The IPL is set for an early start this time with the World Cup approaching in May 2019. The Player Auction was held in Jaipur on 18th December, which was a subdued one when compared to the previous year's bigger one but there were few surprise buys and few uncapped and unknown players being paid a lot of money.
Few of the top buys were Varun Chakravarthy ( 8.4 Cr), Jaydev Unadkat ( 8.4 Cr), Sam Curran ( 7.2 Cr) and Colin Ingram( 6.4 Cr). There were a few players relatively unknown to most and the teams had clearly opted for younger talent than older players and that showed in the omission of Brendon McCullum, lack of bidding for Yuvraj Singh which gave him away cheaply to Mumbai Indians.
Here are unknown players in each team who can shine.
Selection Criterion: Players must either be uncapped or must not be such a well known and popular player
#1- Kings XI Punjab: Varun Chakravarthy
Varun Chakravarthy is certainly a popular player now with the media bandwagon and social media flooding with reports on the auction. But not much is known about the mystery spinner who returned to playing cricket after 7 years and within 2 years, finds himself in the Kings XI Punjab's den.
His action is similar to that of an off-spinner but he claims to have 7 different variations which he can release with the same bowling action. With limited domestic cricket telecasted, experts found it hard to analyse his bowling and this mystery factor might very well be his greatest strength.
While in the past, many mystery spinners and uncapped players who have been paid a lot of money have failed, Varun could succeed in Kings XI colors especially after Mujeeb ur Rahman, another mystery spinner's success last season. Though it'll be interesting to see where he will fit in, Varun is the biggest unknown entity of the tournament.
KXIP also have Hardus Viljoen, the Proteas pacer who topped the wickets' charts in the T10 League and was the 'Player of the Tournament' competing with T20 cricket's biggest names yet most people don't seem to know him. He can be a real asset in case the IPL is shifted to South Africa.
#2- Delhi Capitals: Sherfane Rutherford
The West-Indian batsman was a great pick for the Delhi Capitals who had a great time at the auction. He will be familiar to those who followed the Caribbean Premier League or the T10 League but for others, he's an unknown entity.
He has the most chance of getting chances in this talent-filled Delhi side. A perfect replacement for someone like Maxwell, Rutherford is a big hitter, handy with the ball, and is filled with energy on the field. The 20 year old might become a sensation as the season progresses and enough chances provided to him.
#3- Royal Challengers Bangalore: Prayas Ray Burman
Shivam Dube, the big-hitting Mumbai all-rounder bagged 5 Crore from the RCB camp while Shimron Hetmyer bagged 4.2 Crore. While these players are known entities, there was one signing which surprised most people. It was that of Prayas Ray Burman, the 16 year old leg spinner.
Prayas Ray Barman is a leg-spinner from Bengal and is almost certain of getting chances this time around. With Yuzvendra Chahal being the only better option, Prayas can be a replacement for him. Virat Kohli, who was concerned about the fitness about the Indian main players, is the captain of this team and will want to rest him if the RCB are in a good position. Thus, Prayas can make it big in a very experienced RCB camp.
#4- Kolkata Knight Riders: Joe Denly and Harry Gurney
Joe Denly, the England opening batsman can be the perfect replacement for someone like Chris Lynn. A clever batsman who can accelerate when required and is similar to someone like Jonny Bairstow or Alex Hales, he was a smart buy for an amount of 1 Crore. He bowls valuable leg spin and picked up a Man of the Match award playing for the national side in a T20 match against Sri Lanka where he picked up 5 wickets.
Harry Gurney has tons of experience bowling in T20s and has picked up 132 wickets in 114 matches with a good economy of 7.77 and average of 22.89. Gurney can shine if given chances along with Lockie Ferguson and justify KKR's decision to go for relatively unknown players.
#5- Mumbai Indians: Anmolpreet Singh
Anmolpreet Singh was signed by the Mumbai Indians for 80 Lakh and has a lot of chances of becoming the next youth product to come from the team.
He had a great Vijay Hazare Trophy where he scored 314 runs in 3 matches with 2 centuries and had a good outing for the India A side as well. The young Punjab batsman can shine if given chances at the top of the order and in case the team wants to rest players.
#6- Rajasthan Royals: Ashton Turner
Ashton Turner was signed by the Rajasthan Royals for 50 Lakh. Not much is known about the Perth Scorchers middle order batsman except for those who follow the BBL as well as Australian cricket.
Turner has good stats in the Big Bash League and has scored 650 runs in 36 innings with a decent average of 26 and a great strike rate of 147.12 in his appearances. Turner can replace players like Jos Buttler and provide a different option for them up top. He can also play the role of a finisher, something which they lack and can be a valuable player towards the business end of the tournament.
#7- Sunrisers Hyderabad: Abhishek Sharma
Abhishek Sharma was one of the 3 players traded by the Delhi Capitals to the SRH in return for Shikhar Dhawan. SRH has always been a team which has made smart moves both on the auction table and off it and they have realized the immense potential this youngster possesses. Abhishek Sharma is a middle-order batsman who was a revelation for Delhi in the 2 innings he played, scoring 63 runs unbeaten at a mind-boggling strike rate of 190.90.
The southpaw hit the ball a long way and SRH, who lacked power in their middle order which they expected from Deepak Hooda and Yusuf Pathan, made clever signings this year, including getting this youngster into their side without risking losing him in the auction and he can certainly shine this season.
#8- Chennai Super Kings: Ruturaj Gaikwad
The Chennai Super Kings after their return made it clear that they were going to go with experienced players and most of the players in their top players are very well known and tested players. One of their buys at the auction, Ruturaj Gaikwad was a surprise buy and the Emerging Players' Asia Cup batsman can shine provided he is given chances.
CSK aren't known for altering the team combination too much but they did provide chances to players like Dhruv Shorey last season and considering the fact that they waited for him at the auction, the young batsman might get a chance to perform and under MSD.