The IPL auction is on 18th of December. The teams have released quite a few players from their squad. The stage for ICC 2019 World Cup is also set.
Different cricket boards are not very willing to send their cricketers for Indian Premier League and want them to concentrate for the most prestigious cricket show on the earth. So this time the situation is a bit tricky. It is not easy to predict the futures of the released players in the IPL auction. Keeping in mind all the possibilities and obstacles, we are trying to foresee the potential of six such players in the upcoming IPL.
With an upcoming World cup just days away from the completion of 2019 IPL season, there is a chance that quite a few players may opt out from the tournament or forced by their cricket boards to play a limited role. One of them would be Mitchell Starc, one of the best fast bowlers in the world. Starc was player of the tournament in the last edition of cricket’s showpiece event and Australia would expect no less from him if they have to keep the trophy with them for another four years. Keeping all these in mind it looks like there will be no taker for Starc in the IPL auction. Starc himself also was very irregular in T20 circuit focussing more on the test and ODIs. He played just one T20 international in last two years, which was the 3rd match in the recently concluded series against India and did not play either IPL or BBL. KKR went for him during the last auction and picked him for a huge sum of 9.4 Crore INR and hoped that he would lead their pack of youngsters but it will be a huge surprise if any team go for Starc in this auction.
Yuvraj Singh is one of the superstars in Indian cricket since his debut 18 years back. The Punjab lad immediately made his mark and with time he became one of the most destructive middle order batsmen and a handy bowler. With the invent of T20 cricket, he found himself to be well-suited for the slam-bang version of the game and his 70 of 30 balls in the 2007 T20 World cup semi-final or the six sixes he hit in that over from Stuart Broad are the stuff of legends. In IPL also, Yuvraj used to be a prized commodity and had played quite a few good knocks over the years for Kings XI Punjab. Although he had to miss a couple of seasons due to his illness, even on his return he was considered as a prime pick. He was picked for 14 crores by Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2014 auction. In 2016 auction, his price was even higher and Delhi bought him for 16 Crore, an IPL record. In 2018 he was picked up by KXIP but released due to his average form. He has not played a single T20 match post last IPL and has appeared in only a handful of list-A matches for his state team. It is very difficult to see any team who may be interested in the southpaw during the auction. In case he reduces his base price, teams like KXIP or RCB may pick him expecting him to take more of a mentorship role.
Mohit Sharma can be called one of the true finds for IPL who made it to the national team and also played in a World cup based on his good showing during IPL. In his earlier days, he used to be a dependable bowler of MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings team with his control and variations. He also had a couple of good seasons with KXIP and it was a little surprising when KXIP released him this time. However, there should be quite a few suitors for Sharma during the auction and we should see a quick bidding between the teams. CSK would definitely love to have him back to provide some additional support to existing bowlers like Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur. Another team which may show interest is KKR. KKR will like to have a senior Indian bowler leading the pack of youngsters like Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Prasidh Krishna. Another option could be Delhi Daredevils who have three very good overseas fast bowlers in Rabada, Morris, and Boult but may look to strengthen their Indian bowling option by picking Sharma.
JP Duminy has played successfully for multiple IPL teams and also led Delhi Daredevils in the 2015 season. He was a part of Mumbai Indians team in 2018 with moderate success and hence was released; at 34, age is not in his side and injuries are catching up. He was also released by Islamabad United, his franchise in Pakistan Super League. Duminy is currently earning praises for his commentary during the ongoing Mzansi Super League which he gave a miss due to a shoulder injury. However, in his prime, he was a very useful all-rounder and should be in demand during the auction from teams like DD and KXIP who are looking for some much-needed experience in their middle order.
Axar Patel is another name who first made his mark in IPL and then later went on to represent India in international cricket. Axar may have been pushed back in the pecking order due to a recent great showing from Kuldeep, Chala, and Jadeja, he is still considered a handy contributor in the limited over game with his tight bowling, big shots, and sharp fielding. It is a surprise that KXIP after detaining him last year now has released him but this creates good opportunities for a few other teams. Delhi Daredevils would be one of the teams who should be interested in Axar especially after trading Shahbaz Nadeem to SRH. Axar can be a good replacement and develop a good partnership with leg-spinner Amit Mishra if picked. Another team who may be interested in Axar is Mumbai Indians. Although they unearthed a great young talent in Mayank Markande last year, most of their spin bowling options do not have enough IPL experience and Axar can provide them a good cover.
Aaron Finch, Australia’s T20 captain is considered as one of the best batsmen in the T20 format of the game. However, in IPL, Finch is kind of a journeyman, playing for seven different franchises and even leading some of them. Finch had a poor IPL in 2017 for KXIP, scoring only 134 runs as he could not open in the presence of Chris Gayle and KL Rahul. That is the reason why KXIP management found him surplus to the requirement this time and released him. But with a player of Finch’s potential should not have any problem in selecting by a franchise. The only thing which can go after him is Cricket Australia’s decision to plan a World cup preparation camp which coincides with the IPL. Still teams like SRH, KKR and CSK may go against Finch to add much-needed firepower in the top of the order.