back Johnson for their opening bowler. They might have to fight it out with Royal Challengers Banglaore as Mitchell Starc recently opted out of the tournament.
Their opening slot needs a fiery batsmen who can get them off to a flier. Ajinkya Rahane did good last year but he is not your regular destructive batsman. England’s destructive batsman, Jason Roy might be an answer to their problems. RPS have only 5 foreign players in their retained squad. That was one of the reason for big list of players released in December 2016.
In case, they do not get a good bargain for Roy, there is another player who can be a good buy for them. England opener Alex Hales has proved that he is a destructive limited overs player. Hales recently recorded England’s highest score in an inning. He leaded England batting attack in record 444 first inning total in 2016 against Pakistan.
RPS released spinner Murugan Ashwin, which means there is an opening for a spinner in the squad. India’s Kashmiri spinner Parvez Rasool can be a good pick for the spinning option. He is capable of keeping the run-rate down and has a reputation of that of a wikcet-taking bowler. RCB released him in December, RPS might bid for him on February 20.
All-rounders will be in demand
The talk of the town has been Ben Stokes. The England all-rounder would be a player every franchise will have an eye for. RPS are known for their high-bidding. It is quite possible that Stokes might end up with RPS by the end of the IPL Auction 2017.
Corey Anderson and Colin Munro were released by Mumbai Indians (MI) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) respectively. Both the players can perform equally with bat and ball. However, Anderson will attract a lot of buyers because of his consistency.
What did they do wrong?
They released 11 players in order to extend the limit of their purpose for IPL Auction 2017. They released Ishant Sharma who bowled in only four matches. He has been in decent form lately which might make RPS regret their decision. T20 is heavily dominated by all-rounders. They released Albie Morkel who did not get many chances last year. Same goes for Irfan Pathan as well who was heavily underused. Pathan being an Indian player would have provided more stability to the team.
Money in the bank:
Rising Pune Supergiants have 19.1 crores in their purse going into the IPL Player Auction 2017.
MS Dhoni, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Steven Smith, Faf Du Plessis, Mitchell Marsh, Ashoke Dinda, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Ankit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Adam Zampa, Jaskaran Singh, Baba Aprajith, Deepak Chahar, Usman Khawaja
Kevin Pietersen, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan, Thisara Perera, RP Singh, Scott Boland, Murugan Ashwin, Peter Handscomb, Saurabh Tiwary, Albie Morkel, George Bailey