There will be plenty of stars up for grabs when the player auction for the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) gets underway in Jaipur on Tuesday.
With most of the teams already settled after the main auction held earlier in the year, Tuesday’s event will be more of a case of the franchises plugging any holes in their squads.
However, with a total of 346 players still up for grabs, there should be no shortage of bidding wars.
Here, we look at the five names who should be sought by the IPL franchise in the player auction.
The New Zealand limited-overs skipper surprisingly went unsold in the 2018 auction despite his more than satisfactory white-ball record.
The all-time leading run-scorer in T20I cricket with 2,271 runs in 73 innings, Guptill’s record in the format speaks for itself. The right-handed batsman can score runs up the order at a fair clip too and relishes batting in the powerplay overs.
With New Zealand’s players set to be available for the entirety of the 2019 IPL, Guptill must be high on the wish-list of some franchises.
For teams lacking in explosive openers, Guptill should be a no-brainer.
IPL’s all-time leading wicket-taker Lasith Malinga is a surprise addition to the auction pool despite forming a part of Mumbai Indians’ support staff in the previous edition. His playing career seemed to be done and dusted at the start of the year given his fitness issues but the veteran pacer has enjoyed a surprise resurgence over the past few months.
He made his comeback to international cricket with the Asia Cup in September this year and looked like he had never been away with an instant impact. Now back as the limited-overs skipper for Sri Lanka, Malinga is bound to be a headline act in the auction.
There is every possibility that Mumbai will come back for the 37-year-old stalwart but they will definitely face stiff competition for his signature from the remaining seven teams.
Sam Curran’s performances in England’s 4-1 thrashing of India in the Test series in the summer not only saw him awarded with his first central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), but also put him on the radar of several IPL teams.
With all-rounders highly sought after in T20 cricket, Curran should be a big draw. The 20-year-old’s lower-order contributions with the bat in the five-match Test series has already turned him into a household name in India.
The only issue in signing Curran is the fact England players will not be available for the entire duration of the IPL. However, that has not stopped franchises from splurging on England players previously and Curran should expect a similar windfall.
Afghanistan’s spinners like Rashid Khan and Mujeeb ur Rahman have made waves in the T20 circuit over the past two years or so. At 18 years of age, Qais Ahmad is the next big thing to come out of the Afghan spin factory and he will no doubt be in the minds of most outfits.
The teenage leg-spinner finished as the joint highest wicket-taker in the 2018 ICC U19 World Cup in New Zealand alongside India’s Anukul Roy and was subsequently named Afghanistan’s Rising Player.
He showed his prowess in the inaugural Afghanistan Premier League (APL) held in the UAE with figures of 5-18 in the final. Given the success of Rashid and Mujeeb so far in the IPL, expect Ahmad to be top of the pile for teams searching for a quality spinner.
When it comes to the batting department, one particular name will carry more weight than any other and that is of Windies starl Shimron Hetmyer.
The man who led the West Indies to their first ICC U19 World Cup triumph in 2015-16, Hetmyer has slowly been forging a reputation as one of the most explosive hitters of the cricket ball going around.
Still only 21 years old, the left-hander has already racked up three ODI tons in 20 outings. India’s bowlers know Hetmyer’s hitting powers all too well after he struck a 78-ball 106 and a 64-ball 94 in consecutive ODIs in October this year.
Capable of also bowling some handy leg-spin, the Windies batsman is bound to fetch a lucrative sum come Tuesday and one can expect the biggest bidding war for his signature.
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