Champion Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan will be back on the auction table this year after having served his backdated two-year-ban.
Shakib Al Hasan was handed the suspension for his failure to report a corrupt approach by the bookies on two different occasions.
The former SunRiser Hyderabad all-rounder has made a return to international cricket in the recently concluded ODI series against the West Indies, where he was adjudged the ‘Player of the series’ for his brilliant performances with both bat and ball.
Shakib is a perfect example of a 3-D cricketer and a lot of franchises will be looking to grab his services in the upcoming IPL auction.
Here’s a look at the 3 IPL franchises who might target Shakib Al Hasan-
Royal Challengers Bangalore
The Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2016 last year.
But once again their over-dependence on the superstar duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villers and a soft underbelly- middle-order- proved to be their biggest nemesis.
Aaron Finch’s failure at the top meant that RCB was virtually a three-batsman team last season which includes Devdutt Padikkal along with Kohli and de Villiers.
Finch has now been released from the set-up, and RCB will be looking to fill in the elusive overseas slot.
By claiming the services of Shakib Al Hasan, the Bengaluru-based franchise will not only bolster their middle-order but it will also give them a handy left-arm spin-bowling option.
Much like Royal Challengers Bangalore, the inaugural IPL champions Rajasthan Royals struggled with their over-reliance on top-order, a soft underbelly, and the misfiring Steve Smith.
Steve Smith has now been released ahead of the mini-auction and picking Shakib Al Hasan will not only help the Jaipur-based franchise strengthen their middle-order and significantly reduce the over-reliance on Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler but it will also give them an additional spin-bowling option alongside Rahul Tewatia and Shreyas Gopal, who endured a pretty underwhelming season last year.
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab may have redeemed themselves at the backend of the season thanks to five consecutive victories after having managed just one win out of their first seven outings but it was largely due to the likes of Mayank Agarwal, skipper KL Rahul and Chris Gayle in the top-order.
Barring Nicholas Pooran to an extent, none of their middle-order overseas recruits whether it was Glenn Maxwell or James Neesham contributed with the bat.
Now that both Maxwell and Neesham have been released, KXIP can look to bolster their middle-order by grabbing the services of Shakib Al Hasan. If they pick Shakib, then it will not only reduce their over-reliance on KL Rahul and Chris Gayle, but it will also give them a much-needed experience in the spin-bowling department.