Premier allrounders Ben Stokes, Cameron Green, Sam Curran, and Shakib Al Hasan, all of whom make a genuine claim to potentially end as highest paid pick at the bidding war, have been enlisted in the second set of players to be auctioned for the Indian Premier League 2023.
The marquee trio of utility cricketers will be up for grabs to the 10 IPL franchises on December 23 from IST 2:30 PM in Kochi. The bidding war begins with the first set, which is for the batters, featuring the likes of Mayank Agarwal, Harry Brook and Joe Root.
The pool of cricketers to set to undergo the hammer has been reduced to 405 from the originally registered 991 names. A maximum of 87 cricketers are available to be filled by all ten franchises, with 30 of those in the overseas category.
The final list of cricketers set for the mini auction was confirmed by the BCCI and IPL governing council on Tuesday. A list of 36 new names were added to the roster upon request from the franchises keen to have them involved. The total list can be subdivided: 273 Indians, 132 overseas. Of the players available, 119 are capped, while a whopping 286 are yet to play at the international stage.
The auction, as has been the norm, will begin with a list of specialist batters divided in different sets across the bidding day. In an e-mail sent to all IPL franchises, accessed by ESPNcricinfo, the BCCI said the sets have been listed in the following order: batters, allrounders, wicketkeeper-batters, fast bowlers and spinners. Same for uncapped players.
Most of the attention, however, will be hogged by the second set that features allrounders, with multiple IPL sides eyeing the right balance and correct combination. Apart from Curran, Stokes, Green, and Shakib Al Hasan, Sikandar Raza, Jason Holder and Odean Smith are included in this set.
Teams will be vying for Stokes, as he returns to the IPL on the back of playing a critical knock to help England win the final of the T20 World Cup 2022 against Pakistan. The England allrounder has not played an IPL game for two years now but is expected to go big at the auction table.
As is Curran, the former Chennai Super Kings allrounder and the ‘Player of the Tournament’ for England at the T20 World Cup in Australia. The left-arm spinner gives teams an invaluable new-ball option and also adds to their batting depth with his presence.
Green, of course, is going to be another prized possession at the bidding war. The rising Australian fast-bowling allrounder has been brilliant in his initial days at the international stage. Capable of batting at the top and in the middle, apart from offering crucial overs as the fifth bowler, Green would be a great inclusion in whatever side he goes.
A darkhorse part of the second set is Raza, the stand-out Zimbabwean player at the T20 World Cup, who top-scored for his team while also finishing as their second-highest wicket-taker. A middle-order batter with utility spin bowling to offer as well, Raza has smartly kept his base prize at INR 50 lakhs as he desperately eyes his maiden Premier League stint.
In the first set, the focus will be on which side gets Agarwal after being contentiously released as captain by Punjab Kings recently. Registered at 1 crore, he could prove to be a valuable addition as a spin-handler in the middle order or a powerplay blaster at the top. Harry Brook is another of many young talents that IPL franchises are likely to show great interest in from the first set.