While, on the one hand, Team India is currently involved in a heated series with South Africa, there is no denying the fact that everyone is looking forward to January 27 and 28 as the two dates will determine how all the Indian Premier League teams – IPL 2018 – will shape up for the upcoming season.
The last weekend of this month would see the franchises battling it out with each other in the mega-auction to build the strongest possible squads ahead of the upcoming eleventh season.
The BCCI has already announced the final auction pool of 578 players on Saturday (January 20) including the 16 marquee players who will kick off the two-day mega-auction in Bangalore.
While every team would be desperate to secure the services of the big games, they will also be keen to sign promising domestic players. With only four overseas players allowed in the playing eleven, in-form domestic players will be nothing less than assets for any team, and so each franchise would be desperate to sign up some big domestic names.
Five domestic players who can attract huge bids at IPL 2018 auction – Navigation
5. Deepak Hooda comes with an experience of being a champion with SRH:
Known for his big-hitting abilities, Hooda had grabbed the limelight in his very first IPL season in 2015 when he scored 151 runs in 14 matches at a strike-rate of 158.94 while playing for Rajasthan Royals. In the 2016 IPL auction, Hooda was picked up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for an astounding Rs 4.2 crores, 42 times his base price of Rs 10 lakh which pretty much proves how highly he is rated.
Hooda is looking set to grab another lucrative deal in the upcoming auction as he has been in red-hot form in the domestic season. After a good outing in the Ranji Trophy, where he scored one century and two fifties in four games, the right-handed batsman has already scored a couple of fifties in 4 Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy.
One of the most highly-rated domestic players, Samson was surprisingly released by Delhi Daredevils. However, it is highly likely that the Delhi-based franchise would use the Right to Match card on him.
The wicketkeeper-batsman has already proved his mettle in the IPL and has looked in red-hot form this season. In the last season of Ranji Trophy, the 23-year old piled up 627 runs in just 7 games with the help of two hundreds and three fifties which helped Kerala to qualify for the quarterfinal for the very first time. He had also scored a fine ton in the warm-up game against Sri Lanka and had looked in the same form in the ongoing Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. After three lukewarm outings, he found his form with two brilliant fifties.
No one has grabbed the headlines as much as Rajneesh Gurbani this season in the domestic arena. 5 five wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul in a match including the hat-trick in the Ranji Trophy final in which he picked up eight wickets, Gurbani played an integral role in Vidarbha’s fairytale campaign which ended with a historic title triumph. Gurbani finished the tournament as the second leading wicket-taker, having taken 39 wickets in 6 games.
The franchises have always looked for domestic fast bowlers and the fact that the likes of Basil Thampi, T Natarajan and Mohammed Siraj bagged lucrative deals last year very much proves that. Well, going by the trend, Gurbani also looks primed to cause a bidding war in this year’s auction.
Mayank Agarwal’s talent was never in doubt. However, it was his inconsistency that did not let him make rapid progress in the game. The hard-hitting batsman has squandered several chances in the IPL in the past but is looking destined to get a good contract this season after a breakthrough Ranji Trophy season.
The 26-year old finished the season as the leading run-scorer and the only player to have crossed the 1000-run barrier. He scored 1160 runs in just eight games at a stunning average 105.45 with the help of 5 centuries and a couple of the fifties.
Krunal Pandya, the brother of India star Hardik Pandya, has been one of the most sought-after allrounders in the last two seasons of the Indian Premier League. After being roped in by Mumbai Indians in 2016, the southpaw took the league by storm. With his ability to send the ball over the boundary ropes and slip in 4 cheap overs in addition to picking up wickets at crucial junctures, he was nothing less than an asset to the franchise.
In an otherwise dismal season for Mumbai in 2016, Krunal was a standout performer, scoring 237 runs in addition to picking up six wickets. He did even better last year, scoring 243 runs and picking up ten wickets. He was rewarded for the performance with a maiden call-up from the India A team.
Krunal will be surely in demand during the auction, and every franchise would love to have him. However, Mumbai Indians are likely to use Right to Match card on him.
Follow all the latest IPL news here: Indian Premier League 2018