IPL 2021 mini-auction: A juggle of money and available players for teams
- IPL 20201: A lowdown of all eight franchises and what promises to be on their agenda for the players' auction on Thursday.
Perhaps if the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) mini-auction was an end in itself, five-time champions Mumbai Indians would rarely win the heavy-spending bragging rights. It’s another matter that when their spoils put on a show on the park, MI generally have the last laugh. There were no bidding wars for Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Krunal Pandya when MI snapped them up in 2014, 2015 and 2016 respectively. For Kieron Pollard and captain Rohit Sharma, the Mumbai franchise did spend a fortune, in 2010 and 2011. These five now form the core of their playing eleven; they are the architects of their five titles in the past eight years.
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That’s because when the wish-list is fulfilled, they never let go of their players. It’s a team that races ahead of its competitors on the auction table. They preserve their original squad strength from the vagaries of the annual auction, knowing well when to use their Right to Match (RTM) card.
When the eight teams congregate on the auction table on Thursday, MI will have R 15.35 crore to fill a maximum of seven slots. And the focus would be on getting fast-bowling back-ups for Bumrah and Trent Boult. Big Bash League lead wicket-taker Jhye Richardson and New Zealand’s tall quick Kyle Jamieson could both be in contention. MI could also use the RTM card to win back Nathan Coulter-Nile.
MI though don’t have the purse to attract anyone’s envy. Punjab Kings do with R 53.2 crore in reserves, and 16 of their squad members already in place. They too are in need of good fast bowlers. Amongst Indians, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma are the few notable seam options. Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 tournament performers - Saurashtra’s Chetan Sakariya and Baroda’s Lukman Meriwala, both left-arm seamers, could also find takers.
On the other end, Royal Challengers Bangalore are used to constant churn. Yet again, their on-field performance could be directly proportional to getting their auction strategy right. Looking for another overhaul, they have released as many as 10 players and will be looking at a possible 11 buys with R35.4 crore to play with. The auction could be decisive for Rajasthan Royals too, who have R 37.85 crore to spend on possibly nine players.
RCB have long been on a chase for middle-order muscle that can take the pressure off Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers. But middle-order power-hitters are in short-supply. In the 292-player shortlist, Glenn Maxwell and Chris Morris fit the bill, despite the Australian’s mixed IPL record and the South African being injury prone. “A lot of franchises will be after Glen Maxwell. He may go for more than R 9-10 crores,” said CSK-star Suresh Raina. “Yes, he’s been lucky at auctions. But each time he has gone to Australia and done well. When you have performed so often on different occasions, teams tend to think, this day or the next, he will deliver. Besides, he can bat anywhere, bowl, is a gun fielder and can play 360 shots. It may be Punjab, CSK or MI…teams will chase him. If the IPL is played in Mumbai, it will suit attacking batsmen.” Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan, coming back after serving an ICC suspension, could be in demand for his all-round skills.
RR too are on the lookout for middle-order resources to build on starts that Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and newly-appointed captain Sanju Samson may provide. Both RR and Sunrisers Hyderabad have a settled overseas core and could go after Indian batsmen. That is why the uncapped Shahrukh Khan from Tamil Nadu, even Shivam Dube and Kedar Jadhav despite an underwhelming 2020 season, could find takers.
One team in search of top-order hitting strength is Chennai Super Kings. The likes of Steve Smith, Alex Hales who top-scored in BBL, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali and Aaron Finch could all attract bids. Raina is hopeful CSK is thinking long term. “Due to the lockdown, you can’t just go by past performances. Many have down well recently in the Syed Mushtaq Ali, Tamil Nadu’s Shahrukh Khan can be a very good pick for CSK. There others too, its whether you want to build a team for the future. Because even if there is a mega auction next year, there may be some new rule that comes in.”
In need for Indian wicket-keeping reserves are RCB and Delhi Capitals, which could open up opportunities for Mushtaq Ali Trophy success stories like Kerala’s Mohammed Azharuddeen, Saurashtra’s Avi Barot or Baroda’s Kedar Devdhar. DC could also bid for overseas options like South African Glen Phillips and Australian Alex Carey as a backup for Rishabh Pant.
Kolkata Knight Riders have reposed faith in their current mix and like SRH have only R10.75 crore to spend. They may be looking for some spin back-ups, after Sunil Narine’s action came under a cloud. Veteran Harbhajan Singh, fellow off-spinner Krishnappa Gowtham and mystery spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman will be sought after.
Unlike last year, player availability will be an important factor. DC will be fretting over the availability of their fast-bowling duo Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje, with the South Africa-Pakistan white-ball series finishing on April 16 and the quarantine requirements to be considered. If picked for national duty, leading Bangladesh players like Shakib and left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman could be unavailable from May 19. Players from Australia, West Indies, Afghanistan and most England and New Zealand players will be available for the entire duration of IPL 2021.
10 TOP PICKS: Glenn Maxwell, Shakib Al Hasan, Steve Smith, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Alex Hales, Jhye Richardson, Umesh Yadav, Mujeeb ur Rahman, K Gowtham
YOUNG AND OLD
Youngest Indian – Khrievitso Kense (16 years 349 days) leg spinner
Youngest overseas – Noor Ahmad (Afg) (16 years 46 days) left arm wrist spinner
Oldest Indian – Nayan Doshi (42 years 135 days) left arm-spinner
Oldest overseas – Fidel Edwards (WI) (39 years 12 days) right arm-fast