The eleventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to be staged this summer but prior to the gala event is the even more festive IPL auctions, made further colourful this year with all franchises set to undergo a near-complete revamp. The auctions are scheduled to take place on the 27 and 28 January with 1122 players registering and 578 of them finalised to go under the hammer.
With the chaos around base prices settled, we have a complete list of the capped and uncapped players across nations enrolled for this year's auctions. With a slew of Twenty20 (T20) leagues around the world, IPL franchises have a lot of background work to do in this upcoming week. The auctions create heroes every year and this one could be no different.
Here we put together a list of five players who could very well punch above their weight at the auction.
A rather unlikely candidate to create headlines at the auctions, the Black Caps leg-spinner was quite a handful for India's batsmen " who are supposedly adept against spin bowling " when New Zealand toured the sub-continent last year and in the World T20 a year before that.
An attacking bowler with handy variations, Sodhi made a huge impact in the Big Bash League in the 2016-17 season where he represented the Adelaide Strikers as an injury replacement for Chris Jordan. He made just three appearances, taking nine wickets at an average of 7.77 and a splendid economy rate of 6.08. He capped off his season with a terrific 6/11.
At a base price of 50 lakhs, Sodhi could be a name that most franchises will have on their agenda come the auctions. Leg-spinners are highly sought after and recent form also augers well for the Kiwi. He might well go for a few crores this time around.
Not many knew Rahul Tripathi before he opened the batting for Rising Pune Supergiant alongside Ajinkya Rahane in the 2017 IPL and outscored his senior partner and quite a few others in the side. The Jharkhand boy was Pune's second highest run-scorer behind Steven Smith, compiling 391 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 146.44.
He looked every bit the kind of opener T20 franchises are on the lookout for, and an outrageous 93 against Kolkata Knight Riders showed that he had the temperament to thrive and score big.
What really stood out in Tripathi's debut season was his consistency. He made six consecutive scores of 30 or more in the season, thus becoming a mainstay in the Pune line-up. Ranji Trophy season 2017-18 also went reasonably well for him (2 hundreds and 2 half-centuries) and there is every possibility of Tripathi going for more than ten times his base price of 20 lakh.
This sensational fast bowler, born in West Indies, is setting the Big Bash League alight with his eye-catching bowling and electric fielding. With a capability to hit speeds in excess of 150kmph quite regularly and armed with a toe crushing yorker to go with well disguised slower balls, Archer is a well rounded package.
The Hobart Hurricane fans have seen this Sussex seam bowler at his very best this season and those who have watched him will vouch for his supernatural abilities. Whether it be pulling off one-handed stunners or effecting run-outs from the boundary or cleaning up batsmen by knocking over their helmets onto the stumps, Archer is always involved in the game in one way or the other, a quality that you associate with brilliant T20 players.
" KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 10, 2018
With 15 wickets in nine matches, he is the second highest wicket-taker in the Big Bash League this season, but more than the sheer numbers, it is his match-winning abilities that will attract IPL franchises.
An opening bowler and an opening batsman, Washington Sundar first came into limelight during the Under-19 World Cup in 2016. He later hogged headlines in the Tamil Nadu Premier League with his all-round performances in 2017. He had already earned an IPL call-up to Rising Pune Supergiant after Ravichandran Ashwin suffered an injury in the 2017 season but it was the TNPL that catapulted him into the senior national team.
At 18, Sundar has already matured beyond his age and is tailor-made for this format of the game. In the TNPL last year, he opened the batting for Albert Tuticorin Patriots and topped the run charts with 459 runs in 9 matches at an average of 76.50 with a hundred and three half-centuries. This was in addition to being second highest wicket-taker in the season (15 in 9 matches at 12.73).
With skiddy off-breaks and exceptional control, Sundar is every bit a modern day T20 bowler. A miserly economy of 6.30 in this format of the game further makes him a valuable option. With a base price of 1.5 crores, Sundar doesn't come cheap but with the kind of skills in his repertoire, that figure could multiply at the auctions.
Smashing a hundred in a 20-over game is a big deal. Making two of them at international level in a year was unheard of until Colin Munro, that marauding big-hitter from New Zealand, did it in 2017.
The southpaw is a deadly striker of the ball and made 277 runs last year in eight T20s at an average of 39.57 and an eye-popping strike rate of 163.90. That he wasn't just a blindfolded club batsman was proven last year where he found considerable success in international cricket. 2018 has also started on a brilliant note for him, with a third T20 hundred against the West Indies coming three days into the new year.
Openers are precious in this format of the game and ones who can strike big and score big are worth their weight in gold. Munro can do all of this and chip in with the ball too which puts him in the driver seat to bag a huge paycheck this IPL season. It is rather unlikely that any franchise would get his services for a base price of 50 lakhs. Multiply it by 10, will you?