As it so often is the case, the initial spotlight will be on overseas swashbucklers from the West Indies and Australia even if some lesser-known youngsters could walk away with the big deals at the Indian Premier League players’ auction in Kolkata on Thursday.
The 13th edition of the franchise league will have added significance as the clock ticks towards the T20 World Cup. Kings XI Punjab have the deepest pockets in the auction – Rs 42.70 crore while Royal Challengers Bangalore will be looking to fill up as many as six overseas slots.
With INR 2 crore as the highest reserve price, seven overseas players – Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Chris Lynn, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Dale Steyn & Angelo Mathews have opted to be slotted in the highest bracket.
West Indian pacer Sheldon Cottrell has had a fine year in limited-overs cricket and is expected to attract big bids. England’s Tom Banton too, has generated plenty of buzz with his outrageous hitting.
Here’s a look at the overseas stars who will attract the interests of bidding teams in the auction hall:
England’s young opener Tom Banton has almost became a white-ball sensation with his strokeplay, which has been nothing short of mind boggling. The 21-year-old still doesn’t have an international knock of note yet but is already a hot property in the T20 Leagues around the world.
Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals are linked with Banton so there is potentially a massive bid coming. The young Englishman likened to Kevin Pietersen for the audacity and style of strokes, is a self-professed MI fan and would be watching keenly as teams contest for his services.
Once injury prone, Australia pacer Pat Cummins has steadily risen to the top and as it stands, is one of the best bowlers in the world. He had a stint with Kolkata Knight Riders when he was younger. Given the two-time champions’ lack of depth in the pace bowling department, the 26-year-old could be returning to Eden Gardens.
Kagiso Rabada’s displays for Delhi Capitals might play a role in teams going for a proven performer like Cummins as the South African’s fine returns during the league stage set the tone for the rest of the season for his side. However, having skipped two years in a row, teams might be a tad sceptical of recruiting the Aussie pacer who has been bowling almost non-stop for his Test side this year. He had an impressive 2017 season with 15 wickets at a strike rate of 18.46 and there is no doubting his potential — whether that translates into a big bid, remains to be seen.
A left-field pick in this list but at 14 years and 350 days, Afghanistan’s Noor Ahmad is the youngest name in auction pool. The left-arm wrist-spinner, with a base price of Rs 30 lakh, may join the likes of Rashid Khan and Mohammed Nabi to play in the IPL. Noor was impressive in the Under-19 one-day series against India recently, picking up nine wickets and with most teams fancying wrist spinners, he could be taken up if a franchise is willing to go for a punt.
The 22-year-old West Indian, who was released by Royal Challengers Bangalore ahead of the auction, has already made a strong case for himself with a match-winning 85-ball century in the first ODI against India in Chennai.
The Guyanese, with a base price of Rs 50 lakh, was also the highest run-getter in the preceding T20I series – 120 in three matches at a strike-rate of 151.89. He will be on the radar when the eight franchises bid for the 29 overseas slots up for grabs.
Having been bought at a huge price of Rs 4.2 crore last year, RCB had let the batsman go following a lacklustre IPL 2019 where he scored 90 runs from five matches.
RCB may still to look to bring back the in-form player. However, with a bigger purse, the other franchises would also target the West Indian dasher and put him out of the price range for RCB.
England’s World Cup-winning captain finds himself without of a franchise but some of them can use his experience at the top level. A reunion with coach Trevor Bayliss at Sunrisers Hyderabad looks unlikely but Morgan, on his day, is a limited-overs batsman par excellence and is very good against the spinners. Will he find takers, though? Morgan last played for Kings XI Punjab in 2017 and went unsold last year but showed in the World Cup what a devastating middle-order batsman he can be when on song. A return to KXIP as the captain might be on the cards.
Another West Indian, medium-pacer Kesrick Williams, who troubled India skipper Virat Kohli with his variations in the T20 International series, is also expected to trigger intense bidding with a base price of Rs 50 lakh. The limited money in most franchises’ purse could mean that the bidding wouldn’t be aggressive for those with higher base price and Williams could be the beneficiary for that fact, with Ian Bishop rating his variations highly. An effective death bowler would be worth his weight in gold for IPL sides.
The run-in, the control and the celebration after picking up a wicket: West Indies’s Sheldon Cottrell is box office material and is already a big hit with cricket fans in India. He has developed into a fine limited-overs bowler over the past year and is currently hot property.
Cottrell has shown that he can lead the line despite not possessing express pace. The left-armer has control and is adept in the death as well as the powerplay. Expect a massive bid for the 30-year-old who is also uniquely effective on the field.
Glenn Maxwell, be it with the bat or on the field, can change the course of the contest. That much is known. When he gets going, there are few bowlers who can stop him in his tracks.
The 31-year-old recently took a break from the game citing mental health issues and has been dropped from the ODI squad recently but showed during the India tour last year he can be devastating in these conditions.
There are many sides looking to bolster their hitting options in the middle-order. Who knows, there might be a franchise looking to experiment with Maxwell at the top too.
Maxwell has scored 1,397 runs in the IPL at an average of 22.9 at a rapid strike rate of 161.13.
A return to the tournament is imminent.
Lynn is one of the household names in the IPL having impressed, albeit in flashes, with Kolkata. The franchise decided that he was surplus to requirements and released him. The Kolkata camp will argue that Lynn only showed glimpses of his ‘Lynnsanity’ approach that we have come to expect from him.
He struggled against spin in particular but recently, he found his mojo back. Lynn found his hitting arc once again in the recently held T10 League and is expected to do the same in the Big Bash League as well. There is every chance that Lynn might find himself at the Kolkata dugout all over again but don’t rule out competing bids from a side like MI.
|Team||Purse remaining||Total slots available (Overseas slots)|
|Chennai Super Kings||Rs 14.60 crores||5 (2)|
|Delhi Capitals||Rs 27.85 crores||11 (5)|
|Kings XI Punjab||Rs 42.70 crores||9 (4)|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||Rs 35.65 crores||11 (4)|
|Mumbai Indians||Rs 13.05 crores||7 (2)|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||Rs 27.90 crores||12 (6)|
|Rajasthan Royals||Rs 28.90 crores||11 (4)|
|Sunrisers Hyderabad||Rs 17.00 crores||7 (2)|