The IPL 2021 player auction is scheduled to be held on 18th of February 2021 right after the 2nd test of India vs England finishes off in Chennai on the 17th of February.
February 2021 will be a busy month for Team India and BCCI as the 1st test against England begins on 5th February in Chennai and the Second Test starts again in Chennai on the 13th of February. The date of 18th February presents the only day long window for IPL organizers to conduct the IPL players auction of 2021.
It is still not yet certain whether the IPL 2021 would be held in India or not due to the Covid19 pandemic. The three member IPL Governing council which is headed by Brijesh Patel discussed this matter in the IPL Governing Council meeting held early this year and it was decided to keep the options open, as due to Covid19 pandemic, the complete IPL 2020 season was held in UAE and it was a grand success thus the option to host IPL 2021 in UAE again is still very much in the open and could also be a possibility.
Another issue for the IPL Governing Council was a challenge of hosting the matches on home and away basis which means a minimum of 8 venues to be shortlisted which is a big challenge for the IPL Governing Council due to Covid19.
The unique aspect of the IPL 2021 auction in February will be the first in IPL history in which all the IPL teams do not have additional funds, This was one of the important reasons why many franchisees had to release some key important foreign and Indian players. The biggest release was undoubtedly Steven Smith who captained Rajasthan Royals in the 2020 IPL season but was released and so was his team mate Glenn Maxwell who was released by the Kings 11 Punjab management.
Other notable releases were Kedhar Jadhav from Chennai SuperKings, Chris Morris and Umesh Yadav from Royal Challengers Bangalore, Jason Roy from Delhi Capitals and Tom Banton from Kolkata Knight Riders and finally Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson who were released by Mumbai Indians.
IPL Teams are allowed to keep 25 players on their team rosters. Sunrisers Hyderabad are currently the most complete squad with only 3 slots open for new players followed by Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals with 8 slots, Kings 11 Punjab have 9 slots open and Royal Challengers Bangalore has 13 slots open.
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It will be interesting to see if IPL 2021 will see a new Champion as Mumbai Indians have dominated the IPL championship since the last few years and based on the players retained, Sunrisers Hyderabad look the most complete squad and they can become a serious contender for the IPL Knock-outs in 2021.