Australian Glenn Maxwell is expected to be a favourite, despite his underwhelming record, along with England’s spin bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali during a condensed Indian Premier League auction slated here on Thursday.
A total of 292 players have been enlisted - 164 of them Indian and 125 overseas. There will also be three associate players. With 61 slots available across eight franchises, Royal Challengers Bangalore has the maximum, 11 vacancies, to fill with a purse of Rs 35.4 crore while Sunrisers Hyderabad has only three with Rs 10.75 crore.
The highest purse available is with Anil Kumble-coached Punjab Kings, formerly Kings XI Punjab, which has Rs 53.2 crore for spending on nine spots. As IPL is likely to be back in India after being held in the UAE last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, focus will be on big hitters as well as slow bowlers. And, Maxwell and Moeen fit the category to the T.
However, Maxwell averages only 22 in the tournament, having played 82 matches for his 1, 505 runs. He last played for Punjab. Moeen was seen in action for Bangalore in the previous season. While Maxwell and Steve Smith have a base price of Rs 2 crore, World No.1 T20 batsman Dawid Malan of England has an initial fee of Rs 1.5 crore. Boasting of a great strike-rate in the shortest format, the 33-year-old will attract a lot of attention from the franchises. Among India players, the three notable capped names are Kedar Jadhav, veteran off-spinner Harbhajan Singh and fast bowler Umesh Yadav.
The auction dynamics, when it comes to Indians, have been different compared to foreign players due to the limited available slots in each squad. As usual, there could be some eye-popping bids for uncapped domestic players like Mohammed Azharuddeen (Junior), Shahrukh Khan, R Sonu Yadav, Vishnu Solanki and Akash Deep.
They could invite mini-bidding wars with their lowest base price bracket of Rs 20 lakh. Sachin Tendulkar’s son Arjun, a left-arm fast bowler who made his senior Mumbai team debut this year, is bracketed in the Rs 20 lakh category.
Mumbai Indians (15.35 crore) and Delhi Capitals (Rs 13.4 crore) will require seven and eight players respectively, but the finalists of last year probably have a stable core and can look at improvising.
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