MUMBAI // A dozen players, including Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne, were retained on Thursday by their respective franchises ahead of next month's Indian Premier League auction.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Virender Sehwag, Kieron Pollard and Shane Watson were also among the retainees on the last day that the founding eight franchises can decide on keeping players who represented them in the first three seasons of the domestic Twenty20 tournament.
Each of the eight franchises can retain up to four players, only three of them Indian, ahead of the player auction on January 8 and 9 with a total budget cap of US$9 million (Dh33m). Royal Challengers Bangalore, however, opted to retain only young upstart Virat Kohli leaving out Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid. Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata Knight Riders), Yuvraj Singh (Kings XI Punjab), Zaheer Khan (Mumbai Indians) and Delhi Daredevils captain and man-in-form Gautam Gambhir will go under the hammer.
The defending champion Chennai Super Kings retained Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Murali Vijay and South African all-rounder Albie Morkel, while the Mumbai Indians have reserved Tendulkar, Pollard, Harbhajan Singh and Lasith Malinga.
The Daredevils retained Sehwag while Warne and Watson, both Australians, were the only two to be retained by the former champion Rajasthan Royals.
By retaining four players, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings are each left with only $4.5 million to spend either in the player auction or in buying Ranji Trophy players outside the auction.
Rajasthan Royals will have $5.9 million available to spend, while Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore will each have a balance of $7.2 million available. The remaining franchises have the full quota available.
"The first stage of the process for confirming the playing squads for 2011 has gone off well," IPL chairman Chirayu Amin said in a statement. "It is heartening to see that a majority of the founding franchises have chosen to retain players."
The two new franchises - Team Kochi and Pune - will now have the option of signing up to four overseas players who have not previously played in the IPL. The player auction will follow after they sign their players. The auction will feature the remaining top Indian and overseas players.
Courts maintain status quo on Rajasthan and Punjab
The courts, in two different orders, have instructed the Indian cricket board to suspend the termination orders given to the Royals and Kings XI teams thus ensuring there will be 10 teams in the IPL's fourth season for now.
The orders have been reserved but the preserved status quo means both teams will be able to participate in the upcoming auction. "I haven't seen the order, because the High Court will share the order only tomorrow evening (Thursday). We will look into it and contemplate the next move," the board president, Shashank Manohar, told the newspaper Mid-day on Wednesday.
"We maintain that we will stand by the decision of the High Court. Whatever it decides, we will abide by it. If that means we have to have an IPL with 10 teams, so be it," Manohar added. The board claims that the shareholding patterns of the owners and their companies have been misrepresented.
The judge dealing into the Royals case observed that "prima facie, it seems the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was aware of the Royals' shareholding pattern since the inception of the IPL."
The decision on Royals is expected later today.
However, the clearance to the Punjab team has come with certain riders. The team owes the board certain dues which it will have to clear first. They will also have to deposit a bank guarantee of $18million to protect the interests of the players and also ensure that the current shareholding pattern does not change.
The BCCI can appeal the decision and also could postpone the auction in case they opt for more clarity before going ahead.