As the world continues to put up a strong fight against the COVID19 pandemic and as India, begins its journey to normalcy, cricket in the country is set to begin in full flow as well. The domestic Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 tournament was recently concluded, visitors England are ready to participate in a full-fledged international series and the cricketing extravaganza – Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) is set to get underway. BCCI also announced the venue and the date for the IPL 2021 mini-auction with all eight teams keen on strengthening their team.
The Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) auction will take place on February 18th in Chennai. Each franchise recently announced its list of retentions and releases with a few big names being put back onto the auction table. Though a mini-auction, a lot will be decided at the table. Especially for the teams who struggled to field a balanced side last year, this auction will be a chance of conditioning and attaining the balance they desire. Needless to say, the foreign attractions will be major seekers of money this IPL 2021. Here’s a look at the Top 5 big-bid overseas contenders going into the auctions:
The Australian pacer has been a revelation for the island nation for the last few years now. He has been terrifying with his pace, accuracy and despite a blow-hot-blow-cold kind of form, he has been an integral part of Australian plans across formats. In his limited stint at the RCB a few years ago, he was impressive and showed a glimpse of the difference he could create in the longer run. This year, a lot more fitter, slimmer and faster Mitchell Starc is likely to be amongst the top gainers from this auction.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals, Mumbai Indians, and Kings XI Punjab will all be in the fray for grabbing the New South Wales man, an addition that would strengthen their pace attack like none else.
The Australian mainstay, rumored to be released by Rajasthan Royals after his on-field controversy with Rishabh Pant’s guard in the recent Indian series, came in as a surprise. However, his addition to the list of players to be auctioned, makes it even more interesting. Despite a relatively misfiring IPL 2020, Steve Smith’s form and performances in the recent India series serve as an indication of the value he’d bring to the team. He could be pivotal in the middle order and possess the ability to turn the game on its head. It would not be a surprise for franchises to offer him bigger bids, especially for someone of Smith’s stature.
The likes of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab, Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Rajasthan Royals, lacking a stable middle-order batsman would be keen on bidding for the Aussie maestro.
The Big-Show as he’s often referred to, Glenn Maxwell is guaranteed to be one of the costliest buys this auction, if not all times. Be it with the ball, with the bat, or in the field, Maxwell’s contribution to a team’s success is largely underestimated courtesy of his modes of dismissals. However, throughout his career, as also in the recent Big-Bash, Maxwell has put up stellar performances one after the other. He’s had complete contrasting performances in the IPL 2020 and the consequent limited overs series at home against India and is form is only slated to improve with time.
Kings XI Punjab would look to themselves get back Maxwell at a cheaper cost. However, the desperate sights of Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals, and Sunrisers Hyderabad would all be keen on signing the Big-Show as well.
If one was to look at T20 performances and batting records from T20Is in the last 2 years, Dawid Malan is likely to top all charts. Coming in only as a replacement early on, Maland soon made his place in the England side and notched up one good knock after another. He was also numero uno in the ICC T20I rankings for a brief time and continued to do well in the domestic T20 leagues as well. If the recent Big Bash in Australia is any indication, Malan is in striking hot form and would seek multiple bids and much more from the upcoming auction.
The likes of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals, in need of an overseas batsman and a middle-order anchor, might go all out for Malan, Even the Kolkata Knight Riders, under Eoin Morgan, could have Malan in sight to open alongside Shubhman Gill. The flexibility and the balance that the Englishman brings to the side might also attract Chennai and Punjab franchises.
5Mujeeb ur Rahman:
Afghanistan’s rise in international cricket is closely related to the emergence of a few individual heroes from domestic T20 leagues around the world. From the likes of Rashid Khan to Mohammad Nabi, most of the renowned Afghanistan cricketers have made their name through T20 leagues first and international cricket later. The youngster Mujeeb ur Rahman is one such name. Playing for the Kings XI Punjab first in 2018, Mujeeb was looked at as a powerful weapon to bowl with control and accuracy even in the powerplay. His high arm action and enough variations, both off the hand and off the deck, make him a vital spin-bowling option in the team.
The likes of Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab, and Kolkata Knight Riders could well have their attention well set on the Afghanistan youngster.