DIBYANGSHU SARKAR/Getty Images

Indian Premier League champions Mumbai Indians confirmed the retention of India internationals Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah on Thursday. 

The big news of the day saw Kolkata Knight Riders opt against re-signing longstanding captain Gautam Gambhir for the campaign. Unsurprisingly, Royal Challengers Bangalore kept India captain Virat Kohli again for the 2018 term, as well as Sputh African AB De Villiers.

The eight teams involved each confirmed the names of the players to return and those who will go to auction.

CricTracker provided the full rundown of the retentions from Mumbai:


The IPL auction, where the rest of the squads will be put together, will be held on January 27 and 28 in Bangalore.

          

IPL 2018 Preview

While there are often few surprises when it comes to player retentions, the parting of Kolkata and Gambhir is a significant one.

The left-hander joined the Knight Riders in 2011 and has been one of the best players in the history of the franchise. Gambhir captained the team to glory in the competition in 2012 and 2014.

The Knight Riders opted to retain Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. They paid tribute to both on their Twitter account:



After their two-year suspension from the competition, two-time winners Chennai Super Kings will be back again this season, and they have will have some familiar faces among their ranks.

As noted above, India stars MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja are all poised to don the all-yellow again. The team posted clips on Twitter of the trio agreeing their deals, including this one of the wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni:


The Rajasthan Royals have also missed the last two seasons due to suspension, and they decided to retain just one.

They will be delighted with that solitary figure, though, as Steve Smith has been in exceptional form in all formats for a long time. The Australia skipper is part of the side that has dominated the Ashes series against England; he’s scored three centuries in four Tests.

Smith has been in incredible form lately.

Smith has been in incredible form lately.WILLIAM WEST/Getty Images

He’s the best batsman in the world for many at the moment, although Bangalore fans would argue that point, as Kohli is one of few who can match Smith across all formats. 

As noted by ESPN Cricinfo’s Bharath Seervi, the Royal Challengers appear aware of what a precious player they have:


Despite their stellar lineup, Bangalore toiled last season, failing to qualify for the playoffs. More will be expected of them this term.

Elsewhere, the Sunrisers Hyderabad have kept hold of their prized assets, with Australia batsman David Warner and Indian pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar staying part of their squad. They were the top run-scorer and top wicket-taker in the 2017 tournament, respectively.

Warner was brilliant in the IPL last season.

Warner was brilliant in the IPL last season.NOAH SEELAM/Getty Images

Players to look out for in the auction include England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was crowned most valuable player last season for the now defunct Rising Pune Supergiant.

In other news, the Delhi Daredevils confirmed that Australian batting icon Ricky Ponting will take over as coach for the competition.



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