IPL 2021 Auctions: Most coveted players under the hammer
With it being a mini auction, and not a mega one, the cream of the crop may not be available, but some seriously impressive talent like Shakib Al Hasan, Glenn Maxwell, Lukman Meriwala, Kyle Jamieson and Steven Smith will be up for grabs in the IPL 2021 auctions.
It might seem that the last edition of the IPL has just ended, but look around, and the process for the next one has already begun. Such is the nature of the cricket cycle, which has been further put on steroids due to the amount of cricket lost because of the pandemic and the subsequent urge to make up for as much of it as possible.
The auctions prior to IPL 2021 were expected to be a mega affair, but with the situation around the world being dictated by the pandemic, the BCCI and the IPL Governing Council decided - and quite sensibly so - to keep this one a mini event, with the mega auctions pushed to the next year.
But, if you know anything about the nature of the IPL, and the amount of money and interest riding on it, no IPL auction is a mini auction.
Shakib Al Hasan
Shakib Al Hasan's return to competitive cricket after serving his one-year ban has been a mixed affair. He shone with some performances of note in the series against West Indies but also suffered a groin injury and then a thigh injury which kept him out of action for a couple of matches.
Hasan has put in some brilliant performances in the IPL in the past, representing Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders. With genuine all rounders being a rare breed, there are not many who can claim to be of the pedigree of Shakib Al Hasan in world cricket. And, it's not that the Bangladesh all rounder is not confident of bagging a fortune as he is one of the few overseas players to have set his base price at INR 2 crores.
Hasan will be particularly on the radar of Royal Challengers Bangalore who will give an arm to have a solid all rounder who can not only give them 4 overs on a consistent basis but play a major role in the middle order which seems a bit too flaky for several years now.
Glenn Maxwell and the IPL is a love-hate affair. From 82 matches, Maxwell has only scored 1505 runs in the IPL at a pedestrian average of 22.13. Yet, every time players go under the hammer, the Australian keeps bagging huge sums of money. Unfortunately, most of it emanates from promise and not delivery as yet.
It is ridiculous to note that a player of his pedigree has struck only 6 half-centuries in the IPL till now despite being part of the league since 2012. Maxwell had a shocker of a season last year and could manage just 108 runs from 13 matches at an average of 15.42 and a strike rate of 101.8. For a player of his class, Maxwell failed to hit even a single six in the entire season.
However, he contributed a bit more with the ball as he bowled a total of 126 balls in the competition and gave away 169 runs, bowling at a decent economy rate of 8.04.
A pattern has been developing over the last few years as Maxwell fails in the IPL and puts in some brilliant performances at the international level, and bingo! he is back in the IPL mix again.
It won't be a surprise if Maxwell bags big bucks yet again. Perhaps, his match swinging ability makes him too strong a temptation to resist even for the most pragmatic franchises.
Baroda's left-arm pacer Lukman Meriwala had a brilliant run in the recently-concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy. He ended up as the second-highest wicket-taker in the competition with 15 wickets from 8 matches, with best of 5/8 against Chhattisgarh.
The fact that Meriwala is an Indian pacer, that too of the left-arm variety, he will provide a lot of balance to any side, given that there is a cap of four overseas players and for any franchise to win the IPL, they ought to have 7 good local players, with 3-4 of them being uncapped.
Meriwala can bowl with discernible pace and gets good bounce. With a base price of just INR 20 lakhs, he becomes a great option for several IPL franchises in terms of ROI.
© Cricket World 2021