The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be taking place mere months after the last edition of the tournament concluded, meaning the performances of players will be fresh in the minds of fans and team think-tanks alike. As such, the IPL auction that is set to be held in Chennai on February 18 will be a closely watched one. There’s also the fact that a mega auction is a distinct possibility next year as the BCCI seeks to add an extra team into the mix. With most franchises retaining their key cores, it will be interesting to see which sides decide to splash the cash.
Here are 10 players who could attract the maximum attention in the IPL 2021 auction.
Steve Smith – The former Australia skipper was one of the more surprising releases, given he had been the captain of the Rajasthan Royals since the middle of the 2018 IPL season. However, RR finished bottom of the league table last year and Smith’s returns with the bat weren’t great either. Nevertheless, class is permanent and many a side would be glad to have Smith in their batting ranks for next season.
Shivam Dube – The Indian all-rounder is dependable with both bat and ball and generally good in the field as well but had struggled to make a mark in an improving Royal Challengers Bangalore side. However, he can be a useful asset to any side on a given day and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him land a big contract for the next season.
Glenn Maxwell – Maxwell is a curious case – while he’s generally been excellent for Australia as well as in the Big Bash League (BBL), he has struggled to impose his authority in the IPL. However, his big hitting and useful part-time off break bowling – not to mention him being a livewire on the field – will see many gravitate towards the mercurial Australian.
Krishnappa Gowtham – A solid performer in domestic cricket, Gowtham did not live up to expectations in a Kings XI Punjab side that rapidly tailed off in the second half of the 2020 season. One can argue he was given little chance to do that as he played only two games. His economical off-spin and power hitting lower down the order could see many a side bid for his services.
Chris Morris – The South African all-rounder was a standout for RCB last season, particularly with the ball, but it is perhaps the hefty sum at which he was bought that ended up working against him. Nevertheless, his explosive power hitting and excellent pace bowling means he is a valuable asset to any side who are looking for a high impact all-rounder.
Nathan Coulter-Nile – The Australian quick played 7 matches for Mumbai Indians in 2020 as they went on to lift the title but, like Morris, what went against him was his price tag which was too high for a bench player. He has proven an adept performer in white-ball cricket and the IPL in the past, meaning teams would still be likely to take a punt on the exprienced pacer.
Tom Curran – The elder Curran brother has yet to fully make a mark in the IPL despite having played in the tournament for two seasons. However, his skills in white-ball cricket are evident for all to see and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see franchises snap up the England international for a big price.
Jason Roy – The big-hitting opener has played in the IPL before but Indian fans haven’t seen his best during the tournament. However, the South Africa-born English batsman is tailor-made for T20 cricket. Rarely taking time to settle and always looking for the big hit, he is a difference maker and teams would be wise to snap him up in the auction.
Umesh Yadav – The India international has had a torrid time of it in the past few IPL seasons and his RCB release felt like an inevitability after 2020. However, he has been part of a title-winning IPL side in the past and looked in better touch during the Australia series before his injury, meaning he could attract a number of bids in the auction.