Total of 292 players have been enlisted for the shortened auctions.
Chennai: Flamboyant Australian Glenn Maxwell is expected to be a favourite, despite his underwhelming record, along with England’s spin bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali during a condensed IPL players’ auction slated here on Thursday.
A total of 292 players have been enlisted for the shortened auctions — 164 of them Indian and 125 overseas. There will also be three associate players in the auction.
With 61 slots across eight franchises up for grabs, Royal Challengers Bangalore has the maximum, 11 vacancies, to fill with a purse of Rs 35.4 crore while Sunrisers Hyderabad has only three slots available with Rs 10.75 crore in its kitty.
The highest purse available is with Anil Kumble coached ‘Punjab Kings’, formerly Kings XI Punjab, which has Rs 53.20 crore available for spending on nine spots.
With the IPL back in India after being held in the UAE last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, focus will be on big-hitters as well as slow bowlers and Maxwell and Moeen fit the category to the T.
However, Maxwell averages 22 in the tournament, having played 82 matches for his 1505 runs. He last played for Punjab. Moeen, on the other hand, was seen in action for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the previous season.
While Maxwell and his former skipper Steve Smith are both in the highest bidding category of Rs 2 crore, one name that will surely attract attention is world’s No.1 ranked T20 batsman Dawid Malan from England.
A strike-rate of nearly 150 in 19 T20 Internationals has catapulted Malan into limelight and a few teams may like to raise their bids for the 33-year-old with a base price of Rs 1.5 crore.
One of the most keenly-watched teams going into the auction will be Chennai Super Kings after a nightmarish 2020 season when they failed to qualify for the IPL play-offs for the first time in tournament’s history.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni and head coach Stephen Fleming have always valued experience way more than exuberance of youth in their team.
A case in point is Robin Uthappa, who hasn’t performed for at least five seasons, being picked by CSK from Rajasthan Royals during the trading window with an all-cash deal.
With nearly Rs 20 crore (19.90 crore) to spend and six vacancies to fill, Dhoni will look at some potential big hitters to help him, Suresh Raina and Faf du Plessis in the middle.
Among Indian players, the three notable capped names are Kedar Jadhav, veteran off-spinner Harbhajn Singh and fast bowler Umesh Yadav.
As usual, there would be some eye-popping bids for the uncapped domestic players like Kerala’s Mohammed Azharuddeen (Junior), Tamil Nadu’s handsome hulk Shah Rukh Khan, all-rounder R Sonu Yadav, Baroda’s Vishnu Solanki and Bengal’s Akash Deep. They could invite mini-bidding wars with their lowest base price bracket of Rs 20 lakh.
Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun, a left arm fast bowler who made his senior Mumbai team debut this year, is bracketed in the Rs 20 lakh category and the kind of traction that the young kid brings along could mean that some bidders will be there for him.
Mumbai Indians (15.35 crore) and Delhi Capitals (Rs 13.40 crore) will require seven and eight players respectively but the finalists of last year probably have a stable core and can look at improvising during the auctions.
It could well be the case of re-buying a few players from the auction as per needs.
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