2019 IPL Auction: 10 Indian Domestic First-Timers to Watch Out For
It is only fitting that this year’s auctions of the Indian Premier League will be held in Jaipur. With the IPL getting bigger and better than ever, it has almost achieved a royal status, at least among the Indian masses.
Just one short of entering the teens, the IPL has seen over 1,000 players registered for the auction this year. Out of these, 746 are Indian players who would be hopeful of earning a fortune.
Indeed, there are some names which are waiting for their turn to become tomorrow’s Hardik Pandyas and Jasprit Bumrahs.
Let’s have a look at ten such Indian domestic first-timers who are possibly standing at the cusp of IPL glory.
1. Ravikumar Samarth (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
In recent times, whenever openers Prithvi Shaw or Mayank Agarwal are either drafted in the Indian squad or miss the India ‘A’ matches for some other reason, Ravikumar Samarth is the first choice of the selectors for the opening spot.
The 25-year-old made his first-class debut for Karnataka in the 2013-14 Ranji Trophy season and has been around for a while now. His biggest assets are his solid batting style and unwavering consistency. Samarth top-scored for Karnataka in the 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy and would certainly be one of the options that the franchises would be eager to bag.
2. Shivam Dubey (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
Shivam Dubey made headlines after he clobbered veteran leggie Pravin Tambe for five sixes in an over during the eliminator of Mumbai T20 league earlier in 2018. After setting a base price of INR 20 lakhs for himself, Dubey failed to crack the 2018 IPL auctions. However, come 2019, his fortunes are most certainly expected to flip.
The 25-year-old all-rounder made his T20 debut for Mumbai during the 2015-16 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. In 13 T20s that he has played so far, the southpaw has scored at a strike rate of almost 150 and has also picked up 10 scalps.
His heroics have even impressed former cricketers. Sunil Gavaskar has gone as far as comparing the explosive batsman to the likes of Saurav Ganguly and Yuvraj Singh. Gavaskar believes that the Mumbai player can be a hot-pick at the auctions.
3. Rajneesh Gurbani (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
It became a point of debate when despite being the second-highest wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy 2017-18 season, Rajneesh Gurbani went unsold at the IPL 2018 auctions. His hat-trick against Delhi in the Ranji Trophy last year was also widely appreciated.
The right-arm medium pacer may not be express but consistently hits over the 130 kmph mark and also skids off the surface. His bowling style is a bit like Bhuvneshwar Kumar with his stock delivery leaving the right-hander. Given some assistance from the pitch, Gurbani is a handful and guarantees two-three tight overs upfront.
4. Arun Karthik (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
Arun Karthik is a name that needs no introduction in the cricketing circles of Tamil Nadu. Karthik guided his side Madurai Panthers to the title with an unbeaten 75 in a low scoring final this year. He showed exemplary judgment and nous to achieve the feat. Karthik pocketed the player of the tournament as he ended as the highest run-getter with 472 runs at an average of almost 80! These 472 runs also included six half-centuries; a stat screaming of consistency.
Karthik is not someone who has modelled his game on slam-bang cricket only. He has a first-class batting average of over 45 and can also fill in as a makeshift wicket-keeper, which further makes him a hot buy.
5. Diwesh Pathania (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
Diwesh Pathania shot into the spotlight when he made a dream debut for Services in the 2015-16 Ranji Trophy season. The Army man bagged nine wickets in his first match and has been going strong since.
Interestingly, the right-arm medium pacer started playing the sport seriously only in 2010. At 29 years of age, Diwesh does not have too much time left being a pacer. Hence, he is giving it his all now. In the ongoing Ranji season, he has pocketed 25 wickets from 5 matches at 22.28 apiece and best match figures of 8/90.
6. Priyank Panchal (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
Despite finishing the 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season as the highest run-getter with a mind-boggling 1,310 runs in 10 matches at an average of 87.33 and the highest score of 314*, Priyank Panchal couldn’t land a contract in the IPL 2018 auction. However, the feisty Gujarat batsman did not let that deter him as he backed his 2016-17 performance with another stellar Ranji season, where he scored at an impressive average of 60.22.
IPL or no IPL, Panchal continues to stack up runs for his state team. He was the highest run-getter in the 2018-19 Vijay Hazare Trophy for Gujarat with 367 runs at an average of 52.42. In the ongoing Ranji season as well, Panchal has already scored 667 runs in 5 matches at an average of 83.37 and is gunning for an IPL contract.
7. Rasikh Salam (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
Seventeen-year-old Jammu and Kashmir pacer Rasikh Salam followed the footsteps of Parvez Rasool, to come within striking distance of getting an IPL contract. On the back of exciting performances in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, Salam has been shortlisted among the 227 Indians set to go under the hammer in the auctions.
The prodigy has already earned praise from Rasool and J&K’s player-cum-mentor Irfan Pathan. The fact that the pacer had been called for trials by Mumbai Indians further raises hopes of him landing an IPL contract.
8. Kedar Devdhar (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
Looks like Baroda’s Kedar Devdhar has his top-gear at the perfect time. With an unbeaten hundred against Vidarbha, duly backed up with a mammoth 224 against Saurashtra in the current Ranji season, Kedar Devdhar would have come in sight of the IPL scouts.
The Baroda born wicket-keeper showed his skills in the shortest format of the game with 411 runs from eight T20 games in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this year at an average of 58.71. In the Vijay Hazare Trophy as well, Devdhar shone with 401 runs from seven list-A games, including two big centuries.
9. Sandeep Bavanaka (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
Bavanaka Sandeep is one of the few batsmen across the world whose first-class batting average touches 50. The 26-year-old is no newbie and has already played 50 first-class matches and has also smashed a double ton.
The Hyderabad batsman has already cracked two half-centuries and one century in the current Ranji season. Sandeep is also a left-arm orthodox bowler and can chip in with a couple of handy overs if need be.
10. Varun Chakravarthy (Rs 20 Lakh Base Price)
Having saved the best for the last, we now come to the inspiring and rather amusing story of Varun Chakravarthy. Chakravarthy left cricket after school and took up a regular job. His passion for the game having rekindled, he stepped back on to the field at 25.
Varun leverages his host of variations to bowl effectively at the top and in the death overs as well. The right-arm mystery spinner had a good run for the Siechem Madurai Panthers in the 2018 Tamil Nadu Premier League which has now put him on the radar of IPL teams. Easy as you like, isn’t it?
(Saksham Mishra is a freelance sports journalist, justifying hours of watching sports by scribbling down a few logical lines that might just about hold your interest. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)
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