IPLomania: A look at team strategies

V Sudarshan, VP, Hansa Research Group, writes about IPLomania, a syndicated study conducted for deciphering strategies using data that has been collated over the years on the 3Ps of each player

e4m by V Sudarshan
Published: Dec 18, 2019 4:59 PM  | 9 min read

An ardent IPL fan (or any cricket enthusiast for that matter) could make a team with just the players that were shuffled around during the trading window. 11 players – including a captain, an erstwhile captain, a couple of overseas players and a few uncapped players – were traded amongst the IPL teams last month. This trade-off was insightful of the team’s character that has been built up during a decade of the IPL’s existence.

Indeed, even the players that were retained / released are in sync with the team’s strategies that have been revealed over the years.

IPLomania, a syndicated study conducted by Hansa Research tries to decipher these strategies using data that has been collated over the years on the 3Ps of each player – Popularity, Performance and Payout. This article takes a look at the team composition based on the key feature – Performance.

Cricket lends itself to measure a player’s performance through a plethora of variables. From the basics such as runs scored and wickets taken, to the nuances of strike and economy rates, to the impacts of boundaries, sixes, and performances deserving a man of the match award. All the variables you would look at when making a team for your Fantasy League. The IPL franchises too would certainly be looking at these while formulating strategies for the player auctions.

So let’s play Super Selector!

… Well, we did!

Each player was awarded points, based on the match scorecard data from all IPL matches over the last 5 years, and a Performance Value (PV) was derived for each player. This helped in comparing player performances and determining a team’s collective strength. We have used this algorithm to compare the team composition of all IPL franchises, and have used an average of the last 5 years’ points for comparison to adjust for unusually strong / weak seasons for individual players.

Consider this for a ‘Dream Team’, based on the IPLomania algorithm, from the PV of each player in the last IPL.

(psst: save it for this year’s fantasy league).

The player list is reflective of the impact they had in the IPL this year…proof that the algorithm works! Armed with confidence in the numbers, let’s get down to brass tacks!

This is an overview of the collective PV of the players each franchise has retained, released, traded in or traded out. We will now look at each franchise in detail to decipher their strategies.


 Players Retained: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Mitchell Santner, Lungi Ngidi, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Narayan Jagadeeshan, Harbhajan Singh, KM Asif, Shardul Thakur, Shane Watson, Imran Tahir, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Deepak Chahar, Monu Kumar, Karn Sharma.

Players Released: Sam Billings, David Willey, Mohit Sharma, Dhruv Shorey and Chaitanya Bishnoi.

Players Traded: None

Strategy Insight

As always, CSK leads the pack in retaining the core of their consistent performers. They have lost only 8% PV, (lowest amongst all teams) from the players that they have released. The only notable absentee is Mohit Sharma, who has been their mainstay bowler for a while, but has been released this season. They might still buy him back as they are currently short on fast bowling options. With one of the smallest purses remaining at 14.6 Cr, it will be interesting to see who do they bid for.


Players Retained: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Kagiso Rabada, Keemo Paul, Sandeep Lamichhane.

Players Released: Hanuma Vihari, Jalaj Saxena, Manjot Kalra, Ankush Bains, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayappa, Chris Morris, Colin Ingram, Colin Munro.

Players Traded IN: Ravichandran Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Markande

Players Traded OUT: Jagadeesha Suchith, Trent Boult, Rahul Tewatia, Sherfane Rutherford

Strategy Insight

DC continue with their chop & change routine, and have released almost half their team. However, even with releasing 43% of their team, they have lost only 22% PV. It is not the loss in value that matters much, as more than half the released players were uncapped. It is the absence of key T20 players such as Colin Munro and Chris Morris that might impact their team balance. They have also traded the most amongst all teams, and not at a like-for-like swap. With 27.85 CR in their purse one would expect them to bid high for T20 heavyweights and garner some star power that is currently lacking in their team.


Players Retained: Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Harry Gurney, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi.

Players Released: Chris Lynn, Carlos Brathwaite, Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla, Nikhil Naik, KC Cariappa, Joe Denly, Srikant Munde, Yarra Prithviraj, Anrich Nortje.

Players Traded IN: Siddhesh Lad

Players Traded OUT: None

Strategy Insight

One of the shrewdest teams in the IPL, KKR have built a new core with Dinesh Karthik at the helm. 10 players were released which cost them 29% in terms of PV. The uncapped player did not do any damage, but they released their opening batsmen in Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn, as well as their bowling mainstay and floater in Piyush Chawla. With the second largest purse remaining at 35.65 CR, they can still call the shots and reinforce their opening combination, and possibly gun for another fast bowler.


Players Retained: KL Rahul, Karun Nair, Mohammed Shami, Nicholas Pooran, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Mayank Agarwal, Hardus Viljoen, Darshan Nalkande, Sarfaraz Khan, Arshdeep Singh, Harpreet Brar and Murugan Ashwin.

Players Released: Varun Chakravarthy, Andrew Tye, Sam Curran, Simran Singh, David Miller, Moises Henriques and Agnivesh Ayachi.

Players Traded IN: Jagadeesha Suchith, Krishnappa Gowtham

Players Traded OUT: Ankit Rajpoot, Ravichandran Ashwin

Strategy Insight

Releasing a third of their team has cost them the most PV at 38%. They also look the most unsure about building a team. Having traded out their captain Ravichandran Ashwin, and a consistent performer in Ankit Rajpoot, they have brought in relative unknowns. The only semblance of a strategy is evident in the retaining of KL Rahul and, arguably, Chris Gayle. As if releasing high PV players such as Andrew Tye and David Miller was not enough to shake things up, they have also released their most standout performer from last season in Sam Curran. It’s a good thing that they have the largest purse 42.7 Cr, because they’ll need all of it (along with a heavy influx of a game plan) to basically build the entire team again.


Players Retained: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Krunal Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav, Rahul Chahar, Anmolpreet Singh, Jayant Yadav, Aditya Tare, Anukul Roy, Quinton de Kock, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Mitchell McClenaghan.

Players Released: Evin Lewis, Adam Milne, Jason Behrendorff, Beuran Hendricks, Ben Cutting, Yuvraj Singh, Barinder Sran, Rasikh Salam, Pankaj Jaswal, Alzarri Joseph.

Players Traded IN: Trent Boult, Dhawal Kulkarni, Sherfane Rutherford

Players Traded OUT: Mayank Markande, Siddhesh Lad

Strategy Insight

Only MI can manage to release 40% of their team, thereby losing 38% of PV, yet retain the entire playing XI.

Their consistency across all IPL seasons has been built around their team core, and it looks set to continue on course. It almost seems that they buy players just to increase their bench strength. They have even traded wisely and reinforced their fast bowling. Having the lowest purse remaining at 13.05 CR should not have any effect on the team’s prospects, because they actually don’t need to bid for anyone at the auction. But you can trust them to do so, only if to again have a rich bench.


Players Retained: Virat Kohli, Moeen Ali, Yuzvendra Chahal, Parthiv Patel, Mohammed Siraj, Umesh Yadav, Pawan Negi, Devdutt Padikkal, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Shivam Dube, Navdeep Saini, AB de Villiers.

Players Released: Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Akshdeep Nath, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Colin de Grandhomme, Prayas Ray Barman, Tim Southee, Kulwant Khejroliya, Himmat Singh, Heinrich Klaasen, Milind Kumar.

Players Traded: None

Strategy Insight

RCB have almost emulated MI … released 46% of the team, lost 36% PV, and retained the playing XI. The key word here is ‘almost’. While MI retains a balanced team, RCB is still top heavy, still needs to have strong middle order and has virtually no fast bowling backup for Umesh Yadav. This auction they’ll have to manage with a middle of the road purse remaining at 27.9 Cr to fortify almost all departments. Buying players should not be a problem for the perennial underachievers, the challenge is to get the team balance right.


Players Retained: Steve Smith, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Riyan Parag, Shashank Singh, Shreyas Gopal, Mahipal Lomror, Varun Aaron, Manan Vohra.

Players Released: Ashton Turner, Oshane Thomas, Shubham Ranjane, Prashant Chopra, Ish Sodhi, Aryaman Birla, Jaydev Unadkat, Rahul Tripathi, Stuart Binny, Liam Livingstone, Sudheshan Midhun.

Players Traded IN: Ankit Rajpoot, Rahul Tewatia

Players Traded OUT: Ajinkya Rahane, Dhawal Kulkarni, Krishnappa Gowtham

Strategy Insight

How not to build a team? – 101: Release more players than you retain. Trade out your mainstays and consistent performers for relatively average players. Have a moderate budget while bidding for key players during the auction. RR seem to have excelled at the lesson. Having released 52% of their team and 35% PV, they have traded out Ajinkya Rahane and Dhawal Kulkarni – two of their key, and consistent players. They have retained scant little Indian players, and will have to bid aggressively to ensure they have a team that does not rely solely on the 4 overseas players they have retained. Good luck doing that with 28.9 Cr.


Players Retained: Kane Williamson, David Warner, Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul, Shahbaz Nadeem, Billy Stanlake, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan.

Players Released: Martin Guptill, Deepak Hooda, Ricky Bhui and Yusuf Pathan.

Players Traded: None

Strategy Insight

How to build a team? – 101: Retain the core of your team. Release the excess baggage. Don’t trade if not required. Have a handy budget to take care of contingencies. SRH seems to have learned from two of the most celebrated IPL champions – CSK & MI. SRH have lost very little PV at 9% a la CSK, and have virtually no need to bid for additional players a la MI. A low purse remaining at 17.0 Cr should take care of any emergencies, otherwise SRH looks the most sorted.

It would be interesting to compare the PV of each team after the auction. The next article will detail how each team has performed on the parameter after reinforcements from the auction.

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