With the Indian Premier League in 2021 likely to be held in India after mini-auctions, a lot of teams are likely to retain their core of players before the same. However, the auction provides an excellent opportunity to address issues that the team might have and to bolster key areas in which teams might be lacking. In that vein, the presence of a consistent Indian fast-bowler is of paramount importance to an IPL side as it not only strengthens the pace attack but also provides an opportunity to go for overseas batsmen in the line-up.
One such player who might be in demand in the auction is S Sreesanth who is making his return to cricket after a 7-year gap due to a ban for spot-fixing. The Kerala pacer was found guilty of spot-fixing during the IPL when he represented the Rajasthan Royals in 2013 along with two other players. But with the ban having been lifted and having returned to competitive action through the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, Sreesanth will be raring to go.
These are the five teams who might eye Sreesanth in the auction.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) are a team that are always known for their potent bowling attack. They’ve arguably had the best bowling attack over the course of the last five years. With the likes of Sandeep Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed and T Natarajan to go with overseas stars like Jason Holder, SRH seem to have all bases covered with regard to their pace attack.
However, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar being prone to injuries, Sreesanth might make for a welcome addition into the squad to strengthen an already fearsome attack. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Hyderabad franchise go for the Kerala pacer in the 2021 auction.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The bowling attack has more often than not, been a worry for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). For the next year, they will be without South African fast-bowler Dale Steyn as well. Sreesanth could thus be eyed to fill in the absence of the Proteas ace. It would also be of help to Indian pacers like Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj who are in the line-up.
Saini and Siraj are two pacers who have international experience but they tend to be a tad expensive in the IPL. Thus, the addition of Sreesanth could bode well for the team and offer an extra option to go for.
Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) suffered a rare off-year in 2020 as they failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in their history. Their batting never looked consistent and their bowling attack kept leaking runs. Although Indian pacers, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur were decent with their efforts, the bowling unit did not come together as a unit.
The addition of Sreesanth could, like with RCB, provide an extra option and a dynamic. With CSK expected to go for a lot of changes and buys in the auction, Sreesanth’s acquisition could prove to be a wise one.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) was the team that Sreesanth played for before his ban and a comeback tale for the same team could be one for the ages. The franchise are in desperate need of an assured Indian fast bowler to complement Jofra Archer as well. Indian pacers like Ankit Rajpoot, Jaydev Unadkat and Varun Aaron have all proved to be inconsistent for the side.
If Sreesanth is thus, acquired in the auction, he could make for a fearsome bowling attack along with Archer. With the pace of Archer and the swing of Sreesanth, opposition teams might find the Powerplay difficult to navigate.
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are a side who had arguably no issues to address with regard to their batting, apart from the form of Glenn Maxwell. Their bowling attack however, was taken to the cleaners on many an occasion and hence, there is an urgent need to strengthen the same. With Mohammad Shami being the only dependable bowler, there is a need for somebody to perform alongside him.
This is where Sreesanth’s addition might prove to be a clever move. The pacer has also already played for the franchise and like with RR, it could be a comeback story for the ages.