With just a day to go for the high stakes IPL 2018 auctions, the players in the auction will be waiting with bated breath to see whether their day ends with despair and with joy. This year's auction will feature 578 players in all with 361 of them being Indians. This 2018 auction will see some of the marquee Indian players in the auction, something that was seen in the very first auction only.
There are 16 players with marquee status and a base price of Rs. 2 crores. These players are R Ashwin, Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Chris Gayle, Ben Stokes, Glenn Maxwell, Joe Root, Mitchell Starc, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Faf du Plessis, Shakib- Al- Hasan and Kane Williamson.
However, the focus of the auction will be on Ben Stokes and R Ashwin with Joe Root putting his name in the auction bucket too. Ben Stokes earned the highest bid of Rs 14.5 crore in last year’s auction and this time too, he is expected to loosen the purse strings of franchises in the auction.
With permutations and combinations going on in every franchise’s camp with many of them having a limit amount of money to spend in their purses on players; we might see many surprises picks and no-sells in the auction.
Wrist spinners like Rashid Khan, Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal will be high in demand. Even players like KL Rahul, who missed the previous season of IPL and Dinesh Karthik, Kedar Jadhav and Manish Pandey will be looking for massive bidding for themselves.
The biggest question will be whether CSK will go for R Ashwin in the auction or not. They cannot use their RTM card on Ashwin and he will demand a bank-breaking bid in the auction. There are even rumors of some franchises looking for Ashwin to lead their teams in the upcoming IPL 2018.
CSK also always had a left arm pacer in their ranks and Mitchell Starc will be on their radar. They will also eye Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Bravo to use their RTM cards on and get their core back.
DD has been known to make some outrageous decisions over the years, like buying Yuvraj Singh for a massive Rs 15 crore, despite a lukewarm IPL season with RCB before. They are looking to go after Gautam Gambhir, someone who played for them in the first three years, for captaincy role.
2012 and 2014 IPL winners Kolkata Knight Riders will definitely use their RTM card for opener, Chris Lynn, as he is back into his six hitting form in the ongoing BBL. Talking of BBL stars, Jofra Archer and D’Arcy Short will be on the radar of all the franchises, thanks to their exploits in the tournament.
Rajasthan Royals, who have retained just Steve Smith, will eye for Colin Munro or an Evin Lewis for their opening batsmen position. They will also be looking for a marquee Indian batsman or a bowler and will be tempted to use their RTM card on someone like Karun Nair or Sanju Samson.
Kings XI Punjab is looking for a captain and Harbhajan Singh may be the answer to their problems. The 37-year-old off-spinner is still a potent force in the shortest format and recently played some handy innings at no.3 for Punjab in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy.
With each team requiring at least 10 Indian players in the squad, likes of Krunal Pandya, Basil Thampi, Avesh Khan, Deepak Hooda and Shardul Thakur will get good bids.
Next in line will be U19 stars like Prithvi Shaw, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill and Abhishek Sharma, who have left a big impression in the ongoing ICC U19 World Cup in New Zealand.
All of these players and more will be hoping for their big payday tomorrow when the auction for IPL 2018 commences.