The idea that the Indian Premier League could be played without overseas stars who add so much value to the tournament seems incredible. But then, we are living in incredible times.

In a recent interview, Delhi Capitals CEO Dhiraj Malhotra floated the idea that tournament, which remains indefinitely suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, could be held with only Indian players in 2020.

“Rajasthan [Royals] were the first ones to say they want the game to on and they are happy to play with just Indian players, and so are we. I think most franchises are,” Malhotra, the CEO of Delhi told The Quint last week in a video interview.

The suggestion was put forth to two-time IPL-winning captain Gautam Gambhir and he said that he is ‘absolutely up for it’. But a source close to Chennai Super Kings has reportedly brushed aside that thought.

The BCCI has not yet made a final decision on the fate of IPL in 2020, clearly harbouring hopes of holding the event in some shape or the other. Various stakeholders have expressed interest in holding the tournament, at least behind closed doors during a later window. The board’s treasure Arun Dhumal said the losses could be close to Rs 4,000 crore if there is no IPL this year.

The most recent suggestion has been to have the 2020 season with just Indian players participating, which seems (on paper) feasible as travel arrangements for overseas stars could prove to be a significant hurdle.

Also read: After the auction for 2020 edition of Indian Premier League, in this series we took a look at how the teams stack up and what their strengths, weaknesses are.

Of course, that would mean teams would likely be given a chance to draft in (another auction?) more players but as things stand, how will the squads match up if such a scenario were to become a reality?

Here’s a look at the Indian contingents of various franchises:

CSK Rs 15,00,000 16 24
DC Rs 9,00,00,000 14 22
KXIP Rs 16,50,00,000 17 25
KKR Rs 8,50,00,000 15* 23
MI Rs 1,95,00,000 16 24
RR Rs 14,75,00,000 17 25
RCB Rs 6,40,00,000 13 21
SRH Rs 10,10,00,000 17 25
(Note: Praveen Tambe was bought by KKR in auction but was later found to be ineligible)

(Note: Swipe across on your screens if all columns are not visible. Players to have represented India in T20Is have been highlighted in bold.)

Chennai Super Kings

(No of India T20I players: 11 out 16)

CSK have always prided themselves on their ability to retain a strong core group and a bulk of that is formed by Indian players, capped and uncapped. While the overseas superstars have produced great moments for the side over the years, their local talent has stepped up in one form or another at crucial times. Names like Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Shadab Jakati are proof of that.

Even though the three-time champions are reportedly against the idea, they boast of a squad with the most T20I appearances among India players. The likes of Suresh Rain and Harbhajan Singh might be past their prime but they are IPL behemoths. The batting lineup will still heavily depend on MS Dhoni, but with a superb bowling attack, don’t be surprised if CSK go far (as they usually do) in this hypothetical event.

CSK's Indian contingent for IPL 2020

Batsmen Bowlers Allrounders Wicketkeepers
Suresh Raina Deepak Chahar Ravindra Jadeja MS Dhoni
Ambati Rayudu Harbhajan Singh N Jagadeesan
M Vijay Karn Sharma
Ruturaj Gaikwad Shardul Thakur
Kedar Jadhav Monu Kumar
KM Asif
Piyush Chawla
R Sai Kishore

Delhi Capitals

(No of India T20I players: 9 out of 14)

Without sounding cynical, it is no surprise to see DC at the forefront of the Indians-only IPL idea. A look at their squad tells you why. Nine internationals in their ranks along with a resurgent Prithvi Shaw means the star power that Delhi Capitals have will be significant. In Harshal Patel, they also have one of the best all-rounders in the last domestic season.

They might be light on numbers but they have a superb Indian contingent.

DC's Indian contingent for IPL 2020

Batsmen Bowlers All-rounders Wicketkeepers
Shreyas Iyer Ishant Sharma Axar Patel Rishabh Pant
Prithvi Shaw Amit Mishra Harshal Patel
Shikhar Dhawan Avesh Khan R Ashwin
Ajinkya Rahane Mohit Sharma Lalit Yadav
Tushar Deshpande

Kings XI Punjab

(No of India T20I players: 3 out of 17)

KXIP have the squad with the joint-most number of Indian players, but only three of those have international experience. Anil Kumble and Co did well at the auction in recruiting some overseas stars but with a new captain in KL Rahul and a revamped backroom staff, KXIP will be an unpredictable entity. The positive for the Punjab franchise, however, is the presence of Ravi Bishnoi and Ishan Porel to go with Sarfaraz Khan: three players who were in red-hot form in domestic cricket and for India U-19.

KXIP's Indian contingent for IPL 2020

Batsmen Bowlers Allrounders Wicketkeeper
Mandeep Singh Mohammed Shami K Gowtham KL Rahul 
Mayank Agarwal Ishan Porel Tajinder Dhillon Prabhsimran Singh
Karun Nair Arshdeep Singh Deepak Hooda
Sarfaraz Khan Ravi Bishnoi
M Ashwin
J Suchith
Harpreet Brar
Darshan Nalkande

Kolkata Knight Riders

(No of India T20I players: 2 out of 14)

There are 14 Indian players in the KKR squad but only two have played for India. Arguably, the squad that will face the biggest hit if foreigners are missing in action will be the Dinesh Karthik-led side. Without Andre Russell and Sunil Narine, KKR lose their biggest match-winners while Eoin Morgan and Pat Cummins will also be big misses. In Shubman Gill, KKR might have the next big thing in Indian cricket but, as a squad, they might be overly dependent on unproven talent.

KKR's Indian contingent for IPL 2020

Batsmen  Bowlers  All-rounders Wicketkeepers
Nitish Rana Kuldeep Yadav Varun CV Dinesh Karthik
Rinku Singh Prasidh Krishna Nikhil Shankar Naik
Shubman Gill Sandeep Warrier
Siddhesh Lad Shivam Mavi
Rahul Tripathi Kamlesh Nagarkoti
M Siddharth
(Note: Praveen Tambe was bought by KKR in auction but was later found to be ineligible)

Mumbai Indians

(No of India T20I players: 6 out of 16)

One of the promos in the lead up to IPL 2020 was how MI might have to wait for their fifth title because it is in an even year. But year after year, the Mumbai side start as favourites for a reason. Their recruitment has been spot on over the years, and that is why they will once again be favourites if there is an Indians-only IPL. In Rohit, Bumrah, and the Pandya brothers, MI arguably have the strongest core from the current India T20I side. And in Suryakumar Yadav, a hungry batsman who was on the verge of knocking the proverbial selection door down.

MI's Indian contingent for IPL 2020

Batsmen Bowlers Allrounders Wicketkeepers
Rohit Sharma Dhawal Kulkarni Hardik Pandya Aditya Tare
Suryakumar Yadav Jasprit Bumrah Jayant Yadav Ishan Kishan
Anmolpreet Singh Rahul Chahar Krunal Pandya
Saurabh Tiwary Mohsin Khan Anukul Roy
Digvijay Deshmukh
Prince Balwant Rai Singh 
Note: Ishan Kishan was wrongly marked in bold. It has now been corrected

Rajasthan Royals

(No of India T20I players: 4 out of 17)

Along with DC, Royals were reportedly the other side keen for a tournament without overseas players and that comes as a surprise. Rajasthan are heavily dependent on their foreign stars. When you take out Jofra Archer, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, RR have lost their biggest match-winners. Out of the four with international experience in the squad, only Samson is close to India’s current plans.

But, in the finer print, Royals will be quietly confident of leaving a strong impression because of the strong Under-19 contingent they possess. In Jaiswal, Tyagi and Akash, RR have three players who impressed consistently during the World Cup earlier in 2020. There is a reason India were the best side at the tournament, where they finished runners-up, and it is because of the talent at the age-group level that is already at a high level. Apart from SRH, Royals were the side to invest on such players.

RR's Indian contingent for IPL 2020

Batsmen  Bowlers  All-Rounders  Wicketkeepers
Mahipal Lomror Ankit Rajpoot Yashasvi Jaiswal Anuj Rawat
Manan Vohra Mayank Markande Rahul Tewatia Sanju Samson
Riyan Parag Kartik Tyagi Shashank Singh
Robin Uthappa Shreyas Gopal Anirudha Ashok Joshi
Varun Aaron
Jayadev Unadkat
Akash Singh 

Royal Challengers Bangalore

(No of India T20I players: 9 out of 13)

Even during another disappointing season on the field, Virat Kohli never got tired of talking about how pleased he is with the Indian talent at his disposal. That is also why the franchise let go of most of their overseas players ahead of the auction for 2020, choosing to keep their faith in the young Indian names. To go with the nine players with international experience, RCB have Devdutt Padikkal in their ranks. The find of the 2019-’20 domestic season, Padikkal will strengthen RCB’s batting lineup significantly. The largely unchanged bowling lineup could leak runs but on their day, can also be lethal. Sure, Ab de Villiers will be a massive miss but whisper it: RCB have an Indian contingent that could actually take the side all the way in this hypothetical situation.

Will this be Virat Kohli’s year after all?

RCB's Indian contingent for IPL 2020

Batsmen Bowlers Allrounders Wicketkeeper
Virat Kohli Yuzvendra Chahal Washington Sundar Parthiv Patel
Gurkeerat Mann Mohammed Siraj Pawan Negi Shahbaz Ahmed
Devdutt Padikkal Umesh Yadav Shivam Dube
Navdeep Saini Pavan Deshpande

Sunrisers Hyderabad

(No of India T20I players: 6 out of 17)

Sunrisers strength has traditionally been their India-heavy bowling lineup and a top-heavy batting lineup with overseas players. So, if the likes of David Warner and Co will have to miss out, SRH’s strength becomes amplified as does their weakness. The bowlers can still be match-winners for them but batting lineup, where Manish Pandey becomes the lynchpin, looks significantly weak.

SRH's Indian contingent for IPL 2020

Batsmen Bowlers All-rounders Wicket-keepers
Manish Pandey T Natarajan Vijay Shankar Wriddhiman Saha
Priyam Garg Bhuvneshwar Kumar Shahbaz Nadeem Shreevats Goswami
Virat Singh Khaleel Ahmed Sandeep Bavanaka
Sandeep Sharma Abdul Samad
Siddharth Kaul Sanjay Yadav
Abhishek Sharma
Basil Thampi