The auction for Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 is all set to be held in Kolkata tomorrow. As many as 332 players, short-listed from a total of 971, will go under the hammer, hoping to land one of the 73 slots available. Of the 332 cricketers, 186 are Indian players while the other 146 foreign players also feature three players from associate nations.
If one looks at the remaining purse with the franchises, Kings XI Punjab the biggest amount left, with ₹42.70 crores while Mumbai Indians have the least, with ₹13.05 crore. Further, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have the most slots available with 12 (6 overseas) while Chennai Super Kings have the least slots to fill with 5 (2 overseas).
Like every year, this time too all-rounders are likely to be in demand at the auction. Every franchise would like at least a couple of players with versatile skills, who can turn games around with either the bat, ball, or in the field. So, here’s a look at five all-rounders most franchises might target at the auctions.
#5 Sam Curran (Base price: ₹1 crore)
Talented England all-rounder Sam Curran was purchased by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 7.2 crore at the last IPL auction. However, he was released by the franchise after he managed 95 runs from nine games at a strike rate of 172.72 and 10 wickets with the ball.
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Curran, though, is likely to be in demand again. He has the ability to make things happen, with both bat and ball. This was evident in the Test series against India last year when his T20-style fifties and crucial wickets brought about a few key wins.
In the recently-concluded T20Is against New Zealand, he did chip in with a few important wickets. Curran has an impressive record in T20Is. In 69 games, he has 838 runs at a strike rate of 130.93 and 63 wickets at a strike rate of 21. He should get a reasonably high bid again.
#4 Colin de Grandhomme (Base price: ₹75 lakh)
Colin de Grandhomme has been an unsung hero in the New Zealand team for a few years now. He was released by Royal Challengers Bangalore after a poor IPL 2019 in which he scored only 46 runs in four games. His overall IPL record also doesn’t make for great reading -- 303 runs in 25 matches at an average of 18.93 and six wickets at an average of 53.16. However, given a consistent run by a franchise, he could make an impact.
De Grandhomme is one of the cleanest hitters of the cricket ball in the modern era. His skills came to the fore during the World Cup, when he hit quick half-centuries against South Africa and Pakistan, just when the team needed them. In the final at Lord’s, he was New Zealand’s best bowler with 1 for 25.
De Grandhomme walked away with the man of the match award in the Nelson T20I series against England last month, smashing 55 from 35. At the IPL level, his 40 from 17 for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2018 remains his knock of note. Clearly, he can do a lot more, as evident from his T20 record -- 3,294 runs at a strike rate of 162.34 and 65 wickets with the ball.
#3 Carlos Brathwaite (Base price: ₹50 lakh)
Whatever he does for the rest of his career, Carlos Brathwaite’s name is likely to remain forever synonymous with the four sixes he hit off Ben Stokes to help Windies to World T20 glory in 2016. This was after he had claimed 3 for 23 with the ball.
And, even though Brathwaite hasn’t converted his great start into consistency as yet, he remains a key figure in West Indies’ limited-overs outfit.
Brathwaite impressed in the Caribbean Premier League match earlier this year. Playing for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots against Trinbago Knight Riders, he first smashed 64 from 30 as, chasing 217, Patriots ended on 216. In the Super Over, he then hit two sixes and a four with the willow, before conceding only five runs with the ball. It was the kind of performance that wouldn’t have gone unnoticed.
He made an impact in the World Cup as well with one astonishing knock, an 82-ball 101 against New Zealand, which unfortunately went in vain as West Indies fell short by five runs. Brathwaite was released by KKR after featuring in just two games. Consistency is not something one can expect from the West Indian all-rounder as yet. But, on his day, he is unstoppable.
#2 James Neesham (Base price: ₹50 lakh)
New Zealand high-quality all-rounder James Neesham surprisingly went unsold at the IPL auction last year. But, it will be a surprise if he is not picked this time. The medium-pacer and left-handed batsman is equally capable with both the ball and ball and is an excellent fielder as well.
He made significant contributions right through the World Cup as Kiwis made their second successive final. In fact, Neesham claimed three wickets in the humdinger of a final, and also affected the run-out that took the match to the Super Over. Batting in the Super Over, he hit 13 off 5 balls including a massive six off Jofra Archer, but the Kiwis fell inches short of lifting the title.
In the 2nd T20I against England at Wellington in November this year, he smashed 42 off 22 balls to play a key role in Kiwis’ win. He has a very good T20 record -- 1,531 runs in 112 games at a strike rate of 137.80, and 106 wickets at a strike rate of 16.6. On current form, Neesham could end up being a popular choice at the auction.
#1 Marcus Stoinis (Base price: ₹1 crore)
Aussie all-rounder Marcus Stoinis may have been dropped from the ODI and T20 national squads, but he remains a force to reckon with on the domestic circuit. Stoinis was traded from Kings XI Punjab to Royal Challengers Bangalore for ₹6.2 Crore, and he did a decent job with the bat in IPL 2019 as he scored 211 runs in 10 matches for RCB at a strike rate of 135.25.crore
While Stoinis got some quick runs with the bat, he managed only two wickets with the ball. With experience under his belt, Stoinis was expected to deliver a lot more, but could not, and that was one of the key reasons behind his release from the RCB squad.
A utility cricketer, Stoinis has continued to perform well at the domestic level and has come up with some very good performances for Western Australia over the last couple of months. He was the man of the match in a close game of the Marsh Cup against Victoria in October, where he was at his best with 45 and 3 for 20, his renowned death bowling again making the difference. With a batting strike rate of 125.18 and 19.1 with the ball in T20s, Stoinis is likely to remain in demand in the format.