It is that time of the year when IPL fever begins to take over, firstly with the IPL auction, as fans wait in anticipation to witness which teams bid for some of their favorite players. The IPL auction has now become an important feature in India’s cricketing calendar as players look forward to it with much interest to determine their new franchise during the next summer at the IPL.
The story isn’t too different this time around as the IPL auction is ready to take center stage in Kolkata on December 19. Being a mini-auction, the franchises have limited spots for which they can bid, to plug-in the loopholes in their already retained squads ahead of the auction.
Most of the teams have retained a settled core as they seek to build their team around them. A lot of overseas recruits who have done well in the last few IPL editions were once again entrusted to deliver for their respective franchises. A major chunk of these foreign players had fetched a hefty bid in the past few auctions before they represented their respective IPL teams.
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After investing heavily in some of these players, the franchises would be hoping that they deliver in the next season given their vast experience of playing in the IPL previously.
#5 AB de Villiers - ₹11 cr
One of the strongest pillars of the RCB setup alongside Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers has been a regular feature for the Bangalore-based franchise since IPL 2011. Known as one of the most versatile and destructive batsman across all formats, De Villiers retired from international cricket last year but still continues to represent various franchises in T20 leagues around the globe.
His reputation and the ability to play innovative shots has a lot to do with his exploits in all these editions at the IPL. Having played more than 150 matches in the league, the former South African is one of the top overseas performers in the history of the league.
In IPL 2018, it was no surprise when AB was retained by the Royal Challengers as their second retained player for INR 11 Crores. He has done exceedingly well for RCB with his unmatchable batting skills but has lacked regular support from the other end.
In IPL 2020, the batting maestro would go in as RCB's most favoured overseas player and would hope to finally win an IPL title for the die-hard RCB fans.
#4 Steve Smith - ₹12.5 Cr
The former Aussie skipper, Steve Smith was retained by Rajasthan Royals ahead of the 13th edition of IPL in 2020. Smith, who missed IPL 2018 vis-à-vis to the aftermath of the Sandpaper gate saga, made a comeback for the Royals in IPL 2019. He struggled at the beginning with a few low scores but got back into the groove as the season went along.
In 2020, Smith will return as the full-time skipper for the Jaipur-based franchise. The Australian cricketer is in some really good nick after his Ashes exploits and would want to carry the momentum even in IPL next year. It would be a great opportunity to redeem himself and repay the faith invested in him by the franchise.
He will be crucial to Rajasthan's chances in IPL next year as someone who has the experience of leading Australia in the past. Being their most expensive retained overseas recruit alongside Ben Stokes, a lot will rest upon him to carry the side through the entire season.
#3 Ben Stokes - ₹12.5 Cr
The England all-rounder, Ben Stokes has always been the hot property in the IPL auction ever since his debut in the auction in 2017. After an affluent outing in IPL 2017 for Rising Pune SuperGiant, the prolific all-rounder was bought by Rajasthan Royals in 2018. Unfortunately, Stokes couldn't live up to the expectations and miserably failed to produce any notable performances for the next couple of seasons.
However, the Royals have yet again retained him with a hope of him turning his fortunes around in IPL 2020. Being one of their most experienced players, the franchise will want Stokes to bring his A-game to the fore with his hard-hitting prowess complemented with his accurate bowling. He also happens to be their most expensive retained player alongside skipper Steve Smith.
Stokes will arrive in the league as one of the best overseas bets given his recent white-ball exploits that powered England to greater heights in world cricket. It will be crucial for Rajasthan that Stokes experiences a phenomenal season either with the bat or with the ball so as to see them through to the last four.
#2 Sunil Narine - ₹12.5 Cr
A T20 specialist in every sense of the word, Sunil Narine will once again don the purple and gold for Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL 2020. The Caribbean hard-hitting all-rounder, Narine was retained by the Kolkata-based franchise as one of their key members who will continue to extend his association with the franchise for the ninth year in a row.
Playing for KKR in the 13th edition, Sunil will fetch INR 12.5 Crores to mark the franchise's most expensive retained player ahead of the auction. The 31-year old all-rounder has been a run-away match winner for KKR, both with the bat and the ball.
His inspired promotion to the opening slot was a masterstroke by the Knight Riders. As a pinch-hitter, Narine was instrumental in setting the tone for KKR and has been extremely bankable with his crafty and deceptive off-spin.
Even in the season ahead, he will look to continue the good work and put aside the disappointment from the last season and perform to the best of his abilities.
#1 David Warner - ₹12.5 Cr
The most successful overseas batsman in IPL history, David Warner continues to enhance his reputation as a destructive opener year after year. His love affair for runs in IPL hasn't taken a back seat as the southpaw has managed to score 500+ runs in each of the last five seasons he has played for Sunrisers Hyderabad. He was also the Orange Cap holder last year after making up for the lost opportunity in IPL 2018.
It was no surprise that the Australian opener was retained for a hefty price of INR 12.5 Crores. SRH has been Warner's second home and he has delivered handsomely for the franchise in each of his outings at the IPL.
In the IPL 2020, the pocket-size dynamo, as he is usually called, will be right in the middle of things for the Orange Army, with his recent return to form. The franchise will hope that he experiences yet another blistering season with the bat and this team in a successful IPL campaign to take the team across the finishing line.