1. Virat Kohli – RCB: Rs. 17 Crore
The Indian skipper Virat Kohli has now become the costliest player ever in the history of the cash-rich T20 league. He has been paid a whopping amount of Rs. 17 Crore by the Royal Challengers Bangalore franchise. He was retained with a contract worth Rs. 15 Crore in 2016. There was no surprise when Virat was retained and the amount paid is pretty modest by his standards.
Virat was in the form of his life in 2016 as he slammed four centuries in the season. He shattered and created records of his own scoring almost 1000 runs during the season. Currently, he is one of the leading run-scorers in the history of the tournament with 4418 runs in 149 matches. His strike rate of 129.82 also proves he is amazingly consistent to go with the average of 37.44. He will surely look to improve on the statistics as he is once again in the form of his life this time around.
2. MS Dhoni – CSK: Rs. 15 Crore
Chennai Super Kings had already announced MS Dhoni as the captain of the team even before the retentions were finalised. The decision to retain him as the number 1 player of the franchise was a no-brainer. He has been the most successful captain of the tournament and has led CSK to the playoffs in all nine seasons before they were suspended. Even when he was in the players draft a couple of years, Rising Pune Supergiant paid him a whopping amount of Rs. 12.5 Crore and made him the skipper.
Dhoni too would feel coming back to home after being retained by CSK and now would want to win the third title for the franchise. So far he has won 83 matches as the skipper out of 143 matches and would look to achieve more as the leader of the pack. As the wicketkeeper-batsman, he has been magnificent scoring 3561 runs in 159 outings at an average of almost 38 and finishing the games 49 times. His strike rate of 136.75 after playing so many matches proves he is still the master of the game.
3. Rohit Sharma – MI: Rs.15 Crore
Rohit Sharma has been already tipped as one of the best T20 captains the world has ever seen. He has led Mumbai Indians to the title thrice and has completely transformed himself ever since he has been appointed at the helm. No wonder the MI franchise retained him for Rs. 15 Crore after his recent exploits in a T2oI against Sri Lanka. He brings more value as a captain to the team as they will look to defend the title in 2018.
The Hitman of India is in the middle of a purple patch currently and the franchise would want him to continue in the same vein. He has been part of 159 matches in the lucrative tournament so far and has 4207 runs to his name at a strike rate of 130.89. Though he would want to increase the number of centuries as he has scored only a solitary one so far. But a staggering 32 half-centuries is a testimony to his skills in the shortest format of the game. Rohit’s retention will only increase his confidence which is not a good news for the other teams now.
4. Steve Smith – RR: Rs. 12 Crore
Australian skipper Steve Smith was again a great choice to retain by the returning franchise Rajasthan Royals. His stakes have increased since his last stint with Rising Pune Supergiant when he was paid only Rs. 5.5 Crore. This time around he has been retained by paying a king-sized amount of Rs. 12 Crore. He should be the most profitable cricketer in the list of retained players this year. He should also be the most obvious skipper of the team as the Royals would look to build around him now.
Smith has been the part of the IPL since 2012 and has seldom played the whole season given his national commitments. But his exploits in the league have been excellent with 1703 runs in just 69 matches at a decent average of 37.02 and a strike rate of 131. He is not the most flamboyant person when it comes to clobbering the ball but makes sure he scores his runs at a rapid pace. His captaincy too has been brilliant as he led the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant.
5. David Warner – SRH: Rs. 12 Crore
The deputy of Smith in the Australian side has done wonders with the Hyderabad franchise since taking over the mantle of the side. In 2016, he led Sunrisers to the coveted title and is now one of the most expensive players to be retained. Warner had to be retained by Sunrisers as he is a perfect captain material and also an explosive opener who clicks for the team more often than not. Sunrisers have paid the left-hander Rs. 12 Crore much better than what he earned in the previous seasons.
The upcoming season of IPL will complete a decade since Warner has been the part of it and he has transformed magnificently since 2009 when he played for Delhi Daredevils. He is one of the highest foreigner run-getter in this T20 extravaganza and has garnered 4014 runs at a jaw-dropping strike rate of 142.14 with as many as three centuries. He has already played 114 matches in the tournament’s history and is sure to play a lot more in the upcoming editions. SRH will surely back him to lead them to yet another title in 2018.