Will IPL reward Test stars like Cheteshwar Pujara on the auction table?
- Also throwing his name in the ring is the Sydney Test saviour Hanuma Vihari, with a base prize of ₹1 crore. His IPL record, like Pujara, is not flattering with 284 runs in 24 matches at a strike rate of 88.47. After featuring in IPL 2019 for Delhi Capitals, he went unsold, last year.
The 292-player shortlist for the IPL mini-auction includes a number of established Test performers who will be trying their luck to bag contracts in the lucrative T20 league. India’s Test mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara is one of them who is going in with a modest base prize of ₹50 lakh. Pujara has played 30 IPL matches, but his last outing was back in 2014, after which he has repeatedly gone unsold. Although T20 is clearly not his strong point, Pujara has maintained given an opportunity, he has the ability to switch gears.
Also throwing his name in the ring is the Sydney Test saviour Hanuma Vihari, with a base prize of ₹1 crore. His IPL record, like Pujara, is not flattering with 284 runs in 24 matches at a strike rate of 88.47. After featuring in IPL 2019 for Delhi Capitals, he went unsold, last year.
Australia’s Steve Smith and his batting look-alike Marnus Labuschagne will be looking for takers too. Smith who led Rajasthan Royals, last season, was released by the franchise after the team finished at the bottom of the table. Smith, one of the game’s leading Test batsman, has played 95 IPL matches, but is yet to master the T20 format. Labuschagne, whose batting has grown from strength to strength after playing his first Test in 2018, is seeking an IPL debut.
Also, looking for an IPL entry is New Zealand fast bowling workhorse Neil Wagner, with a base prize of ₹50 lakh. The 34-year-old Wagner with 51 Test caps, has delivered many a match winning spell for New Zealand with his left arm pace, but is yet to play an international T20 match.
These players will remain hopeful as they have been shortlisted from 1114 cricketers who had initially registered, based on the franchises’ interest. The capped players will be sold in the first round of the auction.
In expected news, apart from Smith, 9 other players like Glenn Maxwell, Shakib Al Hasan, Harbhajan Singh, Kedar Jadhav have kept themselves in the highest base prize bracket of ₹2 crore. Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun, a left arm seamer is also in the shortlist with a reserve prize of ₹20 lakhs. Fast bowler S Sreesanth seeking an IPL re-entry after serving a 7-year match fixing ban, found no takers.
The three franchises who will be the most active on the auction table will be Kings X1 Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals. These teams have the maximum money in the bank – ₹53.2 crores, ₹35.9 crores, ₹34.85 respectively. A total of 61 slots are to be filled with a maximum of 22 overseas in the auction scheduled on Feb 18, from a pool of 164 Indian players, 125 overseas and 3 from Associate Nations.