By: Sarwar Alam
Some of the world’s top cricketers will be among 590 players in the two-day auction for the big-bucks Indian Premier League this weekend.
AFP sport looks at five stars who could attract massive fees when the 10 franchises — including two new ones — place their bids in Bangalore ahead of the Twenty20 tournament due to start in late March.
David Warner (Australia)
The swashbuckling opener silenced his critics last year with his key role in Australia’s maiden T20 World Cup triumph following a poor IPL season with Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Warner, 35, who led the side to their only IPL title in 2016, was removed as Hyderabad’s captain in the first leg of the pandemic-hit competition, later dropped from the team and finally released.
But the left-hand batsman, who scored 289 runs in the World Cup, remains one of the 10 marquee players in the mega auctions — with a base price of $267,000 — and is expected to trigger a bidding war.
Eoin Morgan (England)
The World Cup-winning captain led IPL side Kolkata Knight Riders to the final in the last edition — eventually won by Chennai Super Kings — but was later released by the franchise.
His aggressive brand of cricket and sharp leadership skills have always attracted white-ball teams across the globe, but his recent batting form remains a cause of worry.
The left-hand batsman managed to score just 133 runs in 17 matches in the previous edition, but a lack of England stars such as Ben Stokes in the upcoming auctions might make him a good pick. He has a base price of $200,000.
Jason Holder (West Indies)
The former West Indies captain has been in red-hot form with both bat and ball. The pace bowler claimed four wickets in four balls in his team’s stunning T20 series victory over England last month.
Holder, 30, who has a base price of $200,540, top-scored with 57 in his team’s opening ODI against India, albeit in a losing cause, and will be on the radar of the IPL teams to fill their all-rounder slot.
The 6-foot-6 Holder has had stints with Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata in the lucrative league, but the upcoming auction could be his big payday.
Shahrukh Khan (India)
He shares his name with Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, who owns IPL’s Kolkata team, but his explosive batting talent could drive him cricketing stardom.
The uncapped middle-order batsman, who hit a last-ball six in domestic T20 competition to seal a win for his state Tamil Nadu, has a strike rate of over 136 in 50 T20 matches.
Shahrukh, 26, was recently added to the Indian team for the West Indies series and could enter the IPL millionaire’s club this auction.
Kagiso Rabada (South Africa)
The South African pace ace has been key to the Delhi Capitals’ success in the previous two seasons and was the leading bowler with 30 scalps in 2020 when they reached the final.
Rabada, 26, remains one of the few genuine pace bowlers in world cricket and seems to justify his base price of $267,000, with teams expected to shell out big bucks for him.
He worked up a fiery Delhi attack with fellow South African quick Anrich Nortje, who has been retained by the franchise, who could dig deep into their pockets to get the combo back.