It is that time of the year again when the eight teams of the Indian Premier League will fight it out. But the action won’t take place on the 22 yards and instead will be at the auction table.
The auction for the 2020 edition of the IPL is all set to take place in Kolkata on 19 December 2019.
But before the players once again go under the hammer, the trading window will close on Thursday, 14 November. This means teams have to give their list of retained players by Thursday.
All teams have already chalked out their plan of which players to retain and let go. Some tough decisions will be made, with many big names facing the axe courtesy their performance in the last edition.
But there are a few cricketers, who despite a poor outing last time around, deserve to get a another chance.
Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings)
The Chennai Super King veteran didn’t have a great season by any standard last time around. Eleven wickets from 12 outings is what Bravo could manage at an economy over 8. This was his worst outing in any IPL edition since 2011 – his first year with the Chennai franchisee.
But, despite a bad season, the former West Indian is still a force to reckon with both the bat and the ball. Especially in the death overs, where Bravo time and again has repaid the faith Dhoni has shown in him.
With every other match in the IPL going into death overs, MS Dhoni & Co will surely give a second thought before discarding the death-over specialist.
Colin Munro (Delhi Capitals)
The hard-hitting explosive Kiwi batsman has carved out a niche as a T20 specialist in leagues across the world. But somehow he has failed to replicate it in the IPL.
Like his first two seasons, the South Africa-born New Zealand cricketer failed to make a mark in the previous edition of IPL. His 84 runs in 4 innings for Delhi Capitals in 2019 doesn’t justify his talent with the bat.
The T20 favourite has scored over 3,500 runs in the format and has three tons to his name. He also holds the record for the fastest half-century by a New Zealander in T20 cricket – in 14 balls.
Delhi Capitals, who are yet to win the IPL, can use his service for at least one more season. Who knows, this might be his breakthrough season.
Kuldeep Yadav (Kolkata Night Riders)
It was the Kolkata outfit which had unearthed this left-arm unorthodox spinner.
After two successful seasons, which saw him making his Team India debut in all three formats, Kuldeep Yadav hit a low last time around.
Such was his impact in 2017 and 2018 season, Kuldeep Yadav was retained by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 5.8 crore for the 2019 edition. He also made it to the national team, courtesy his IPL performances.
But last edition, Kuldeep was not in his elements. He could manage only 4 wickets at a dreadful average of 71.50 from 9 matches. He was literally left in tears when Royal Challenger Bangalore’s Moeen Ali slammed him for 26 in an over at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
But Kuldeep continues to be the crafty wrist spinner who can conjure wickets from nowhere and give his side the impetus.
Ishan Kishan (Mumbai Indians)
Yet to burst onto the IPL scene, wicket-keeper batsman Ishan Kishan might end up becoming a valuable asset to the Mumbai side, if given enough opportunity.
Already a regular with the India A side, the Jharkhand cricketer has played some eye-catching innings in the recent past for India A as well for his state team.
His most recent triumph is a 22-ball half-century that helped seal India A's chase of 163 in a 21-over shootout against South Africa A. Earlier in the year, in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, he scored an unbeaten century against Jammu & Kashmir. He followed it with a 113 not out, to record back-to-back centuries in the tournament.
With Rishbah Pant struggling both with the bat and the gloves, the name of Ishan Kishan has been in the reckoning, along with Sanju Samson.
His lightning innings of 62 of 21 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders in 2018 is a testimony to what Ishan is capable of.
Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)
Barring his first season, Ben Stokes is yet to replicate his international form in the IPL.
Stokes had a forgettable last season where accounted for only 123 runs from his 9 outings before he left to join the English squad ahead of the ODI World Cup. With the ball also, he hardly created a scare with his 6 wickets.
But the whole world is aware of what Stokes was capable of both with the bat and the ball. And one month later everything was out in the open.
Stokes not only led England to their maiden 50-over World Cup triumph but also was the highest scorer with the bat for the English team. From 10 innings, Stokes scored 465 runs at an average of 66.42. Remaining true to his all-round abilities, he also accounted for 7 wickets at an economy of under 5.
Despite past failure, it is always difficult to omit a cricketer of his calibre from the side.
Shimron Hetmyer (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Coming in with a big reputation, courtesy his six-hitting ability during the Windies’ limited overs tour of India in 2018, Hetmyer was hot property during the IPL auction last December.
His total of 259 runs from 5 ODIs in India, at a strike-rate of 140, made Royal Challengers Bangalore snap him up for a fee of Rs 4.2 crore.
But he had the worst possible start in IPL 2019. He was out for a duck against Chennai Super Kings in the inaugural match of the season. He followed that with scores of 5,9 and 1. After his horrible spell with the bat he was dropped for a while.
It was only in the last match of the season that Hetmyer made a comeback in the side as well as with the bat. The Windies batsman for the first time in competition looked in superb touch for his 47-ball 75. In the process, he once again displayed his six-hitting ability with 6 towering sixes.
Maybe it was a trailer of what can be expected from the Caribbean cricketer in the upcoming season.
Mohammad Nabi (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
The Afghan all-rounder had an average season with the Sunrisers last season. But it would be wrong to dismiss one of the most experienced cricketers of Afghanistan.
A dependable option with the bat and the ball, Mohammad Nabi has done well for his national side in the recent past.
In 2019, Nabi has scored 244 runs from 7 innings at an average of 55.40, including three half-centuries.
Now, the problem with Sunrisers is that they have the problem of plenty with too many overseas players doing well for them, making it difficult to ascertain the playing XI.
But a player like Nabi is always an asset and with the Afghanistan team playing in India for most part of the year, having Nabi in the side is surely an advantage.
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