Former New Zealand pacer and current Mumbai Indians bowling coach, Shane Bond strongly believes that dynamic opener Alex Hales should be a good pick in the upcoming auction IPL 2021 auction which is slated for 18th February.
Alex Hales has been in thunderous form in the recently concluded Big Bash League 2020-21. Playing for Sydney Thunder, Hales smashed 543 runs at an average of 38.7 and a brilliant strike rate of 161.6. He finished as the leading run-scorer of the tournament, had the highest individual score (110), harrumphed most sixes in the tournament (30), and had the highest strike-rate (161.60) of anyone with 300 runs.
He’s playing as well as I have ever seen him: Shane Bond
Bond, who was the coach of the Thunder side which finished 3rd in the points table and faltered at the knock-out stage to Brisbane Heat, reckons that while Mumbai already has a surplus of top-order batsmen – Chris Lynn couldn’t get a single game last season – but he expects Hales to be a hot pick in the auction.
Hales has earlier played in IPL 2018 for Sunrisers Hyderabad when David Warner was banned. He scored 148 runs in 6 matches. SRH released him as Warner returned and they bought Jonny Bairstow. Hales hasn’t been bought in the auction for the last two seasons.
“He’s playing as well as I have ever seen him. We have a good team at Mumbai, but he’d give me a few shakes if we came up against him. It’s a great time to showcase your skills in the BBL (given the IPL auction is soon after). I always enjoy the auction; it can be a very exciting and life-changing night for a few people. It can be completely random (in terms of winning bids and who is sold and unsold). Nothing ever surprises me,” Shane Bond told cricket.com.au.
Alex Hales hasn’t played for England since March 2019; Hales was banned for three weeks for failing tests for recreational drugs – it was the second such incident for Hales. The ECB and captain, Eoin Morgan have come down severely on the opener and had not picked him in the white-ball side for about two years.
Morgan and the management are upset with Hales for putting their entire World Cup campaign in jeopardy. Hales’ future with the national side is uncertain, and the right-hander continues to ply his trade in T20 leagues.
Mumbai Indians looking for foreign pacers in IPL 2021 auction
Speaking of the IPL auction, it is unlikely that Mumbai Indians will recruit any overseas top-order batsman, if any, they would be looking for a finisher as a back-up of Kieron Pollard after releasing Sherfane Rutherford.
Rather, the Ambani-owned franchise will hunt for multiple quality foreign pacers; they have offloaded all but Trent Boult from their overseas fast bowling cartel – Nathan Coulter-Nile, James Pattinson, and Mitchell McClenaghan are released and Lasith Malinga has retired from franchise cricket.