The precursor to the highly-anticipated Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 edition would be taking place on 18th February in Chennai when a total of 292 cricketers would go under the hammer at the auction.
A total of 22 foreign players can be picked at the auction and a total of 128 are up for grabs. Most of them would return empty-handed but some, as always, would make teams break the bank.
We take a look at top 10 foreign players who could attract massive bids at the auction.
It's a surprise of sorts to see the former Australian captain in the mix. After all, he was the captain of Rajasthan Royals just last season but he has been released, partly due to RR's lack of progress and partly due to Smith's poor batting form. Nonetheless, Smith remains a top prospect. His ability to stabilise innings, play long knocks and accelerate when required makes him an ideal candidate for teams looking to bring in quality and experience. He is also a reputed spin player and that enhances his value. Not to forget, Smith has been captain of the IPL sides on multiple occasions and provides leadership.
Despite his numerous indifferent seasons, Maxwell always manages to attract big bids. The 2020 season for Kings XI Punjab was a horrendous one for the Australian but he is a proven international player. His performances in the T20I and ODI series that followed IPL 2020 were terrific and he had a decent Big Bash 2020-21 where he scored 379 runs at a strike rate of 143.56 and took seven wickets. There are franchises who are on the lookout for an out-and-out slam-bang player and Maxwell is just that.
One of the leading stars of England's white-ball revolution, Roy is known for his hard-hitting from the word go. In the prime of his cricketing career, Roy gave IPL 2020 a miss but we expect him to be ready for the 2021 challenge. A batsman capable of scoring quick runs and giving good starts to the team, Roy scored 355 for Perth Scorchers in Big Bash 2020-21 at a strike rate of 130.51 and looks ready for the Indian sojourn.
The English batsman had a dream Big Bash recently and that would put him in focus once the auction starts. He amassed 543 runs at a whopping strike rate of 161.60 with three fifties and one century to finish as the highest run-getter. He accounted for 30 sixes and 54 boundaries. And all these mind-boggling stats make him a prime candidate for drawing big bids.
The English batsman is currently the No 1 T20I batsman in the world and boasts a glittering record of 855 runs in just 19 innings at a strike rate of 149.47 for his national team. He is yet to play in the IPL but come 18 February he may become a very wealthy person. His Big Bash campaign was not so impressive but that shouldn't stop franchises from vying for a player who possesses both power and style.
Shakib Al Hasan
The Bangladesh great is back to playing cricket after a year of ICC ban and could spark a bidding war for his services in the auction. A proven player and leader, Shakib is capable of playing the role of a talisman with his all-round abilities. He also has vast experience of playing in the league and his consistency as a performer gives him an extra edge.
The South African all-rounder who was part of Royal Challengers Bangalore last season is now back in the auction. The biggest reason for his release was his fitness that is the only concern that may block Morris' way to an eye-popping deal. A capable hitter of the cricket ball down the order, Morris is a reliable death overs bowler and he's the type of player that every franchise desires.
Mujeeb ur Rahman
The Afghanistan mystery spinner has been a proven T20 performer and comes with vast experience of franchise cricket. The role of mystery spinners in T20 cricket cannot be overstated and Rahman had a fantastic season with KXIP in 2018. His form dipped in 2019 and the emergence of Ravi Bishnoi at the franchise made him surplus to requirements. But he still has a lot to offer for other teams. He also had a good Big Bash where he picked 14 wickets in eight matches with an economy rate of 6.26.
The tall New Zealand quick has made everyone sit back notice him with consistent match-winning performances in the international circuit. He made the international debut against India last year and has been going strong ever since. In only six Tests so far, Jamieson has 36 wickets at an amazing average of 13.27. His strike rate is 33.3. Yes, Test and T20 cricket are different things but Jamieson is a wicket-taker, brings in massive height advantage and can also bat a bit.
Who doesn't like a fast bowler who could take regular wickets and concede only a few runs. Australia's Richardson offers exactly that. In the recently concluded Big Bash, Richardson emerged as the highest wicket-taker with 29 wickets at an average of 16.31. His economy rate was 7.69 and the pacer would be an ideal pick for teams looking to bolster their fast bowling department.
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