The prelude to the IPL is on December 18, when 346 players – some international stars, some established legends, and some promising youngsters – would be up for grabs.
Whilst the cricketers would be hoping that they get an opportunity to make a mark, fans would want their favorite franchises to make the right selections at the auctions.
Here are a few lesser-known players who might be eager to announce their presence in the cricketing realm and could be up for a bidding war at Jaipur.
Fawad Ahmed (Australia)
The Aussie is already a T20 veteran, having played 52 T20 games since making his debut for the Melbourne Renegades in 2013. Though the leg-spinner has not set the BBL on fire, his economy rate of 6.78 along with his bowling average of 22.50 shows how he can stall the flow of runs in the middle order.
In 2018, Ahmed has picked up 29 T20 wickets thus far at a stunning average of 14.79. With teams like Delhi Capitals struggling to find a good spinner, he could well be under their radar.
Shivam Dubey (India)
The youngster, who plays for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, was in the news recently after Sunil Gavaskar compared him to Hardik Pandya, whilst also stating that Dubey would be in the wish-list of most franchises for the upcoming IPL season. With a strike-rate of 147.65 in 13 T20 games thus far and with 10 wickets in the format, Dubey could well be up for a bidding war, and sides like Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are struggling to find depth in the lower-order, could be eager to have him in the ranks.
Dubey had caught attention earlier this year after he smashed Pravin Tambe for five sixes in an over in a 20-over game and is in a purple patch in the Ranji season currently, scoring 454 runs in 5 matches with a high score of 114. He has also scalped 21 wickets.
Varun Chakravarthy (India)
Mystery spinners have traditionally done well in the IPL, which opens the doors for Tamil Nadu cricketer Chakravarthy. He captured the attention of the audience with a fine stint in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, where he bowled with an economy rate of just 4.7 in 10 matches.
He was soon inducted into playing List A games for the state, and little did he disappoint, picking up 22 wickets from his first nine games. Sides like Delhi Capitals could pick him up.
Hardus Viljoen (South Africa)
The tall fast-bowler was in phenomenal form in the T10 league, picking up 18 wickets in 9 games. His brutal bouncers and his variations could be a big asset for a side, and if the tournament is shifted to South Africa, Viljoen could be a real threat.
He is also a handy smasher of the bat, and a strike-rate of 120.51 reflects that he can play some important cameos. Teams like Kolkata Knight Riders, who are really struggling in their pace department, could bid for the South African.
Glenn Phillips (New Zealand)
The opener and wicket-keeper was a star in the Caribbean Premier League, playing for Jamaica Tallawahs. He topped the run charts with 457 runs at an average of 41.54 and a strike-rate of 146.94.
The Kiwi cricketer not only scored the most sixes in the season but also impressed with his onslaughts at the top. In the Eliminator against St. Kitts and Nevis, Phillips went on to smash 109 runs in 63 balls, though it was not enough. Sides like Kolkata Knight Riders, who might suffer if Chris Lynn misses the last half of the IPL due to the World Cup and Mumbai Indians could bid for the young star.
Joe Denly (England)
The Englishman has played over 192 T20 games, scoring over 4,800 runs and is a name to reckon with in the English domestic set-up. He can be just as effective with his leg-spin, as was evident in his maiden T20I outing for his country against Sri Lanka, where he picked up 4 for 19 to win the Man of the Match award.
Last year, he topped the batting average for Kent in both the T20 competition and County Championships, which forced the selectors to call him up for the series against Sri Lanka. Denly is an opening batsman who has been bowling regularly as well, and teams like Rajasthan Royals, who will be on the look-out for replacements of Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes (expected to leave the tournament mid-way due to the World Cup) could be interested in bidding for the 32-year old.
Anrich Nortje (South Africa)
Nortje set the inaugural Msanzi Super League on fire, with his extra zip, pace, and knowledge of the surface helping him outwit his rivals. He bowled at a great speed to the likes of AB de Villiers and Dean Elgar, leaving them befuddled, and if the tournament is held in South Africa, teams like KKR, Kings XI Punjab, and RCB could go all out for him. The pacer was able to play only 3 games for the Cape Town Blitz before injury ruled him out. However, he left his mark in his stint, picking up 10 wickets at an impressive economy rate of 6.92.