The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 auction held last month in Kolkata saw some interesting activity. A total of 62 players were sold, while a combined amount of Rs 140.3 crore was spent by the eight franchises.
While Australia’s fast bowler Pat Cummins created history after being purchased by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs.15.50 crore - the highest amount ever for an overseas player - his Aussie teammate Glenn Maxwell went to his former franchise Kings XI Punjab for Rs 10.75 crore.
If we look at all-rounders, Englishman Sam Curran was purchased by Chennai Super Kings for Rs 5.5 crore. Further, Marcus Stoinis and Chris Woakes went to Delhi Capitals for Rs 4.8 crore and Rs 1.5 crore respectively.
South Africa’s versatile Chris Morris was among the top buys, going to Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 10 crore.
Now, let’s take a look at five unsold all-rounders who could return as replacements.
#5 Jalaj Saxena
Jalaj Saxena is a domestic warrior who has not got his due despite consistent performances for a long period of time. An impressive batsman who can bowl very good off-spin, he went unsold at the auction at a base price of Rs 30 lakh.
Saxena was picked up by Delhi Capitals for his base price of Rs 20 lakh at the IPL 2019 auction. However, he did not get a single game, and was released.
A highly accomplished all-rounder on the Indian domestic scene, Saxena is the only cricketer with 6,000+ runs and over 300 wickets in first-class cricket not to have represented India. That says a lot about his pedigree.
Saxena earlier played for Madhya Pradesh and now turns out for Kerala in domestic cricket. Last year, he was in the news when he claimed 7 for 41 while playing for India C against India A in the Deodhar Trophy. These are the best figures in the history of the tournament.
In the Ranji Trophy encounter against Gujarat towards the end of 2019, he picked up 5 for 26 and 3 for 54 even as Kerala went down tamely.
Saxena has an impressive T20 record as bowler -- 49 wickets in 54 matches at a strike rate of 16.8 and an economy rate of 6.92.
Bangladesh all-rounder Mahmudullah went unsold at the IPL 2020 auction at a base price of Rs 75 lakh. With his experience and big-hitting ability, Mahmudullah can be a decent pick as a replacement if franchises are looking for one.
Mahmudullah, who captained Bangladesh during the T20Is in India after Shakib Al Hasan was banned, has played over 200 T20 matches and has 3,703 runs to his name at a strike rate of 119.25. With his off-spin, he has taken 100 wickets at a strike rate of 21.9.
In his most recent T20 encounter in December 2019, captaining Chattogram Challengers against Dhaka Platoon in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), he smashed 59 from 28 balls. Mahmudullah is capable of producing many more of such blazing knocks.
#3 Carlos Brathwaite
At the IPL 2019 auction, West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders for a massive Rs 5 crore. At the 2020 auction, he went unsold at a base price of Rs 50 lakh. That is some story.
Brathwaite struggled for KKR with 11 runs and no wickets in IPL 2019. However, he has come up with a couple of striking performances since.
In the Caribbean Premier League, playing for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots against Trinbago Knight Riders, he hit 64 from 30 as, chasing 217, Patriots ended on 216. In the Super Over, he smashed two sixes and a four with the bat, and gave away only five runs with the ball.
In the World Cup, he scored a brilliant 82-ball 101 against New Zealand, but was the last man out as West Indies lost by five runs. Although not consistent, Brathwaite is a match-winner on his day.
#2 Colin de Grandhomme
Despite being one of the best all-rounders in modern-day cricket across formats, New Zealand’s Colin de Grandhomme went unsold at a base price of Rs 75 lakh. He was released by Royal Challengers Bangalore after an unsuccessful IPL 2019 in which he scored only 46 runs in four games.
De Grandhomme’s overall IPL record also isn't very impressive -- 303 runs in 25 matches at an average of 18.93 and six wickets at an average of 53.16. His only performance of note is the 40 from 17 he scored for Royal Challengers Bangalore against Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2018.
However, De Grandhomme has proved his quality at the highest level. He hit crucial half-centuries against South Africa and Pakistan in the World Cup. In the final at Lord’s, he was New Zealand’s best bowler with 1 for 25.
The 33-year-old’s T20 record speaks for itself -- 3,294 runs in 194 games at a strike rate of 162.34 and 65 wickets with the ball at a strike rate of 25.
#1 Yusuf Pathan
Sunrisers Hyderabad released veteran all-rounder Yusuf Pathan after he managed just 40 runs with the bat and went wicketless in the 2019 season. He went unsold at the 2020 auction at a base price of Rs. 1 crore.
Yusuf is one of the most experienced cricketers in the IPL, having featured in every season from 2008 to 2019. In a total of 174 matches played while representing three franchises - KKR, SRH and RR - Yusuf has amassed 3,204 runs at a strike rate of 142.97.
He even has an IPL hundred to his name. With his off-spin, Yusuf has claimed 42 wickets at a strike rate of 27.30.
The 37-year-old had a decent run in 2018 with 260 runs at a strike rate of 130. It was just in 2019 that he had an exceptionally poor year.
Yes, Yusuf is definitely past his prime. But given his vast repertoire, he might still be a good choice as a replacement.