A mini-auction has a different meaning to different teams. For some like MI and CSK this year, it is about plugging a few gaps. For others like DC and SRH, it is just for finding backups. Then there are teams like RCB and KXIP who are dependent on it to even have a stable XI to play with.
292 players will go under the hammer, which is forty less than the number last year. Teams have a maximum of 61 slots to fill, 22 of these being overseas. While there are some high profile players on the list that most teams will have an eye on, there are a few that have gone under the radar. This analysis attempts to identify a few such players among the 292 that have numbers that might encourage teams to pick them, at least as backups.
There are a total of 192 players listed as either batsmen or all-rounders. Let us first have a look at where they stand on two aspects- boundary balls % and non-boundary strike-rate. The first attribute informs us about their boundary frequency and the seconds tells us if they are good at rotating strike. Since, there a lot of options and a few spots to fill, teams will look for cream players. Hence, the chart below is restricted to players with a T20 average of 25 or more and a strike-rate of 135 or more since 2019.
One player who stands out from above is the Kiwi youngster Finn Allen. With a strike-rate of above 190 to go with an average of above 50, he has had an exceptional start to his T20 career. However, there are a few things that might go against him. Teams are either looking for a middle-order player or an all-rounder as an overseas pick. Moreover, he has an experience of only 12 games. But, with a base price of 20 Lakhs, teams like KXIP with more room for overseas players might give him a look in, at least as a replacement for Gayle and also a prospect for the future.
Two Indian batsmen good at boundary hitting and rotation are Gahlaut Rahul Singh and Mohammed Azharuddeen. Playing for Services and Kerala respectively, both were imperious in the recent edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT). Both have a 20 Lakh base price. Azhar’s hundred against Mumbai was one of the innings of the tournament. The advantage that Rahul holds is that he is a middle-order batsman, a position much in demand. Azhar made his name as an opener.
There are three batsmen in the 2 Crore price band that do not find a name here. They are Steve Smith, Jason Roy and Kedar Jadhav. It is because neither of them have a T20 strike-rate of 135 or above since 2019.
Most of the teams have their spin department sorted out. But, most of them require a pacer – Indian or overseas. There are a total of 139 pacers under the list of bowlers and all-rounders. To filter among these, let us have a look at the pacers with a minimum of 300 balls in T20s since 2019. Further, the bowlers below have an economy of 7.5 or below or balls per wicket record of 18 or fewer. The objective is to segregate the pacers as either wicket-taking, economical, both or neither.
Mark Wood, listed under the 2 Crore tag, does not find a name here. It is because Wood has bowled 29 overs across only eight innings since 2019. A couple of pacers expected to be in demand are Jhye Richardson and Kyle Jamieson, both of whom have numbers suggesting that they would be good picks.
Some teams like RCB, DC, RR and MI are too thin on Indian pace. A few names that stand out above are Lukman Meriwala, Chetan Sakariya, Sayan Ghosh, Aniket Choudhary, Sumit Kumar, Akash Deep and Atit Sheth. Meriwala representing Baroda was the pacer with most wickets in the recent SMAT. Saurashtra's Sakariya bowled with an economy of 4.3. These two along with Choudhary have an added advantage of being left-arm pacers.
The known Indian names like Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot and Varun Aaron have represented various franchises before. However, they have never been able to establish themselves. Teams might gamble on some of the above mentioned unknown commodities instead.
There are a total of 128 players listed as all-rounders. But, quite a few who have numbers that justify their role. Let us have a look at some of those who have bowled and faced 100 balls or more in T20s since 2019. As an added filter, let us look at those with an economy of 8.5 or less and batting strike-rate of 120 or more.
Teams like RCB and KXIP who need a batting all-rounder should look for players at the right side of the graph to players like Glenn Maxwell and Moeen Ali. While MI who usually go for bowlers who can bat are likely to bid for Kylie Jamieson or Chris Morris.
There are a few surprises here in players like Ravi Bopara who have performed both roles since 2019. Among the Indian players, Parvez Rasool has been exceptional in recent years and might get a bid from teams looking for an off-spinner.
Two key players missing here are Shakib Al Hasan, whose batting strike-rate is 117.64 in this duration. However, he missed competitive cricket for 12 months and has a reputation that goes beyond numbers. Moises Henriques – another player likely to get a bid – misses out as he has bowled only 72 balls since 2019.
To wrap up, there a few players that are likely to induce a bidding war. Some of them deservingly while some just find themselves at the right place at the right time. In Shivam Dube’s case, in the right role and nationality as well-
Also read, in-depth auction strategy for each side-