It may be the first time that a franchise based out of Lucknow participates in the Indian Premier League, but it will definitely not be the first time Sanjiv Goenka, the owner of the franchise will be at the auction table. The RPSG group owned the Rising Pune Supergiant in 2016 and 2017 and have already had a roller-coaster ride of an experience in their two-year stint at the tournament.
In the first year, they managed a team that narrowly missed out on the wooden spoon and then followed it up with a surprisingly radical approach in their second year to eventually, narrowly miss out on a title.
They had made it clear that they do not worry too much about fan-appeasement during that duration when they axed MS Dhoni in 2017, tweaked their name, spent a massive Rs 14.5 Cr on Ben Stokes inspite of being advised against bidding for that amount considering his uncertain availability.
We will have a first look of the kind of an approach the Goenka-owned management plans to adopt in its second innings in the Indian Premier League at the upcoming mega-auctions.
They opted for the simple but a more well-rounded permutation of Batter-All-Rounder-Bowler in the drafts which seems to tell us that they now have better clarity of thought in building a team.
By paying Rs 17 Cr for KL Rahul, they made him the joint-highest paid player in the IPL history. But for the many roles the wicket-keeper batter will don for the side, the investment can be expected to bring them just the kind of returns they are expecting.
However, Rahul’s tasks are laid out - firstly, he has to keep up with the pressure of leading a new franchise in a way that makes them stand out in comparison to the existing teams and secondly, he must now ensure that his 590-plus run streak in the tournament continues for the fifth consecutive edition.
In opting for uncapped leg spinner Ravi Bishnoi, they also got a long-term investment prospect out of the way and someone who is likely to lead their spin bowling attack. With Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, they have an allrounder option who can bat in the middle-order, open the batting and be the team’s sixth bowling option. With a purse of Rs 59 crore left, the team will be looking to add on to the foundation they have already laid in place in the drafts.
Lucknow Supergiants have also acquired the services of Zimbabwe’s Andy Flower as Head Coach. The former keeper-batter coached Multan Sultans to a title victory last year at the Pakistan Super League.
Players retained by LSG and their values
|KL Rahul||Indian||17 Cr|
|Marcus Stoinis||Overseas||9.2 Cr|
|Ravi Bishnoi||Indian||4 Cr|
Who’s saying what
“When I’ve captained, I have always said I don’t want players thinking of playing for India. I want players thinking of playing for the franchise. Playing for India is just the byproduct,” said team mentor Gautam Gambhir, in an interaction with Boria Majumdar on his Youtube channel ‘Backstage with Boria’.
“If you think of playing for India and you start saying that Lucknow gives me that platform to play for India, then you are being dishonest to the franchise. But if you were to play for Lucknow and deliver it for Lucknow, eventually you will end up playing for India.”
“I would not want any of the players saying or thinking that my job or my ultimate aim is to play for India. Their ultimate aim for those two months is to win the tournament for the franchise.”
Overall purse remaining for all 10 teams
|Franchise||Salary cap remaining (Rs cr)||Open player slots||Open overseas player slots|
|Chennai Super Kings||48||21||7|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||48||21||6|
|Lucknow Super Giants||59||22||7|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||57||22||7|