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Will PBKS, RR and GT go after right players at the 2024 auction?

article_imageAUCTION PREVIEW
Last updated on 16 Dec 2023 | 03:35 PM
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Will PBKS, RR and GT go after right players at the 2024 auction?

What do these three teams need to do to strengthen their squad in the upcoming auction?

Punjab Kings

Current Probable XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Jonny Bairstow*, Prabhsimran Singh, Liam Livingstone*, Jitesh Sharma, Sam Curran*, Rishi Dhawan/Harpreet Brar, Nathan Ellis/Kagiso Rabada*, Rahul Chahar, Arshdeep Singh, Indian Pacer

Wishlist: Finisher at number seven, Indian pacers, Sam Curran’s backup

CDC picks for PBKS: Kartik Tyagi, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rovman Powell

Punjab Kings will eye to fill a few crucial spots, the most important being that of a finisher at number seven, after Shahrukh Khan’s release. They currently have the likes of Rishi Dhawan and Harpreet Brar occupying those positions. For better batting depth and given the presence of two all-rounders in the side in Curran and Livingstone, Punjab can afford a specialist batter at seven. 

Shahrukh’s release frees up nine crore for the Kings. However, there are not many Indian players available in the role, making a case for them to repurchase Shahrukh at a lower price. If not, they will have to look at fresh domestic faces, like Ashutosh Sharma - a lower middle order batter who scored 183 runs at a strike rate of 277.3 for Railways in the 2023 SMAT season. 

There are more options in the overseas department. Rovman Powell can be a brilliant number seven for the Kings if they can accommodate him in the XI. Considering the uncertainty around the unavailability of England’s Test players, Powell can be slotted in case of Jonny Bairstow’s absence. 

An Indian pacer would be their second most significant priority. Their current pool of Indian pacers, barring Arshdeep Singh, includes only two names - Rishi Dhawan, with 12 IPL games in the last two seasons and Vidwath Kaverappa, who is yet to make his IPL debut. They should bid aggressively for Kartik Tyagi, given Punjab seems short of express pacers in their pace attack. 

Regarding reserves, Sam Curran, one of Punjab’s tactically critical players, is also their only overseas player without a backup. That puts Azmatullah Omarzai on their wishlist, a batter with the highest ceiling among all the all-round options available at the auction. 

With a handy purse of 29.1 crore, Punjab should be able to cover these gaps provided they identify the right players. 

Rajasthan Royals 

Current Probable XI: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler*, Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer*, Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Avesh Khan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Trent Boult*, Prasidh Krishna

Wishlist: Two overseas all-rounders, overseas pacer as Trent Boult’s backup, backup Indian batters

CDC picks for RR: Azmatullah Omarzai, Pat Cummins, Dilshan Madushanka, David Willey, Urvil Patel, Daryl Mitchell, Karun Nair

Rajasthan Royals have the same gaps since the previous mega-auction - lack of an all-rounder. Their batting ends too soon, at number six, and the only bowling option in their top six is Riyan Parag - 26.1 overs bowled in five years. 

The Impact Player rule provides them the opportunity to cover for it. However, another auction means another chance to invest in an all-rounder. A batting all-rounder will suit them more at seven, bringing Omarzai into the picture. But Pat Cummins and Kyle Jamieson won’t be bad choices either. 

Next up on their shopping list could be a backup for Trent Boult. There will be many options at their disposal: Alzarri Joseph, Dilshan Madushanka, Spencer Johnson and Taskin Ahmed to name a few. David Willey will be both Boult’s backup and an all-rounder. 

Moving on, the Royals have only eight batters in their squad. Hence, more Indian batting options should be on their radar: Urvil Patel, Sumit Ghadigaonkar, and Harvik Desai are bright prospects from domestic cricket. They can also chip in for experienced backups in Karun Nair and Manish Pandey. 

Filling these spots, they will still have an overseas slot left, which can either go to a batter who can bowl seam up when required or another all-rounder. 

Overall, RR have only a few blemishes to fix. Given their limited purse (only 14.5 crore), the signings will mostly be about whoever is available at the cheapest price. We might again see them buying aggressively in the accelerated round towards the end. 

Gujarat Titans

Current Probable XI: Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan, Kane Williamson/Matthew Wade*, David Miller*, Abhinav Manohar, Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan*, Mohammed Shami, Josh Little*, Mohit Sharma

Wishlist: Overseas all-rounder, Aggressive top order batter, Indian pacers, Indian wicketkeeper 

CDC picks for GT: Azmatullah Omarzai, Pat Cummins, Travis Head, Phil Salt, Harshal Patel, Kartik Tyagi, Urvil Patel

Hardik Pandya’s release has given Gujarat the largest purse in this auction, but it has also left them with a void that is almost impossible to cover in IPL, i.e. a seam-bowling all-rounder, which becomes even worse when you lose an Indian recruit in the role. 

Vijay Shankar is left as the only batting all-rounder in the side and has bowled only 12.3 overs in the last three seasons of the IPL. Therefore, an all-rounder is indispensable for Gujarat. Their big purse helps them to outbid any other team for at least one player. 

Someone like Azmatullah Omarzai and Pat Cummins are great contenders. Omarzai comes in as a like-for-like replacement for Pandya. Cummins can be another lower order hitter with a frontline overseas bowling option after Gujarat released Alzarri Joseph. 

With their other overseas spot, Gujarat can increase the firepower in their top order. Phil Salt and Travis Head could be ideal opening partners for Shubman Gill to maximize the powerplay. 

The 2022 champions must also bolster the Indian contingent in their pace attack. Currently, they have only three Indian pacers. Hence, the likes of Kartik Tyagi, Chetan Sakariya, or even Harshal Patel (thanks to their purse) could be on their bucket list. 


*overseas players

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