It’s time for the spectacle before the spectacle! The IPL auction 2021 will take place in Chennai on Thursday, February 18. The auction will give teams an opportunity to fill up the gaps in their respective squads. Though this is only a mini auction, it boasts of quite a few big names. Here’s a look at seven overseas stars that will be the centre of all attention.
Australia’s limited overs captain has played for eight different IPL teams over the years, and finds himself in the auction pool once again. Finchy may not have the greatest IPL record, but it doesn’t change the fact that he is one of the most prolific run-getters in T20 cricket. He holds the highest individual score in T20 internationals (172), and is the only player to register two 150+ scores. He could be a good addition to CSK or KKR’s squads, both of whom are searching for an explosive opening batsman.
The tall South African can bowl effectively at the death with the ball, and can wield the long handle with the bat lower down the order. It’s quite inexplicable why RCB let him go after a decent showing last season. Morris had triggered a bidding war between multiple franchises in the previous auction, and we’re positive that he’ll have no trouble finding another team for himself this time around either. The Mumbai Indians will be looking for an overseas pacer to join their ranks, and Morris fits right in.
England’s Dawid Malan is yet to feature in the IPL, but could well take the tournament by storm in 2021. With an average of 53 and strike rate of 149, Malan is the top ranked T20I batsman in the world at present. He could be an ideal buy for the Rajasthan Royals, who struggled with stability in the top order last season. The Royal Challengers Bangalore, who continue to be overly dependent on Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers with the bat, may also bid for him.
Irrespective of his form, Glenn Maxwell always manages to create a stir in every auction he participates in. The maverick Aussie all-rounder was given the pink slip by Kings XI Punjab after a lean 2020 season. Maxwell possesses the rare ability to turn the game on its head with his explosive batting, which is why teams are always interested in acquiring him. RCB, whose top heavy batting line-up lacks an effective finisher down the order, may be interested in him.
The Englishman was bought by the Delhi Capitals for Rs 1.50 crore in the last auction, but injury kept him out of the tournament. Roy is one of the most explosive openers in world cricket today, and is likely generate buzz at the auction. Among those interested in him could be the Kolkata Knight Riders, who are looking for an opening batsman to join their ranks. The Chennai Super Kings too, are looking for an experienced opener to replace Shane Watson.
Shakib Al Hasan
Arguably the best limited overs all-rounder on the planet, Shakib Al Hasan missed the last season of the IPL following a two-year suspension from cricket. He is now back and raring to go. His seasoned left-arm spin could spark the attention of the Mumbai Indians, who lack an experienced spinner in their otherwise solid lineup. The Bangladeshi is also a reliable hand with the bat in the top order, which could get the Rajasthan Royals to bid for him at the auction.
Rajasthan Royals parted ways with their skipper after a dismal last season. Steve Smith is without doubt one of the best batsman across formats in the world today, but T20 teams around the world today are increasingly preferring short-format specialists over anchors. With no team (apart from Rajasthan themselves) looking in need of a middle-order anchor, there is a possibility of Smith going unsold this time around. He may, however, find a bid from CSK, who would be looking for a potential successor to MS Dhoni as captain of the side.
The IPL auction 2021 will begin on Thursday, February 18 at 3.30pm. Fans can catch the auction live on the Star Sports network, Disney+ Hotstar and Jio TV.