All eyes will be on Kolkata on Thursday as the eagerly anticipated auction for the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) gets underway.
While there is plenty of domestic Indian talent up for bidding, it is the overseas recruits who will garner the most attention with as many as 146 foreign players set to go under the hammer.
Here, we look at five must-buy overseas players who have never featured in the IPL before.
Sheldon Cottrell (West Indies)
Amid all the carnage of runs in the ongoing limited-overs clashes between India and West Indies, Sheldon Cottrell has been able to hold his own with his wily change-ups and ability to generate swing with the new-ball.
That facet will not go unnoticed by the IPL franchises as Cottrell thrown his hat into the auction ring for the first time. The left-armed pacer is a popular character with fans in India already with his trademark ‘salute’ celebrations and he is bound to trigger a bidding war for his signature come Thursday.
Be it his slower off-cutters or his surprise yorker, Cottrell has the ability to pick up wickets up front or in the death. He has played plenty of T20 cricket in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and has an overall economy-rate of just 7.20 in the format.
Tom Banton (England)
Billed as the next Kevin Pietersen by former England skipper Michael Vaughan, young Tom Banton has been generating plenty of hype during the course of this season. Now capped by England, the 21-year-old top-order batsman has an inventive approach and can play some delightful reverse scoops and hits.
He has been on fire for Somerset this campaign and deservedly won the Young Player of the Year accolade – awarded by England’s Professional Cricketers Association. His undeniable talent was best seen in the T20 Blast where he forged a devastating opening partnership with Pakistan star Babar Azam.
Banton is already catching the eye of T20 franchises around the globe and is set to make his Big Bash League (BBL) debut in the coming days for Brisbane Heat.
Brandon King (West Indies)
The T20 format has become synonymous with the Caribbean and young Brandon King is one of the latest exciting talent to emerge from the Windies conveyor belt. The Jamaican’s form has tailed off of late but make no mistake about his ability to clear the ropes in the T20 format.
The right-hander emerged as the top-scorer in the 2019 CPL and has since gone on to make his debut for West Indies. He gave glimpses of his brilliance during the recent T20I series between India and Windies, although he didn’t really get much chances to do greater damage.
Still, Windies talent has been known to thrive in the IPL and King could be another one to add his name to that long list in the coming season.
Alex Carey (Australia)
The wicketkeeper-batsman is a late bloomer when it comes to international cricket and has shown serious chops for white-ball cricket since making his debut in January 2018.
Wicketkeepers who can bat are always a welcome commodity in the IPL and Carey’s ability to both attack and defend will definitely be appreciated. He can be the man to douse out the fires when the top-order collapses and he can also be the one to apply the explosive finishing touch in the death overs.
The southpaw already has the experience of 54 international appearances under his belt and is the undisputed first-choice wicketkeeper for Australia in the limited-overs format.
Rassie van der Dussen (South Africa)
While he has just earned his maiden Test call-up for South Africa, Rassie van der Dussen has already been making waves for his white-ball displays. He too, like Carey, has had to wait for his chance at the international level but he is making the most of it since his breakthrough year in 2018.
In the absence of AB de Villiers, van der Dussen looked the Proteas’ most assured batsman in the 2019 World Cup in England. The 30-year-old can turn on the style in the T20 format where he has registered three tons and 23 half-centuries already in 108 appearances.
A reliable middle-order batsman with a solid technique, the South African should feature high on the priorities of franchises looking for stability in the middle.
Know more about Sport360 Application