RCB and KKR face dilemmas over captains Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir

RCB and KKR face dilemmas over captains Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir

The IPL teams have an option to retain three players at the most.

Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir
Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir and Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli. (Photo by DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) mega auction that is less than a month away, the team managements of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders are facing the dilemma of which players to retain before they head into the auction.

While teams like Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians too are spoiled with choices because of the plethora of options they have, their choices will be relatively easier because they have identified their core players over the years and know what will also cater to their fan base.

However, in the case of RCB and KKR, the woes start from the top- Virat Kohli and Gautam Gambhir. Leaving out Kohli would not be easy for the Bangalore management for the simple reason of the player’s profile. He is the India skipper, a top performer and the most sellable brand, but that could come at a cost for the franchise. Naturally, Kohli’s retention value will match his high stature.

According to the rules, if a team were to retain one or two players, the guideline price for the top player is Rs 12.5 cr. If the franchise goes for three players, the highest one player can get is Rs 15 crore. As reported by Mumbai Mirror, the word in the IPL circle is that a few top IPL players have given their price tags to their respective franchises. Whether Kohli is one of them is a matter of speculation but the star batsman may well be worthy of Rs. 25 crores in an auction.

The tricky new IPL rule states: “The deduction from salary purse in case of retention will be determined on the basis of guideline price or actual price (whichever is higher).” The whichever is higher clause was not in existence previously and Kohli was being paid Rs 15 crore and RCB had only Rs 12 crore cut from its purse.

Now, if RCB opt to retain three players – Kohli, AB de Villiers and Yuzvendra Chahal, the amount cut from the Rs 80 crore salary cap will be 33 crore. After that, it will be a herculean task to form a team of more than 20 players with that kind of account balance.

About Gambhir

On the other hand, for Gambhir is a high-achieving IPL captain with two IPL titles. However, his ability as a player could be the concern for the KKR management. He is the fourth highest scorer in the IPL with 4100 runs but it is important to note that his career strike rate of 120 is the lowest among the top scorers. Moreover, his strike rate is the lowest among the top 20 players who have scored 2000 or more runs in the IPL.

What could also work against him is his age now that he is 36. If the franchise wants to buy a player for three years, Gambir will be close to 40 by the time the three-year contract ends. The gossip in the IPL circle is that the KKR management will be looking for a younger captain. It can be argued that the same will apply for MS Dhoni if CSK does retain him, but the fact that he is their icon player is what separates Gambhir’s issue with Dhoni’s.

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