Intense bidding is expected to be the order of the day as 10 teams look to grab their favorite players from a limited-overs cricket squad, including the likes of Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and Mayank Agarwal, in Friday’s mini IPL auction.
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The player pool for the auction has been reduced to 405, with a maximum of 87 slots, including 30 overseas, for teams to fill.
Former South African all-rounder Chris Morris has been the biggest beneficiary of the IPL mini auction so far. In 2021, he became the most expensive player in the history of auctions when Rajasthan Royals paid Rs 16.25 crore for his services.
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Morris retired happily.
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Curran, who was named Player of the T20 World Cup 2022, is expected to attract lively bids and land a million dollar deal.
He is only 24 years old and will be viewed by teams as a long-term investment. In 2019, Punjab Kings made him an IPL millionaire before moving to Chennai Super Kings in a bid to bring him back.
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Curran, who missed the 2022 season while recovering from a back injury, has his base price set at $2 million.
All have been listed in the second group to be put out to tender. The venue for the auction is no ordinary Bengaluru as Kochi manages to host the eagerly followed event.
Curran’s England teammates, including Stokes and Test skipper Harry Brook, are likely to draw fat pay cheques. Stokes is the superstar of the game and delivers in the toughest of situations, while Brooke has proved his worth in the shorter formats in the Test format with three centuries against Pakistan.
Stokes has set his base price at ₹ 2 crore and Brook at ₹ 1.5 crore.
Australian all-rounder Cameron Green will also be watching the proceedings closely. He has not looked back after getting the chance to open for Australia in the shortest format in India earlier this year.
Many were surprised that he was initially not selected in the World Cup squad, but was eventually included after Josh Inglis was injured.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson will be another big name with a base price of ₹2 crore. He was released by Sunrisers Hyderabad along with West Indian Nicholas Pooran. Williamson’s strike rate in T20s has been questioned, but he remains a very good leadership option if a franchise is looking for captaincy material.
Pooran, who stepped down from India’s captaincy after an early exit from the T20 World Cup, has not been in the best form of late but is expected to get a decent deal.
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Former England Test skipper Joe Root has also thrown his hat into the ring.
Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza, who has been among the best T20 players in the last 12 months, could attract a hefty bid.
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Mayank Agarwal will go under the hammer in India’s Test opener in Group 1. He has kept the base price at ₹ 1 crore and teams are likely to go after him. Punjab released him earlier this year and appointed Shikhar Dhawan as their captain.
A good IPL is crucial for Agarwal as he aims to return to the Indian fold. Veterans Ishant Sharma and Jaydev Unadkat are the Indian bowling options that the teams have. If Ishant doesn’t get a deal, he might not stay in Delhi in domestic cricket.
Indian pacers who can break the bank include pacers Shivam Mavi and Yash Thakur. After being dismissed by CSK, Tamil Nadu batsman N Jagadeesan should claim after breaking the record of five consecutive centuries in List A cricket.