Having completed 10 years, the IPL has come full circle. Like human relationships, the relation between leagues and their fans also gets bland over time. In an attempt to spice things up, the idea of player retention and Right-to-Match (RTM) cards was brought up.
As per the retention rules, there is an upper limit of five players that a team can retain, including RTM card options. Those five players had to be a combination of three capped Indian players, two uncapped Indian players, and two overseas players. As a result, the franchises came up with different strategies in order to get maximum value for their money.
Here are the five most deserving players for whom the RTM card was used.
Since Shikhar Dhawan started playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad, he has become a much improved T20 player. He has scored at an average of more than 35 in the last two seasons. He may have been dropped from the Indian Test side, but when it comes to limited-overs cricket, make no mistake, he is still a star performer.
As an opener, he, along with David Warner, has been instrumental in SRH’s success. The duo complements each other very well. If one is hitting the ball cleanly, the other takes a back seat and vice versa. As a result, RTM was used for Dhawan by Sunrisers Hyderabad for ₹5.2 crore.
India has been a happy hunting ground for Rabada. After making his Test debut against India at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, young Rabada has never looked back. Rabada’s curtailed stint in the previous season produced mixed results. He picked up 6 wickets in as many matches for Delhi Daredevils.
However, the team realizes his potential as a tearaway pacer. KG also has a lethal yorker in his armory which can beat the defense of any batsman in the world. He was picked via RTM by his current side Delhi Daredevils for ₹4.2 crore.
As we saw in the recently concluded Test series between India and South Africa, Ajinkya Rahane is one of the most underrated Indian cricketers. If you look at his performance in last year’s IPL, you would say that it was a disastrous season for him. But when you go through the stats, you see that even when he was not in the best of form, he had an average close to 35.
In IPL 2018, Rahane goes back to Rajasthan Royals (RR), where he had made his mark in his younger days. The best thing about the gritty batsman is that he has a calm head on his shoulders. Steve Smith will lead the RR side but in his absence, Rahane can be an extremely dependent backup captain. RR used their right-to-match card to bag the Indian Test vice-captain for ₹4 crore.
Currently, Yuzvendra Chahal is India’s first choice spinner in ODIs. He belongs to the limited breed of cricketers who have kept the art of leg spin alive. He performed consistently for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in the past IPL seasons. In the process, he became Virat Kohli’s go-to guy which earned him his maiden ODI call-up.
Chahal is not afraid of buying wickets by tossing the ball up. He has also learned the art of bowling with the new ball and in the death overs as well. His best part is that he looks to take wickets and thus breaks the back of the opposition batting line-up. He was picked by RCB through their RTM card for ₹6 crore.
There are very few uncapped players who have earned such high repute as Krunal Pandya. Like his brother Hardik, Krunal is also an all-rounder who can clear the fence at will. The elder Pandya bats left-handed and bowls left-arm orthodox.
He was picked up by Mumbai Indians (MI) in the 2016 edition of the IPL for ₹2 crore. This was an unprecedented amount for an uncapped Indian player. However, Krunal proved his worth by his performances in that season and in the following one as well. On expected lines, MI used their right-to-match card to retain Krunal for ₹8.8 crore.