Big calls for mini auction at the IPL on 18th February 2021

Guest Column: Varying sizes of purses & various slots to fill, makes this mini auction an opportunity for franchises to fine-tune their team strategies, says Vishal Baghel, AVP, Hansa Research

e4m by Vishal Baghel
Updated: Feb 17, 2021 1:01 PM
Vishal Baghel

1097 players have registered for the auction in IPL 2021, for the 61 spots that are available with the franchises, after they finalized their player released and retained list. While most entries came in from West Indies, followed by Australia and South Africa, the most expensive players (2Cr +) are listed from England.

It’s a hazardous game to speculate who will fetch top dollar at the auction (the previous auctions have suggested as much), but there are certain gaps in almost every team that they’ll need to plug in at the auction on 18th February.

Mumbai Indians

MI have surprisingly released all their overseas pacers except Trent Boult. They will either buy at-least one of them back, or consider other options like Sheldon Cottrell or Billy Stanlake. They have the slots available and a decent purse, but it doesn’t look likely that they’d bid for any other positions, only to increase their already heavy bench.

Chennai Super Kings

With the retirement of Shane Watson, CSK could go after Glenn Maxwell or Moeen Ali. While both these players do not fit the bill of an ‘opening batsmen and pace bowler’ combo, they certainly tick the box for a power-hitting option, while also providing a balance to the team with their spin bowling.

Another, possibly contentious (?), option could be to rope in Steven Smith. With Suresh Raina retained in the squad, Smith’s selection would open up a debate for the next captain of CSK, whenever MSD decides to step down, as seen during their combined stint in the RPS (Rising Pune Supergiant).

Delhi Capitals

Having retained their core from last season, DC have only released the fringe players. But they don’t have a backup option for Rishabh Pant, as they have released Alex Carey. They could either buy him back, or opt for Sam Billings. They could also consider Chris Morris or Glenn Maxwell as an overseas all-rounder option, but they have been served well in the department by Marcus Stoinis. Having 3 overseas player slots available, they can possibly make a tactical move at the auction, but are limited by their purse of 13.4 Cr.

Kings XI Punjab

KXIP have released some big names in Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell and Mujeeb Ur Rahman. These releases, along with a few big Indian names as well, has given them the biggest purse available in the auction at 53.2 Cr. It is very likely that they buy back Glenn Maxwell. While he did not live up to his name in the last IPL, he has since shown what he is capable of in the BBL for Melbourne Stars.

Along with the big purse, they also have the most overseas slots available, and could go after some big names in Moeen Ali, and Shakib Al Hasan. Both these players provide KXIP with a much needed all-rounder option, as does Glenn Maxwell.

Kolkata Knights Riders

The collective ineffectiveness of Andre Russell and Sunil Narine hurt them the most in the last IPL. They will certainly want to look for backups for both these gun players. Chris Morris or Glenn Maxwell can be considered as options, but KKR are limited by the lowest purse available at 10.75 Cr. They can also consider a few Indian players in Shivam Dube or Kedar Jadhav.

Rajasthan Royals

RR are forming a habit of releasing their erstwhile captains … first Ajinkya Rahane, and now Steven Smith. Both these players have played an integral part in the franchise, and replacing them hasn’t added any value to their fortunes. They look balanced on paper with power hitters like Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and their current captain Sanju Samson.

They might want to add some support for Jofra Archer and might consider any of Nathan Coulter Nile, James Pattinson, or Mitchell McClenaghan. With 3 leg-spin bowlers in their squad, they can also bring in Harbhajan Singh for some off-spin variety. With one of the heftier purses at the auction, RR strategy at the auction could play a vital role in their fortunes this season.

Royal challengers Bangalore

Having released almost half their squad, RCB now need to have a backup for literally every position, apart from maybe the opening batsmen.

Moeen Ali, who was released by RCB, recently gave a live audition to Kohli by taking his wicket and then bludgeoning his bowlers for an 18 ball 43. A serious reason to consider buying him back. They also need some fast bowling options and could be in a 3-way-fight with RR & MI for Nathan Coulter Nile, James Pattinson, or Mitchell McClenaghan.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

SRH are expected to be the quietest at the auction. Not just because they have the least money to spend at 10.75 Cr. Not just because they have only 1 overseas slot left. Not just because they can’t fit in any overseas players with Warner, Williamson, Rashid, Bairstow, Holder, and Nabi already in their team. It’s because they already have the most balanced team and haven’t released any integral player from their squad.

This is not a full-fledged auction. But trust the teams to ostensibly defy logic and make some surprise buys. What can be said with certainty is that the pacers will be in much demand at the auction. And as it happens so often, Glenn Maxwell will fetch top dollar.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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