ROHIT SANKAR | 25 JANUARY, 2018
IPL 2018 Auctions: 5 Unlikely Players Who MIght Grab Big Money
The IPL auctions this year have a large pool of players and team enriched with cash
The IPL auctions are here already and the anticipation of whether Ben Stokes will go for more than Virat Kohli or if Ravichandran Ashwin will get back to Chennai Super Kings is being debated in every nook and corner of the internet.
The gala IPL is even more colourful this year with the auctions having a large pool of players and teams enriched with enough cash and few retained players. That this auction is going to set a template for the next few years of IPL is certain. Teams are likely to remain stuck with theirchoices and so making good ones will be top priority.
Amidst the big overseas names and capped Indian players, a set of uncapped players remain largely obscure if you keep aside the flamboyant Krunal Pandya who is certain to attract a large number of franchises. Then there are the capped players who are relatively unknown in recent times but add immense value nevertheless.
Here we put in two cents on five unlikely players who might be overnight heroes after the auctions.
1. Shardul Thakur
An aggressive seamer with a handy slower ball, Thakur made his ODI debut in 2017 but it was on the back of a pretty good season with finalists, Rising Pune Supergiant. Alongside Jaydev Unadkat, Shardul Thakur was quite good with the new ball as well as in the back end of an innings, mixing up his pace and bowling cutters to take wickets.
With 12 wickets in 11 games last year at an average of 28.63, Thakur didn't set alight the stats column but was a perfect fit in Pune’s scheme of things. He has a base price of 75 lakhs this year but if the franchises have watched him close enough last year, Thakur might just punch above his weight.
2. Alex Carey
The Australian wicket-keeper batsman has been quite a revelation in the Big Bash League this season and stands second amongst the top run-scorers. While D’Arcy Short has grabbed headlines with his insane hitting for the Hobart Hurricanes, Carey has done an equally good job at Adelaide Strikers.
With 400 runs in 9 matches at an average of 57.14 including a hundred and two half-centuries, Carey has pushed his case for an IPL deal. That franchises are always on the lookout for wicket-keepers who can bat also works in his favour. He recently made his ODI debut for Australia.
3. Aiden Markram
Aiden Markram made his name in the Indian cricketing circle after he opened the innings for South Africa in the first two Tests at Cape Town and Centurion. A flamboyant batsman with a solid technique, Markram is an adept player of pace and spin and dealt with both equally well in the two matches he played.
An under-19 star and a World Cup winning skipper, Markram had led South Africa’s present day stars, Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo in the 2014 under-19 World Cup which South Africa won.
Markram isn't your everyday T20 player but with a formidable record in this format of the game for the Titans franchise, the South African opener might just surprise a few and grab a big deal at the auctions. He is a future superstar and a player teams would look to add to their arsenal for the forthcoming few seasons.
4. Niroshan Dickwella
The raging Sri Lankan wicket-keeper grabbed headlines when he irritated Mohammad Shami and Virat Kohli in the fog-marred Delhi Test. A formidable batsman and a fabulous keeper, Dickwella was among the few positives for Sri Lanka in an otherwise wretched year.
The southpaw is tailor-made for this format of the game and has quite a good record in T20s. Notably, he took on the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi with considerable success when Sri Lanka played T20s in South Africa last year.
With an uncanny technique and some audacious strokes, Dickwella is an X-Factor player and could boost any team with his unique skills. That he is an opener and a keeper further bolsters his chances of going big at the auctions.
5. Evin Lewis
The bludgeoning West Indian opener is the highest run-scorer in this format of the game last year. A carbon copy of Chris Gayle, Lewis has a rather queer batting style but one that is very much West Indian. Once he gets going, there are few who can stop him as India realised when he smashed Stuart Binny for five sixes in an over in a T20 game in USA.
Lewis has all the skills expected of a T20 opener and in a league where his kind of batsmen have thrived, the West Indian would be a quality pick for any franchise. Although he has managed to put his name into the auctions with some eye-catching performances, Lewis isn't among the most talked about T20 batsman in the World and this could make him an outside candidate to grab a huge deal. That said, anyone who has seen him bat will vouch for his skills with the willow.