The 2017 IPL Auction is talking place on Monday and it is set to be an exciting occasion. There is a wide variety of overseas player who have signed up, including several from the Associate Nations. Most teams have a solid idea of who they need target and there will be several players in demand from all eight sides. Some sides have been exceptionally bold and released lots of players, giving themselves a larger budget for the IPL Auction and they will have to choose carefully. This article looks at five key players to keep an eye out for on Monday.
Afghanistan’s opening batsman Mohammad Shahzad has entered the auction for the first time, at a base price of 50 lakhs. Shahzad had a phenomenal 2016, as he made a huge impact on the world stage in the World T20. In that tournament, where Afghanistan managed to beat the West Indies (the eventual winners), Shahzad was the fourth highest run scorer. He blasted an incredible 222 runs at an average of over 30, scoring more runs than the likes of Jos Buttler and Quinton de Kock. He also took this form into the Desert T20 Tournament, which is a T20 competition for Associate Nations. Shahzad scored over 200 runs in this tournament as well, as he averaged over fifty in the five matches he played in. He has proved that he is able to compete on the world stage and his aggressive career T20 strike rate of 137 makes him an attractive prospect for many sides. Many fans have linked him with a possible move to either the Delhi Daredevils or possibly the Mumbai Indians. However, I think he would be a great fit in the Kings XI Punjab side who could use another opener in their squad.
It is hard to find an unluckier player than Michael Klinger. The 36 year-old opening batsman has been consistently performing in the Australian domestic tournaments, but only received his first cap for Australia earlier this year. His List A average of 49, over the remarkable 163 matches he has played in, shows just how talented a player he is and he now has lots of experience. The reason why he was given an international T20 cap against Sri Lanka was due to a prolific Big Bash Tournament. Klinger was the third highest run scorer as he accumulated an impressive 334 runs for the champions, the Perth Scorchers. This included a memorable 81 off just 54 balls against the Brisbane Heat. Klinger has some IPL experience, as he was bought by the Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the 2011 edition. He did play a few matches, but didn’t have much success, and as a result did not take part in the following tournaments. However, five years later, Klinger has emerged as one of the most attractive T20 batsmen around. Like Shahzad, the Aussie has entered at a base price of 30 lakhs. It is likely that his price will escalate well beyond that base, but it’ll be interesting to see which side is willing to play the most for this versatile player.
Another opening batsman to look out for is the Bangladesh star Tamim Iqbal. Unlike the other openers, Iqbal is not primarily a T20 batsman, but originally developed as a consistent Test batsman. Nevertheless, the 27 year old easily adapted to the limited over format and found himself being the first choice T20 opener for Bangladesh. His performance in the 2016 World T20 was even better than Mohammad Shahzad’s and he ended up as the highest run scorer in the tournament. Iqbal amassed an incredible 295 runs at an average of over 73, outscoring the likes of Virat Kohli and Joe Root. This included a blistering unbeaten hundred against Oman, where he smashed 103 off just 63 deliveries. His tournament strike rate of over 140 shows how powerful a player he is, and the fact that he is used to playing in the subcontinent makes him an ideal target in the IPL Auction. Like both Shahzad and Klinger, Iqbal has entered at the base price of 30 lakhs. Tamim Iqbal has featured in the IPL before, as he was part of the Pune Warriors squad in the 2012 tournament. Unfortunately, he never played but he claimed that it was a brilliant learning experience for him. If he does get a contract in the auction this year, we can be sure that he will feature prominently in the tournament.
Unlike previous years, the 2017 auction has seen a large contingent of English players taking part. Alongside the likes of Chris Woakes, Eoin Morgan and Ben Stokes, fast bowler Tymal Mills is set to be handed an IPL contract. Mills rose to prominence in the 2016 NatWest T20 Blast, where he impressed with his raw pace. Being consistently able to hit the 90 mile an hour mark made him dangerous and his use of variations deceived countless batsmen. The Sussex bowler, who is unable to play longer formats due to long term injury problems, earned his first international call up in the limited overs series against Sri Lanka. Despite the fact he wasn’t particularly successful, the England selectors persevered with him for the important tour of India. On flat pitches which favoured the batsmen, Mills looked to be a quality player, being relatively economical. His short balls consistently caused problems for the Indian batsmen, but was occasionally expensive at times. It was a solid performance and he will be hoping that he would have impressed the locals enough to earn him a contract in the 2017 IPL Auction. Mills, who featured in the Big Bash League and in the New Zealand Domestic T20 tournament, is going at a base price of 50 lakhs. He has been strongly linked with the Kings XI Punjab, who are looking for another fast bowler following their release of Mitchell Johnson.
South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada is another exciting prospect to watch out for. Rabada, who is still only 21 years old, has become one of the best fast bowlers in the world. Since he made his international debut in 2015, Rabada has now played in 14 Tests and 16 T20Is. His Test bowling average of 21 is unparalleled, and he has shown that he has the great ability to engineer lots of swing with a new ball. He dominated the South African Cricket Awards, in which he won a record-breaking six trophies. This included the prestigious titles of Cricketer of the Year, ODI Cricketer of the Year as well as the Player’s Player of the Year. His T20 cricket isn’t quite at the same level as his performances in the longer format, but that is simply due to his inexperience at this point in time. An IPL stint will help him mature as a limited overs bowler and will encourage him to develop more variations. His base price of 100 lakhs is costly, but deserved, and many teams will be vying for his signature. Rabada will be one of the highlights of the IPL Auction and he is a fan favourite all around the world with his humble personality.