971 players registered for the 2020 IPL auction - a list which was later trimmed to 332 players. Although, only 73 slots are available across the eight franchises and going by history, not all of those slots will be filled.
Given the dynamics of the auction, a heavy proportion of the players will go unsold. 38 out of those 331 players have kept their base price at INR 1 crore or more and based on their track record or the current formation of various squads, there are a few of them who in most probability, won’t attract any bids. Here are a few:
Josh Hazlewood (Base Price - 2 crores)
A Test regular for Australia, Josh Hazlewood made his international debut in the ODI setup as a 19-year old in 2010. Three years later, he made his T20I debut and then went on to earn his first Test cap in 2014. Since then, the New South Wales pacer fast emerged as a Test specialist for Australia. Hazlewood has, in fact, featured in more Tests for Australia (50) than ODIs (44) and T20Is (7).
He sure swings the ball. He can land it in the ‘corridor of uncertainty’ for as long as it is required but it is a whole new game when the situation demands a fusillade of yorkers or the variation of pace. The tag of a red-ball specialist has gone against even Indian cricketers with Rajneesh Gurbani being the prime example.
Exploring ahead, the right-arm seamer has not played T20 cricket at any professional level since 2016. He has age and fitness by his side but the lack of experience in both, T20 cricket and bowling in Indian conditions (four Tests and two T20Is) does not support his case.
On top of that, a base price of the highest bracket - INR 2 crores - may not make him favorite amongst the IPL franchises and put him in the list of unsold players again like last year.
Angelo Mathews (Base Price - 2 crores)
A brilliant batting all-rounder in white-ball cricket once, Angelo Mathews’ numbers have gone downhill over the years, especially in T20 cricket. Consequently, the Sri Lankan found himself dropped from the national T20I squad post a solitary game in 2018 in which he bagged a duck against South Africa.
Even in his heydays, Mathews left little impact in IPL having played for three sides - Kolkata Knight Riders, the defunct Pune Warriors and Delhi Daredevils. Over six years of IPL, he managed only one half-century at an underwhelming strike-rate of 125.9. The recurring injuries did not help him either to work on his batting in the shortest format of the game.
As a result, Mathews went unsold in the 2018 and 2019 IPL auction, both times going in at a base price of INR 2 crores. The Colombo-born has once again asked for a minimum of INR 2 crores and a repeat of the previous two year’s auction seems irrefutable for him.
Shaun Marsh (Base Price - 1.5 crores)
The inaugural IPL season was Shaun Marsh’s shot to fame during which he plundered 616 runs playing for Kings XI Punjab at an average of 68.4 alongside striking at 139.7 to get hold of the Orange Cap. And the Western Australian batsman was not just a one season wonder. He continued to be a consistent performer for the Kings XI Punjab and the franchise kept trust in the Aussie left-hander for 10 years till 2017.
Marsh, however, was finally dropped by the franchise during the 2018 IPL auction. He had a decent 2017 season scoring 264 runs at an average of 33 and strike-rate clocking 136, but Punjab’s failure to qualify in top four for the third consecutive season put him out of favor by ever-changing management of the franchise.
While the southpaw is a trusted performer in the BBL circuit, he has been overlooked for IPL franchises for two seasons in a row. Moreover, no franchise is currently looking for an overseas opener except Kolkata Knight Riders. And Marsh will be competing with some well-established T20 openers like Aaron Finch, Jason Roy, Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and Kolkata’s former opener, Chris Lynn.
Kyle Abbott (Base Price - 1.5 crores)
Kyle Abbott announced himself in the international scene with a scintillating bowling spell of seven for 29 in a Test match in 2013. Since becoming a Kolpak player in January 2017, his stocks in white-ball cricket have risen further freeing him up to play T20 cricket around the world without any international commitments.
Consequently, his numbers have been on an improvement curve with his bowling average falling to 23.2 in T20 cricket from 33.4 in 2016, the year in which he played his only season of IPL - for Kings XI Punjab. His economy rate has also come down to 8.3 from 9.7 in the considered period of time.
Needless to say, he can be a good asset for the sides looking for an overseas fast bowler. However, this has been the case with the South African pacer for a few IPL seasons now. Yet, he has been unable to attract bids from any IPL franchise for three seasons in a row between 2017 and 2019.
The notion indicates that teams don’t go for players who are not proven in Indian conditions. Abbott, on the other hand has been largely underrated around the world. A base price of INR 1.5 crores has also played a role in Abbott’s absence from the league. This year, again, the Protea pacer is making himself available at a base price of 1.5 crores and is expected to go unsold.
D’Arcy Short (Base Price - 1 crore)
The left-handed opener was introduced to IPL in 2018 when he was picked by Rajasthan Royals at a whopping INR 4 crores. On the back of an excellent 2017/18 season of BBL where he was the highest run-scorer of the tournament with 572 runs at an average of 57.2, Short attracted bids from four franchises. Hence, he received a pay cheque 20 times his base price with the Royals acquiring his services.
However, the Royals could not earn any profit out of their investment. Short scored only 115 runs from seven innings at an insipid strike-rate of 116.2. He was exposed against quality spinners - versus whom his strike-rate dropped to 100. He was released by the Royals and went unsold in the subsequent auction where he surprisingly fixed his base price at INR 2 crores.
A highly successful opener in the Big Bash circuit, he is no ‘short’ of the talent to get his team off to brisk start but his inability to counter spin on the Indian tracks is expected to go against him. Moreover, given the competition for openers (the aforementioned reason against Shaun Marsh) and their low demand given most franchises seem sorted with their top order, Short might have to wait further in the IPL.