With the auction for the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) looming, franchises are bound to have their plans in place by now. 292 players will go under the hammer and 8 franchises will be out to get them. The teams have already announced their full list of retained as well as released players. Further, a few deals have also been completed during the trade window. It is now over to the auction to shape each team’s final look.
Mumbai Indians (MI) won the title last year for a record 5th time and they will once again be favourites to lift the trophy this year. This is especially because it has been reported that all league matches might take place in and around Mumbai due to the bio-bubble restrictions. Therefore, all other teams will be out to stop MI this year.
Ahead of the auction that will take place on February 18, we take a look at one batsman each franchise would want to sign at the auction.
Mumbai Indians – Mohammed Azharuddeen
Kerala batsman Mohammed Azharuddeen lit up the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this year with a scintillating 37-ball century. He caught the attention of many an expert and cricketers around the country. He could hence be a good back up option for defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) to fill in for potential injuries or for matches where rotation is desirable. MI might hence, be tempted to bid for him in the auction.
Delhi Capitals – Glenn Maxwell
Glenn Maxwell had a forgettable IPL season last year for the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) which saw him being released ahead of the auction. He would be desperate to prove his worth and he might be a good fit for the Delhi Capitals (DC) coached by his countryman, Ricky Ponting. DC didn’t have a reliable finisher apart from Marcus Stoinis and after the all-rounder was promoted up the order, the lower order did seem weak.
Sunrisers Hyderabad – KS Bharat
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) who had a more than decent IPL season last year seem to have all their bases covered. However, they might ideally need a wicket-keeper batsman especially since Jonny Bairstow wasn’t preferred towards the latter end of last season. With Wriddhiman Saha aging and Sreevats Goswami not looking promising, Hyderabad’s KS Bharat could be a good choice as a wicket-keeper batsman.
Royal Challengers Bangalore – Dawid Malan
Dawid Malan has had one of the most meteoric rises in recent history. The Englishman has swiftly made a name for himself as one of the most reliable batters in the world especially in the T20 format, reaching the no. 1 ranking in T20Is. Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) who released Aaron Finch will be in need of an opener and Malan could be the perfect choice to give them good starts throughout the season and potentially take them all the way to their first IPL trophy.
Kings XI Punjab – Ben Cutting
Ben Cutting is no stranger to the IPL. The big-hitting Aussie all-rounder walked home with the Man of the Match award in the 2016 IPL final for SRH. Cutting’s explosiveness could come in handy for Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) who will be in search of an all-rounder and a finisher to replace the outgoing Glenn Maxwell. Cutting would hence, be the perfect replacement as he can also bowl handy medium pace.
Kolkata Knight Riders – Colin Munro
Colin Munro has a reputation of being an explosive opener who can start striking right from the word ‘go’. The New Zealand has lit up T20 leagues around the world and this year, it might be the turn of the IPL to witness his big-hitting prowess. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) might be the team looking to sign him as they clearly struggled with regard to their opening combination in the IPL last year.
Chennai Super Kings – Marnus Labuschagne
Marnus Labuschagne is yet another batsman who has gone from strength to strength in a very short period of time. The Australian is one of the hottest prospects in world cricket at the moment. With Chennai Super Kings (CSK) having released the retired Shane Watson, Labuschagne could be the perfect replacement. He also has the added bonus of being handy with the ball with his leg-spin.
Rajasthan Royals – Alex Hales
Englishman Alex Hales is yet another solid opening option who is available in the auction. The 32-year-old was in prime touch at the Big Bash League this year as he decimated bowling attacks at will. In that vein, he might be hot property at the auction for the IPL and Rajasthan Royals (RR) might be the ones looking for his signing. He could be the perfect replacement for the outgoing Steve Smith.