IPL player retention: Will Gautam Gambhir still play for Kolkata Knight Riders?

Gautam Gambhir

The player retention before the mega auction for the Indian Premier League-11 has turned out to be a mammoth task for franchisees. While for some successful franchises like Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings (returning from a two-year suspension) the focus is on retaining their core players, for teams with limited success so far, it's an opportunity to rebuild their base before the IPL's first big reshuffle takes place on January 27 and 28.

With today's 5 pm deadline to submit the final list of retained players, there are chances of strategies changing overnight. Overall, a team can retain a maximum of five players through either three retentions or three Right To Match (RTM) cards. Apart from Indian cricket's titans like Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bangalore), MS Dhoni (CSK) and Rohit Sharma (MI) who are set to be retained by their respective franchises, the teams were still mulling over their options and combinations. Till yesterday, indications were that skipper Gautam Gambhir is unlikely to be retained by the Kolkata Knight Riders. Is it worthwhile for KKR to splurge R15 crore for their No. 1 player if three players are retained or R12.5 crore if one or two are retained? Except MI and CSK, most teams may opt for either no or two retentions. "This is a golden opportunity to strengthen the team. Having a bigger purse for the auction is always an advantage" said an IPL team official.

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