The Indian Premier League, the marquee tournament of T20 cricket, is back and so is the much-anticipated mega auction. Scheduled for February 18, some 1097 players are set to go under the hammer.But it’s Jhye Richardson and Alex Haleswho could see the franchises battle it out and hand them jackpot contracts, after their recent heroics in the KFC Big Bash League.
Released by their respective IPL teams after the last year’s competition, Steve Smith and Glenn Maxwell, too, are among the players, besides 40 other Australians, vying for big-money contracts.
Richardson and Hales are clubbed alongside some other big names such as Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adil Rashid and Alex Carey at the base price of Rs 1.5 crore.
With 29 dismissals, Richardson, who spearheaded the Perth Scorchers’ bowling attack, was the leading wicket-taker in the recent BBL season. Now, with Mitchel Starc, one of the best fast-bowlers in the world, opting to give this auction and IPL season a miss, the 24-year-old could emerge as the most sought-after foreign quicks this year.Starc may return for the next auction, though, when IPL expands.
Similarly, Hales, who is also trying hard to earn his spot back in the England side, finished as the BBL top scorer this season, making 543 runs, including a hundred, for Sydney Thunder.
Trent Woodhill, who heads BBL’s international recruitment and a former assistant coach at Royal Challengers Bangalore, said, “If Alex Hales is not the most expensive batter then I don’t know my cricket." “He’s been phenomenal, absolutely world-class for the Thunder this year and last year," he told AAP.
Headded, “Jhye Richardson and Alex Hales are two standouts from the BBL. They deserve to not only get picked up in the IPL but a starting place."
Former New Zealand fast bowler Shane Bond, who mentors Thunder, says Hales is playing “as well as I have ever seen him." Marnus Labuschagne, another Australian and an already established name in Tests and ODIs, is also among the players who will excite the franchises.