The Indian Premier League (IPL) auction for the upcoming edition of the cash-rich T20 league concluded recently in Chennai. 57 of the 61 available slots were filled. Of the purchases, 22 were overseas players. History was created during the auction as South African all-rounder Chris Morris became the most expensive purchase in IPL history, sold to Rajasthan Royals at a whopping INR 16.25 crore. Further, K Gowtham became the most expensive uncapped Indian player. He was purchased by Chennai Super Kings for INR 9.25 crore. With the auctions over, we look at six purchases who can set the tournament alight.
1. Kyle Jamieson
New Zealand all-rounder Kyle Jamieson was one of the most expensive purchases at the auction, bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 15 crore. There was plenty of hype around Jamieson in the build-up to the auctions, so it wasn’t surprising to see him go at a whopping price. The 6’8″ tall fast bowler has had an exceptional start to his Test career. In six Tests, he has claimed 36 wickets at an average of 13.27 with four five-wicket hauls. With his awkward height, Jamieson can make life difficult for the batsmen. Further, he also has the ability to chip in with the bat lower down the order. On paper, a perfect T20 package.
2. Dawid Malan
The No. 1 ranked batsman in T20I cricket, Dawid Malan was signed for INR 1.5 crore by Punjab Kings at the auction in what was termed as the ‘steal of the day’. Incredibly, the left-handed batsman has only played 19 T20Is for England, in which he has 855 runs at a strike rate of 149.47 and an exceptional average of 53.43. Apart from one hundred, he also has nine fifties to his name. Malan has all the shots in the book to be a superstar at the IPL. Punjab Kings would be glad to have purchased him at such a decent price. Malan hasn’t got his due as a batsman till now. He has a chance to showcase his talent in no uncertain terms in the IPL.
3. Mohammed Azharuddeen
Any IPL is incomplete without new local talent coming through. Picked for his base price of INR 20 lakh, the Kerala batsman will turn out for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). The 26-year-old made headlines when he smashed a 37-ball hundred against Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy – the joint-third-fastest T20 century by an Indian. Azharuddeen finished unbeaten on 137 from 54 balls as Kerala hammered Mumbai by eight wickets. The fact that he received a message from RCB skipper Virat Kohli two minutes after the auction is an indication that he is rated highly in the Indian domestic circuit. Devdutt Padikkal impressed for the franchise last season. RCB will hope Azharuddeen can also make a mark.
4. Chetan Sakariya
Uncapped left-arm fast bowler Chetan Sakariya was purchased for INR 1.2 crore by Rajasthan Royals at the auction. The 22-year-old Saurashtra pacer blew Vidarbha away with sensational figures of 5 for 11 from four overs, including a maiden, in a Syed Mushtaq Ali encounter in Indore. The youngster has made an impressive start to his T20 career, with 28 wickets in 16 matches at a strike rate of 12.7 and an economy rate of just over seven. He could very well prove to be a surprise package at the IPL.
5. Moeen Ali
The England all-rounder has been around in international cricket for a few years. Indians won’t have fond memories of him as he has bamboozled the team’s famed batsmen more than once with his off-spin. That might change during the upcoming IPL though, as he would be playing under MS Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings, having been picked for INR 7 crore. His 43 from 18 in the dying moments of the Chennai Test was a possible audition for the auction.
6. Jhye Richardson
Aussie pacer Jhye Richardson was picked up by Punjab Kings for a whopping INR 14 crore. The 24-year-old can ramp it up at speeds of 140kph, which is one of his biggest assets. Richardson had an excellent BBL 2020-21 season, finishing as the leading wicket-taker for Perth Scorchers, with 29 wickets from 17 matches at a strike rate of 12.7. He made his international debut for Australia back in 2017. When fit, he has made an impression in the few games that he has played. Undoubtedly, Punjab Kings have high hopes from young Richardson.