The Indian Premier League (IPL) extravaganza is still some time away, but the prelude to that – the all-attractive IPL auction – is at our doorsteps and franchises are chasing their scouts, who are busy completing their last-minute analysis, to identify the best potential picks when the bidding war gets underway on 19 December. With a lot of franchises retaining a large core of their squad from last year, the purses aren't too empty and value-for-money players could be in demand.
Here we take a look at some foreign league stars who could attract attention this time around in the IPL auction
Glenn Philips – Super Smash, Caribbean Premier League
A top-order wicket-keeper batsman who moved from South Africa to New Zealand to make a career, Glenn Phillips shot to fame in the Super Smash 2016/17 when he topped the run charts with 369 runs, including a 57-ball 116. In 2018, he racked up 457 runs in 11 innings – finishing as the second highest run-scorer – for the Jamaica Tallahwahs in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
The challenge for Phillips was to follow it up with an equally good performance next season. That he did in 2019 when he made 374 runs in 10 innings at a strike rate of 144.96 with three half-centuries. He was rock solid for Tallahwahs in the season and the franchise banked upon him as well.
A sensational 49-ball 87 was Phillips' performance of the season although he did attract much attention by pulling off a one-handed stunner behind the stumps. A flamboyant wicket-keeper batsmen who bats at the top of the order are invaluable in T20 cricket and even in a rich league like IPL, there is an evident shortage of such players.
Franchises could be tempted to go for Phillips this season given his base price of Rs 50 lakh. He is also in terrific form heading into the auction month after a blazing November where he made a string of brilliant scores – 26, 40, 156, 66 – for Auckland in the Ford Trophy. He also hit a 116 for New Zealand A against a touring England side in a first-class game earlier in the month.
Franchises that could be interested in him: Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab
Tom Banton – Vitality Blast
Few players with zero international experience have made as much impact in a T20 league as Tom Banton did at Somerset in the Vitality T20 Blast season in 2019. Opening the batting with Babar Azam, Banton stole headlines with his extraordinary 360 degree batting.
Just 21 years of age, Banton's incredible talent was on full display in the Royal London One Day Cup too. The opener made 454 runs in 11 innings at an average of 41.27 including scores of 112 in the quarter-final, 59 off 55 balls in the semi-finals and 69 off 67 balls in the final. Banton was a crucial element in Somerset's One Day Cup win and carried that form into the T20 Blast.
He scored runs at a frenetic pace – striking at 161.47 – in consistent fashion – averaging 42.23 – with a ton and four half-centuries. Finishing second behind his opening partner, Babar Azam, in the top run-getters list, Banton had a breakout season where his scoops, ramps and reverse swats became the talk of the town.
A call-up to the England limited-overs side and gigs in the Big Bash League, T10 Blast and Pakistan Super League followed. In the T10 League last month, Banton made a 28-ball 53 and then whipped a 28-ball 80 for Qalandars from the top of the order.
Given the irresistible demand for top-order batsmen who can go big early in the innings T20 franchises, Banton could be in the radar of multiple teams this IPL auction.
Franchises that could be interested in him: Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders, Rajasthan Royals
Chris Green - Big Bash League, Pakistan Super League, Caribbean Premier League, Global Canada T20
A month ago, Australia's Chris Green hit the headlines for signing the longest deal in the history of the Big Bash League (BBL). The Sydney Thunder off-spinner committed to the franchise for a whopping six seasons, speaking volumes about how he is a dependable player despite his reputation of being a modern day globe-trotter. However, more importantly, the trust the franchise placed on Green shows why he is more than just a handy T20 player.
A crafty off-spinner capable of bowling in the powerplay overs, and a lower-order dasher, Green has become a star player in the BBL despite flying under the radar. Green's path to cricket is unconventional: He went from playing no first-class cricket to a bit of 50-overs cricket and then turned into a full-on backpacker in the shortest format as Green opted for a freelance way before even attempting to go the usual route.
The off-spinner's USP is his ability to restrain the big hits and rein in batsmen. An economy rate of 6.72 in this format after 75 matches justifies why he is a much-sought-after commodity in T20s. In the powerplay, that economy comes down further close to six.
A brilliant outfielder and a street-smart cricketer, Green is a dream player for a T20 franchise just for his adaptability. From the BBL to the Global Canada T20 League, Vitality Blast, CPL and the Pakistan Super League (PSL), Green has marked his presence across the globe.
All that's left is the IPL and that could materialise this time around in an auction where value for money players could be chased after. At a base price of Rs 20 lakh, Green is an absolute steal and franchises are likely to bid vehemently for him.
Franchises that could be interested in him: Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings
Hayden Walsh Jr. – Caribbean Premier League
If India weren't familiar with Hayden Walsh Junior, the recent series between India and West Indies proved to be a shot in the arm for him to get an IPL gig. While he was expensive in the first and last T20Is on batting belters, Walsh picked crucial wickets of Shivam Dube and Shreyas Iyer in the second game at Thiruvananthapuram which the tourists won.
A product of the CPL, Walsh stands out with his deceptive googlies and slick ground fielding. At Hyderabad and Thiruvananthapuram, Walsh induced false strokes from Virat Kohli and nearly dismissed him. He also showed that he can also contain the flow of runs while being a wicket-taker.
Earlier this year in the CPL, Walsh – who switched allegiance to USA in 2018 – rocketed to fame in a title-winning season with the Barbados Tridents. The leg-spinner revelled in his wicket-taking role, picking up 22 wickets in just nine matches - a strike rate of 9.1!
With two four-plus wicket hauls and a decent economy for a wicket-taking wrist-spinner (8.28), Walsh was quickly called up to the West Indian T20I side. His recent reputation stems from what he could be rather than what he was. Deceiving Kohli twice in back-to-back games with different variations in the recently concluded series, Walsh would have shot into the radar of a few franchises at least. With a base price of just Rs 50 lakh, Walsh might be in for a decent pay day later this week.
Franchises that could be interested in him: Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders
Rilee Rossouw – Bangladesh Premier League
Rilee Rossouw isn't a name unknown to the IPL. He was part of the Royal Challengers Bangalore setup in 2011 and later came in to play for the same franchise as a replacement player, three years later. But his IPL stint never took off and it's been a while since any of the franchises have sought his services in the league.
Howeve, 2019 could be different. After the South African, who signed the Kolpak deal with Hampshire, shone in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). In a Rangpur Riders batting line-up that boasted of AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle and Alex Hales in 2018/19, it was Rossouw who stood out with 558 runs in 13 innings at an average of 69.75 – the best for any batsman with at least 100 runs in the season – and a strike rate of 150.
A hallmark of Rossouw's batting in the 2018/19 BPL season was how he went about his innings. From a full-on attacking mode, where he would start off with a bang, to a slow start that is later compensated by increasing the tempo, Rossouw played situations perfectly, making him an indispensable asset by the end of the season.
More importantly, Rossouw showed that he does not need a great surface to tee off. On the Shere Bangla National Stadium, where run scoring was tough for others, Rossouw was unstoppable. In 2019, after moving to Khulna Tigers, Rossouw has started the season with an unbeaten 64 in 38 balls and a Man of the Match award.
His T20 career has received a much-needed facelift in the BPL and with the IPL auction around the corner, Rossouw– who has enrolled himself at a base price of Rs 1 crore – could be a left-field buy for franchises. With a renewed game plan and mindset in this format, the forgotten International player could well become a game-changing pick this auction.
Franchises that could be interested in him: Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Kings XI Punjab
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Baroda and Tamil Nadu registered victories over Maharashtra and Hyderabad respectively, while an all-round performance from Riyan Parag setup an upset victory for Assam over Bengal.
In the day's last Elite Group B match, Bengal made 163 for eight and in reply, Tamil Nadu chased down the target with two overs to spare.
By virtue of this win, Haryana are atop the standings in Group E with 12 points from three wins, while Delhi are placed third with eight points.