A total of 332 players, including 19 Indian capped players have been shortlisted from the origianl list of 971 as the 8 franchises get down to fill the remaining 73 slots available in the Indian Premier League [IPL] 2020 auction in Kolkata. The final list also includes 24 new players, who were added after the franchises requested.
The 24 new players include the likes of West Indies pacer Kesrick Williams, Australian all-rounder Dan Christian, leg-spinner Adam Zampa, Bangladesh's Mushfiqur Rahim as well as 21-year-old Surrey batsman Will Jacks, who recently hit a 25-ball century in a pre-season T10 match against Lancashire in the UAE.
The auction is set to get underway with the first set including seven batsmen including the likes of Chris Lynn, Jason Roy, Aaron Finch, Eoin Morgan and Robin Uthappa. The second list will include all-rounders likes Glenn Maxwell, Chris Morris and pacer Pat Cummins, who are all expected to fetch big money.
The players like always have been put together as per their skill set and the auction will start with batsmen, followed by all-rounders, wicketkeeper-batsmen, fast bowlers and spinners. The auction will start with capped players and will then move on to uncapped ones.
Out of the 73 slots available for the eight teams to fill up, 29 of them are left for overseas players. However, this mini auction ahead of the mega-draw in 2021 will be to plug small holes and increase bench strength and big-money buys could be limited.
However, that hasn't stopped some players from listing themselves in the top bracket of INR 2 crore.
Maxwell along with seven players -- Cummins, Josh Hazlewood Mitchell Marsh, Dale Steyn, and Angelo Mathews are in the top bracket of INR 2 crore (US $279,000 approximately). Maxwell is expected to return to top-flight cricket after taking an indefinite break from international cricket in October to tackle mental health issues. He, however, had made a successful return to club cricket in November. Maxwell had opted out of the IPL auction last year to focus on the World Cup and the Ashes and has already played for Delhi, Mumbai and Punjab.
In Indians, Uthappa remains the most anticipated name and has listed his base price at INR 1.5 cr ($209,000 approx). Uthappa was a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise for several years and was retained through the right-to-match [RTM] card option during the 2018 auction. However, after two mediocre years, KKR finally decided to to release him.
Focues will also be on left-arm fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat, who has always generated interst and earned big bucks. Earlie this week, Unadkat led Saurashtra to victory in the first round of the Ranji Trophy with a match-winning performance against Himachal Pradesh. During the last auction, Unadkat was the most expensive Indian player after Rajasthan Royals paid INR 8.4 crore.
Last time, Unadkat's base price was INR 1.5 crore. This time however, he has listed himself at INR 1 cr ($139,000 approx).
The auction is set to take place in Kolkata on December 19 in the afternoon.