MS Dhoni will hope the Rising Pune Supergiants do a super job at the IPL 2016 Player Auction, so that the India captain has the best possible team to lead for the new season of the Indian Premier League.
Dhoni was the No.1 pick in the IPL Player Draft, with the new franchise, who were one of the two replacements for the suspended CSK – Dhoni's former team – and Rajasthan Royals, also selecting R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and Faf Du Plessis.
While the draft helped the Pune franchise to pick up five world-class players, it also dented their auction purse a considerable bit, with the team only having Rs 27 crore to spend on Saturday in Bengaluru.
With a team needing somewhere between 22-25 players in their squad for a full season, the Rising Pune Supergiants have a gigantic task at hand in ensuring they get full value for money in buying players during the auction.
The tricky part will be buying the right players at the right price, in order to ensure they don't run out of money, considering quantity is just as important as quality for the new franchise.
Looking at the above five players selected in the IPL Player Draft, four of the five are batsmen (Dhoni included), which means the Rising Pune Supergiants – or RPS if you will – will need to stock up on all-rounders and bowlers during the IPL 2016 Player Auction.
Here is a look at some of the players the Rising Pune Supergiants might target during the 2016 IPL Player Auction.
Shane Watson: One of the marquee names in the marquee list, Watson showed he is far from a spent force with a ridiculous hundred against India in the 3rd T20. The Australian is one of the most consistent performers in the history of IPL cricket, and has the experience to add serious value to a team. His bowling is pretty useful as well, and RPS will do well to sign Watson. Won't be easy, though, because there is bound to be a lot of competition for the 34-year-old.
Dale Steyn: While Dhoni's safety zone is playing with spinners, he would also like to have a fast bowler to bank on, and they don't make them much better than the South African. Yes, Steyn has struggled with injuries of late, and yes, he doesn't seem as potent a bowler in the T20 format, but any team that picks Steyn is bound to feel a lot more assured as far as their bowling is concerned, and the Rising Pune Supergiants need bowlers.
Ashish Nehra: Dhoni loves the left-armer, used him to great effect in CSK, so should be an obvious pick. With Nehra getting back in the India team and bowling well in the last IPL, there will be plenty of takers, though. Another former CSK bowler the Rising Pune Supergiants might go for is Mohit Sharma.
Mustafizur Rahman: It remains to be seen if any of the IPL franchises take a punt on Bangladesh players. If they do, RPS will do well to bid for Mustafizur, who troubled the Indian batsmen, including Dhoni, last year.
Spinners: No Dhoni team is complete without quality spinners. Unfortunately, in this Player Auction, the spin options are pretty limited. There is Nathan Lyon, who is still not quite proven in this format, even if he bowled pretty well in the Big Bash League. Then there is Samuel Badree, the former CSK player, who can do a good job at the start of the innings as well.
Pragyan Ojha, with all those action problems, could be a risk, and the same can be said of the two Sri Lankan spinners Sachitra Senanayake and Ajantha Mendis. The best bet might be the Australia leg-spinner Cameron Boyce, so impressive for Australia in the T20s against India, while two more Aussies –Michael Beer and Adam Zampa – could also prove to be wise choices.
Mitchell Marsh: One of the best all-rounders in world cricket, Marsh should be targeted by the Rising Pune Supergiants, even if getting the Australian might not be that easy.