With shifting loyalties becoming the hallmark of this year's IPL auction, several players won't have the pride and pleasure of playing for their respective home teams. The seeds of this displacement were sown when most of the franchises decided not to retain any of their star players, thus pushing the cricketers into a luck-of-the-draw auction pool.
This trend has not taken hold more emphatically than for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Last year, in the League's third edition, as many as five players were local boys. These were Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa and Vinay Kumar.
But this time around, Kumble has dropped out of the auction, citing business concerns, Uthappa has been snapped up by the Pune Warriors while Dravid has been acquired by the Rajasthan Royals and Vinay Kumar has been ensnared by Kochi. In their place, there is a whole slew of players who literally seem "foreign" to Bangalore - A B de Villiers, Daniel Vettori, Saurabh Tiwary and Cheteshwar Puajara.
Meanwhile, Zaheer Khan who was an integral part of the Mumbai Indiands for seasons 2 and 3, has been grabbed by the RCB. Sourav Ganguly, who was the star attraction for the Kolkata Knightriders, has been ditched by his home team for the fourth season of the League, while VVS Laxman who was the mainstay of the local Deccan Charges has shifted base to Kochi.
But perhaps most disconcerting is that the "Punjab Ka Puttar" Yuvraj Singh will not play for the Kings XI Punjab this year, after he was bought by Pune. Meanwhile, son of Chennai Laxmipathy Balaji has been relocated to the Kolakata Knightriders.
However, bucking his curious trend are two premier players who will be playing for the places they hail from. Fast bowler S Sreesanth will be appearing for Kochi, while Rohit Sharma has been imbibed in the fold of the Mumbai Indians.
It indeed seems that team loyalty has been flung out the window this auction and one will have to wait and see if today, a few domestic players get picked up by local teams in providing a little sanity to this identity crisis..