It is that time of the season. That time when the cricketing world sees money spent in millions. It is the 2018 IPL Auction. With teams having played their first cards by announcing their retained players, the next step is to assemble a team to win the coveted IPL Trophy, now in its eleventh season. I take a look at five players to watch out for at the IPL Auction:
1. Rashid Khan
In the past 12 months, hardly any bowler has made as many headlines as Rashid Khan, and for all the right reasons. He has already turned into a world-class limited-overs spinner, and with spinners the rulers of the shortest format, there is no doubt that there will be a huge bidding war to purchase him. His numbers reflect his ability. In ten T20I matches last year, Rashid took 17 wickets at an unbelievable average of 9.41 with a brilliant economy rate of 4.57. In T20 leagues across the world, the Afghan leggie only enhanced his reputation. At the 2017 IPL, playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Rashid took 17 wickets in 14 games at an average of 21.05 and at an economy of 6.62. Playing for Guyana Amazon Warriors in West Indies’ CPL, he took 14 wickets in 12 matches at an average of 19.42 and an economy of 5.82.
During the Bangladesh Premier League, playing for the Comilla Victorians, he took six wickets in seven games at an average of 20.83 and an economy of 4.46. In the ongoing Big Bash League, Rashid playing for the Adelaide Strikers is the highest wicket-taker so far and has picked up 17 wickets in 10 games at an average of 13 and an economy of 5.52. Do not be surprised if he fetches a huge bid.
2. Ben Stokes
While the only news in the recent past regarding Ben Stokes has been about his time off the field, the news of him being cleared by the ECB and selected for the upcoming tri-series in Australia is surely going to put smiles on the faces of the franchise owners. One of the best all-rounders across all formats currently, Stokes has already shown his worth with a brilliant season for the now disbanded Rising Pune Supergiant last year where he almost took them to the title.
316 runs in ten matches at an average of 31.60 and a strike rate of 142.98 and twelve wickets at an average of 26.33 and an economy of 7.18, Stokes had a phenomenal year. Stokes, overlooked for the Ashes because of the suspension, was allowed to play in the Super Smash for Canterbury in New Zealand where he played three matches and scored a hundred, scoring 133 runs at an average of 44.33 and a strike rate of 175. With a T20 series coming up and Stokes being cleared, IPL franchises will no doubt be reading themselves for a bidding war to get his signature.
3. Krunal Pandya
There was a lot of talk about Krunal Pandya being retained by the Mumbai Indians ahead of either his brother Hardik Pandya or Jasprit Bumrah. With Mumbai having retained three Indian players, they cannot use their “Right To Match” Card for Krunal. This would mean they will most certainly lose him to another IPL team. He has been a revelation for the franchise, turning into a very handy all-rounder. The Baroda player has played 25 games so far in IPL, scoring 480 runs at an average of 34.29 at a strike rate of 158.42 and has taken 16 wickets at an average of 31.81 at an economy of 7.15.
Though his performances in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy have been disappointing, scoring only 92 runs at an average of 13.14 and picked up seven wickets at an average of 27.42, there is no doubt that franchises will be eager to buy him given his IPL performances already and also being an uncapped player.
4. Colin Munro
There has perhaps been no other batsman in as destructive form as Colin Munro in T20 cricket as Colin Munro in recent months. Munro has become the first player to hit three hundreds in T20I Cricket, all three hundreds since the start of 2017. Starting initially as a middle-order batsman, Munro has found a liking to his new role as a limited overs opener for New Zealand. In his eleven T20Is since 2017, Munro has hit 496 runs at an average of 55.11 and a strike rate of 172.22.
A Kolkata Knight Riders player previously, Munro only got to play four matches with not much of success. Having set a base price of just 50 Lakhs INR, Munro will definitely be a player of enormous interest given his international exploits over the last year. The IPL is certainly on notice.
5. Prithvi Shaw
One year can mean so much for a cricketer. Prithvi Shaw has had such a year. The 18-year old had a brilliant 2017, his breakout year for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy had 537 runs at an average of 48.81 with three hundreds and two fifties. He equalled the record of scoring a hundred on his Ranji and Duleep Trophy debut, jointly held by the great Sachin Tendulkar.
Now captaining the India Under-19 side at the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand, he is the side’s second highest run-getter in the tournament so far. With an ability to score quick runs without taking many risks, Shaw being an opener could fetch him a big IPL contract by the end of the auction. Since he is an uncapped player too, he will be hot property.
That time is here again. Where money will turn heads, bids will make news and careers and the cricketing world will again turn upside down. While some prominent names might go unsold, some unheard names could land a big IPL contract. These five would hope their performances and potential does not get overlooked on the 27th and 28th of January in Bengaluru.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja
Delhi Daredevils: Chris Morris, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant
Kings XI Punjab: Axar Patel
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Andre Russell
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah
Rajasthan Royals: Steven Smith
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Sarfraz Khan(uncapped)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar
Embed from Getty Images