While the Indian men’s cricket team are battling it out against South Africa in an ODI series away from home, IPL franchises are busy preparing for the mega auction that is coming up in February.
The latest edition of the IPL will see two new teams added, with all the franchises going in for possibly a new look squad. The likes of Ahmedabad and Lucknow, the new sides in the mix, have made their moves as well ahead of the auction.
The auction is slated to take place in the second week of February, and there is likely to be quite a few bidding wars for the talented cricketers, waiting to be signed on for the glitzy league.
The likes of Shreyas Iyer, Ishan Kishan, Shardul Thakur and Yuzvendra Chahal, to name a few, are part of the auction, and are likely to attract a few bids each as franchises try to make the best use of their resources.
Here’s a look at the Indian players who are likely to attract a few high bids at the IPL Auction.
Part of the brilliant team that the Delhi Capitals had put together under head coach Ricky Ponting, the Indian batter Shreyas Iyer was a crucial cog in the batting line-up, apart from being the captain as well.
Iyer, who took over from Gautam Gambhir for the Delhi franchise as captain in 2018, has been instrumental in the team’s turnaround and started his captaincy stint with an unbeaten match-winning knock of 93 off 40 deliveries with 10 sixes.
The next year, in 2019, he led Delhi to the playoffs after 7 years and bettered that in 2020 when Delhi reached the finals, losing to Mumbai Indians.
Iyer suffered a shoulder injury in 2021 and missed the major chunk of the tournament, but has since returned to full fitness.
With Iyer back to fitness and going full tilt whenever he takes the field, he will be a key part of any team’s set up as a batter and as a possible captain.
Will Delhi snap him up again at the auction or will another franchise break the bank for a player, who is a proven leader in terms of getting the best out of his side in the IPL?
One of India’s brightest prospects in recent seasons, Shardul has come a long way from the difficult train journeys in Mumbai and the heartbreak of the 2019 IPL final. The bowling all-rounder was one of the most important members of the Chennai Super Kings side under captain MS Dhoni in the last couple of years, and played an important role in their title run-in in 2021.
He finished with 21 wickets in 16 games for CSK and was the fourth highest wicket taker in the season as well.
Not just for CSK, but in the India colours too, Shardul has responded in emphatic fashion every time the team has needed a wicket.
Lord Thakur as his fans have named him, has more often than not come up trumps whenever his team has needed it, across formats and will no doubt be a very handy part of any playing XI in the IPL.
On the back of his recent good showing in the India colours, one expects him to bag a big contract at the auction. Will we see him back in the yellow of CSK though?
A new entrant to India’s enviable pace bowling set-up, Avesh was among the best bowlers in the IPL in 2021, picking 24 wickets from 16 outings, finishing the season as the second best behind Harshal Patel.
2021 was Avesh’s first proper season in the IPL and in the absence of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje and he was impressive right from the get go.
The right arm pacer was instrumental as the Rishabh Pant led Delhi qualified for the knockouts yet again in 2021, striking telling blows for his side.
His spell of 3/15 against the Mumbai Indians and that of 3/32 against the Rajasthan Royals was testament to his abilities to do well under pressure.
There have been calls to bring him into the Indian set up after his IPL performances and make no mistake that more than a few franchises will be interested in a bowler who can cause serious damage to the opposition.
IPL 2021’s highest wicket-taker, Harshal Patel’s impactful performances were crucial for the Royal Challengers Bangalore as they made it to the knockouts.
Patel finished the season with 32 wickets equalling CSK all-rounder Dwayne Bravo’s record from IPL 2013. His ability to stop the batters from getting away in the final overs played a big part in RCB’s success last season and there is little doubt in the fact that he will look to repeat the same act in the next season.
His variations and yorkers were his most potent weapons against the big hitting batters in IPL 2021 and is definitely an asset for any team. RCB benefitted massively from his bowling abilities as he brought the team back into the contest with important wickets last season.
Harshal himself has said that he’d love to go back to RCB but the franchise is unlikely to have it easy at the auction table where other franchises might just look to prise him away.
The left-handed wicketkeeper batter has been one of the stars for the Mumbai Indians, the most decorated team in the IPL, and can be among the most dangerous oppositions to deal with.
Ishan Kishan’s abilities with the bat are well documented and it would be a surprise if a batter of his quality does not bag a big price at the auction. The southpaw can destroy opposition bowling attacks with his fluent strokeplay and even though the 2021 season wasn’t his best, counting him out in that aspect could spell danger.
Among his most majestic knocks was the 99 he scored off 58 deliveries against RCB in IPL 2021 and has the potential to do some severe damage.
He’s even shown some of that potential on the international stage when men’s ODI World Champions England came to India.
Not only can he score at a good clip but also Kishan is flexible in terms of his batting position, which makes him all the more valuable in a format like T20 where one has to adjust plans and strategy on the go.
Experienced and on the comeback trail after a couple of poor seasons, Yuzvendra Chahal on his day can be a big asset for any side’s bowling composition. He was one of the reasons for RCB’s good showing in IPL 2021, where he turned on the style in the second half, finishing with 18 wickets from 15 games.
The Indian leg-spinner is the leading wicket-taker of RCB in IPL with 139 wickets from 113 games.
Since the second half of the IPL, Chahal, who missed out on the 2021 T20 World Cup, has been in fine form and has also made his way back into the Indian team.
The upturn in his career graph has no doubt done him a world of good and that has reflected in his bowling performances as well.
An attacking option in the bowling unit, Chahal can be expensive on occasions but his ability to get the crucial breakthrough in the middle overs has been one of his biggest assets.
The return to form augurs well for the 31-year-old ahead of the IPL Auction and is surely going to be one of the most sought-after spinners in the mix.
Only recently back in the scheme of things in white-ball cricket with the Indian team, R Ashwin has been in fine form over the last couple of seasons.
In his last three seasons, Ashwin has picked 35 wickets in the IPL, of which one season was for the Punjab franchise before he joined Delhi Capitals in 2020.
Not one to take things lying down at any moment, Ashwin was an important part of the Delhi Capitals set up, where he and Axar Patel worked together to keep the opposition batters from scoring big runs.
Even though he is probably at his most effective in red-ball cricket, Ashwin’s ability to keep the batters in check goes a long way in helping the rest of the bowling add more pressure.
The ace off-break bowler has more often than not found the solution in difficult times for his side and will be keen to prove a point, yet again, in the IPL this season.
Even though age is not on his side, the 35-year-old has a fair bit to offer with the ball and more recently with his much-improved batting. His return to the Indian white-ball set up also augurs well for him ahead of the Auction.