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IPL 2021 preparation has begun, with each team retaining and releasing players from their squad. There were a few surprises, with Rajasthan Royals releasing Australian star Steve Smith, and handing over the captaincy to Sanju Samson. Royal Challengers Bangalore to have sprung a surprise by releasing Chris Morris, who did a great job with the ball last season. But RCB insists they plan to buy back Morris in the auction.

So, what would be the strategies of each team in the 2021 IPL auction? Which players each team could target in IPL 2021 auction?

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL
RCB - Photo courtesy: IPL Facebook page

RCB has released most players among the IPL teams and hence, they have the biggest purse to buy players in the auction. They would definitely look to buy back Morris, as they would have the first right on him. Having released Aaron Finch, who had an inconsistent show last season, RCB would look to buy Smith to boost their batting department. They also have released Umesh Yadav and would look for a like-for-like replacement for him. They released all-rounders Shivam Dube and Moeen Ali but they have traded similar replacements in Daniel Sams and Harshal Patel.

Chennai Super Kings

Chennai Super Kings IPL
CSK - Photo courtesy: IPL Facebook page

CSK have once again retained their core group, and have released the bad assets in Kedar Jadhav, Murali Vijay, Piyush Chawla and Harbhajan Singh who have passed their prime. It won't be a surprise that if they go unsold in the auction.

They would also target Steve Smith as a replacement for Shane Watson, who has retired from franchise cricket. They might also target a spinner in released KXIP player Mujeeb ur Rahman or Pawan Negi, released from RCB, to boost their spin department.

Delhi Capitals

Delhi Capitals IPL
DC - Photo courtesy: IPL Facebook page

Delhi have released players who hardly did duty last season. They are covered well in all departments but would look for an extra spinner or a pacer to cover for injuries. They might target Isuru Udana, released from RCB, or Mitchell McClenaghan, released from MI, or Mujeeb ur Rahman, who has been released by Punjab. Otherwise, they would bank on young Indian talent to fill up the squad.

Kolkata Knight Riders 

Kolkata Knight Riders IPL
KKR - Photo courtesy: IPL Facebook page

Like DC, KKR too have released players who were hardly seen in action in last season. They would look to boost their batting department as it has been their trouble area last season. Smith or even Finch could be their focus in the auction.

Mumbai Indians 

Mumbai Indians IPL
MI - Photo courtesy: IPL Facebook page

Mumbai are always known to trade tactically, and release players who have outlast their peak. Hence, they have released their former star Mitchell McClenaghanwho didn't play a single match last season. It won't be a surprise if they too target Smith, but may opt-out if the bidding goes extreme. Otherwise, their batting is covered, but need a few quality back up in the bowling department. They may target a foreign bowling star, and/or invest in local talent.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Sunrisers Hyderabad IPL
SRH - Photo courtesy: IPL Facebook page

They have retained the maximum of their core players and released only the fringe players. They would go for local Indian talent who has impressed in the ongoing or the past domestic season.

Kings XI Punjab

Kings Xl Punjab IPL
KXIP - Photo courtesy: IPL Facebook page

Punjab have finally found the sense to dump Glenn Maxwell, who failed to hit a single six in 13 matches last season. Maxwell is likely to go unsold as his performance in franchise cricket leaves a lot to be desired compared to his show in international cricket. Apart from Maxwell, Punjab have released all under-performing foreign stars. They would go big on foreign cricketers namely McClenaghan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, both released by Mumbai. They might look to boost their spin department as well, and could go for an experienced spinner in Harbhajan or Piyush Chawla as they could be handy on Indian pitches.

Cover image courtesy: IPL Facebook page