IPL 2018 auction: Top-10 overseas players to watch out for
A total of 282 overseas players have registered for the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with the auction to be held on January 27 and 28 in Bangalore. Australia (58) have the most number of registered players and are followed by South Africa (57), West Indies (39) and Sri Lanka (39). Hindustan Times looks at the top names who the franchises will be vying for:
Chris Gayle: The ‘Universe Boss’ is perhaps the only player for whom the franchises won’t go checking for his recent form given his ability to turn games on their head from any point of a clash. With a strike rate of 145.11 in T20s and more than 10,000 runs under his belt, Gayle is one of the most lethal openers a team can hope to have in their side. Playing for Rangpur Riders in the Bangladesh Premier League, Gayle slammed 485 runs, including two centuries and two half-centuries, to top the charts.
Chris Lynn: If one is to witness what accounts for brute display of sheer power-hitting, watching a couple of overs of Lynn slamming bowlers in tandem should perfectly fit the bill. A part of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the last edition, Lynn was highly impressive on top of the order before a shoulder injury curtailed his fireworks. Lynn played four games in the Big Bash League (BBL) this season and notched 127 runs in four matches at a staggering strike rate of 162.82.
Colin Munro: One of the finest all-rounders in the world at present, the New Zealander is in stellar form at the moment and will surely lead the franchises into a bidding war. He recently slammed a century against West Indies in the third T20 between the two sides, besides scoring half-centuries in the other two T20s. Kolkata Knight Riders might rue their luck for releasing him and they can’t even use the Right To Match (RTM) as they’ve already retained two foreign players.
Rashid Khan: The wily leg-spinner has swiftly moved up in world ranks and currently holds the No 3 spot behind New Zealand’s Ish Sodhi and Pakistan’s Imad Wasim. One of the two Afghanistan players to be part of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Rashid had ended the campaign last season with 17 wickets against his name, also the highest for his side, Sunrisers Hyderabad. He’s currently the second-highest wicket-taker in the Big Bash League (BBL) as well and might go for a hefty fee in the auction.
Ben Stokes: The controversial Englishman can be a good buy for any side owing to his all-round skills. Left out of the England squad before the start of Ashes because of his infamous pub brawl, Stokes is a handy batsman lower down the order and a perfect first change bowler. He was chosen as the Most Valuable Player last season while playing for Rising Pune Supergiant when he ended up with 316 runs and 12 wickets against his name.
Glenn Maxwell: The Australian seems to have stepped on the pedal ever since he lost out on a regular spot in the national side. While he finished on top of the list of run-getters in the Sheffield Shield with 590 runs, including a 278, he’s on song in the Big Bash League at present. Having played six matches so far, Maxwell has already scored 186 runs, including two half-centuries and a strike rate that reads 145.31. His part-time bowling has often earned wickets in the past.
Kane Williamson: The New Zealand skipper is considered as one of the top-four batsmen in the world, apart from being known for his able leadership skills. The right-handed batsman, who was with Sunrisers Hyderabad last season, had played seven matches for the franchise and scored 256 runs, including a top score of 89. Although he has been released, given his form and batting credentials, there are high chances that Sunrisers will buy him back using the Right To Match (RTM) card.
Mitchell Starc: The lanky Australian quick has not played IPL in the last two seasons but with his searing pace, accuracy and ability to make early strikes, Starc remains a hot property in T20 cricket. Starc averages 18.86 in Twenty20 Internationals and is likely to be available for the entirety of IPL 2018 as Australia do not have any international assignments lined up. Starc was extremely lethal in the recently-concluded Ashes series where he finished with 22 wickets in his kitty.
Pat Cummins: The right-arm Australian fast bowler has attained his peak after a successful Ashes campaign, a series in which he played in all five Tests. Cummins’ impressive showings on tours to India and Bangladesh last year, along with his contributions with the bat lower down the order, makes him a utility player. He finished as the highest wicket-taker with 23 scalps in the Ashes and scored 166 runs to cap his all-round effort.
Cameron White: While Chris Lynn’s injury did have a part to play in White earning a recall to the Australian ODI squad after three years, it’s probably a well-deserved one given his recent form in the domestic circuit. He featured in just two games of the Sheffield Shield earlier this year and went on to score 167 runs in those three innings.He’s currently enjoying his spell with Melbourne Renegades as well and sits second on the Big Bash list of highest run-getters with 285 runs.