The IPL 2020 Auction is just a couple of weeks away as the team management of the respective franchises would have kicked off their planning for the event. The franchises focus on maximizing their budget by spending less money and gaining more talent. However, there are some special talents like MS Dhoni who have a mega IPL contract.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) pay Rs 15 Crore for MS Dhoni’s precious services and if he enters the auction by any chance, the veteran might get much more. While some teams try to recruit the star players, the others look to build a good squad with some underrated talents. They usually have a lot of budget left with themselves as they only use a limited amount of money.
This article features a playing XI of IPL’s value-for-money players. The most interesting thing about this XI is that it is cheaper than MS Dhoni’s salary.
Best XI cheaper than MS Dhoni’s IPL salary
Jos Buttler (Rs 4.4 Crores) (WK)
Former Mumbai Indians star, Jos Buttler earned a contract worth 4.40 Crores from Rajasthan Royals in IPL auction 2018. The Englishman has made every penny of his contract count with his incredible performances on the field. Buttler scored 548 runs in 13 matches for RR in 2018.
He registered 5 fifties that year besides hitting 52 fours and 21 sixes. Buttler also made his presence felt behind the stumps with 9 catches and 1 stumping. Because of the 2019 World Cup, the wicketkeeper-batsman could only take part in 8 matches during IPL 2019.
However, in those 8 games as well, he scored 311 runs and was amongst the highest run-scorers of his side. He is one of the few players who can bat anywhere in the batting order. But, he performs the best when opening the innings.
Devdutt Padikkal (Rs 20 Lakhs)
Karnataka’s newest domestic star, Devdutt Padikkal had been a part of the IPL Auction in 2019. The U19 talent received a bid from the perennial underachievers Royal Challengers Bangalore as they signed him for his base price only.
Since the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel and Moeen Ali were present in the team’s top order, the team management never included Devdutt in the playing XI. He watched the entire season from the bench but this year, he may open the innings for Bangalore.
The reason behind that is his rise in the domestic circuit. Padikkal played an important role in Karnataka’s Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy triumphs. He was the most consistent batsman of his team. Thus, he will prove to be an asset for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the upcoming IPL season.
Kane Williamson (Rs 3 Crores) (C)
One of the best captains in the cricket world right now, Kane Williamson leads the Sunrisers Hyderabad team in the Indian Premier League. He is also the captain of New Zealand and he had led his nation to the finale in the ICC World Cup 2019.
Given that he has so much experience as a captain, Williamson is the best man to lead this XI. He has been consistent with the bat as well. Though he is not a hard hitter of the ball but, the fans enjoy the way he sweetly times the ball. He had even won the Orange Cap in IPL 2018.
Sunrisers Hyderabad had struck gold by signing him for just Rs 3 Crores in the auction. He has made a name for himself while donning the orange jersey in the cash-rich league. As Hyderabad has retained him ahead of the auction, he will lead them in the IPL next year.
Ambati Rayudu (Rs 2.2 Crores)
Perhaps, the most controversial cricketer of 2019, Ambati Rayudu’s fortunes had changed when Chennai Super Kings signed him for Rs 2.2 Crores in the IPL Auction 2018. He had been a part of Mumbai Indians for nearly a decade and, he even made his international debut riding on his IPL performances.
Rayudu was one of the leading contenders to take the number 4 spot for team India in the 2019 World Cup. However, the selectors ignored him during the team selection. Talking about his IPL record, the right-handed batsman had been a match-winner for Mumbai Indians.
But, Chennai Super Kings changed his life by using him as an opener. Rayudu became a big star before IPL 2018 ended as he played a key role in his team’s championship win. Though he could not carry forward his form in 2019, he will look to make his mark in IPL 2020.
Sarfaraz Khan (Rs 25 Lakhs)
Former Royal Challengers Bangalore star, Sarfaraz Khan was expected to be the next big thing in Indian cricket. Such was the hype surrounding him that Royal Challengers Bangalore picked him along with Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers as their top three retentions in 2018.
Although he worked a lot on his fitness, Sarfaraz could not live up to the expectations in IPL 2018. Soon, the Royal Challengers Bangalore released him from their squad and did not even bid for him in 2019 Auction. Then, the Kings XI Punjab grabbed him for a bargain price of Rs 25 lakhs.
He played two good knocks for them in the middle order. Thus, the team management has kept his services for IPL 2020. Khan will look to make amends in the IPL 13 as he possesses the talent and needs to be used properly.
Abhishek Sharma (Rs 55 Lakhs)
Abhishek Sharma has a bright future ahead because he has shown a lot of promise as an all-rounder. Sharma had grabbed the limelight by playing a fantastic innings for Delhi Capitals in a league match against Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2018.
The fans were impressed with his big-hitting skill but, Delhi traded him to Sunrisers Hyderabad during the 2019 trade window. As Hyderabad had Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda, Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Nabi in their squad, they did not use him much.
However, ahead of IPL 2020, they have let go of the same trio. Hence, the cricket universe can expect Abhishek to feature in the playing XI regularly this year. He can a valuable asset for any T20 team in the lower middle order.
Harshal Patel (Rs 20 Lakhs)
The IPL viewers may not bill Harshal Patel as a match-winner in T20 cricket because he has not proved himself at the grand stage yet. However, the domestic cricket followers would have known that Patel is a special talent who can be a match-winner if used properly.
The all-rounder was a part of team Haryana in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 Trophy. He played a vital role in his team’s journey to the semifinals. Team captain Amit Mishra used him as a batsman at the top of the order and then entrusted him with the bowling responsibilities as well.
Harshal ended the season as the best all-rounder and, Delhi Capitals would have been extremely happy with his performances because they needed an explosive all-rounder who could bat between Rishabh Pant and Axar Patel in IPL 2020.
Mitchell Santner (Rs 50 lakhs)
Another Kiwi player to feature in this playing XI cheaper than MS Dhoni’s salary is his IPL teammate, Mitchell Santner. Chennai Super Kings had bought him in the auction as the conditions in Chennai support the spinners and Santner had impressed a lot in the 2016 T20 World Cup.
The left-arm spinner has not received many opportunities as Chennai Super Kings use Ravindra Jadeja as their premier slow left-arm orthodox bowler. Besides, the presence of Imran Tahir does not allow Santner to take the overseas spinner’s slot as well.
Though he has not been a big star in the Indian Premier League, the cricket universe knows about his all-round talent. He can keep a strict check on the run flow in the middle overs and can also change the game with his aggressive batting down the order.
Avesh Khan (Rs 70 lakhs)
The young Indian fast bowler, Avesh Khan has earned a lot of praise with his quick bowling in the domestic circuit as well as the Indian Premier League. Playing for Delhi Capitals, Khan had formed a good partnership with Ishant Sharma and Kagiso Rabada.
The only weak point of Khan’s bowling is his economy rate. The 23-year-old fast bowler concedes runs at a hammering rate. He made his IPL debut for in the year 2017 and he returned with figures of 1/23 in 4 overs. Next year, Avesh received more opportunities as he played 6 matches in IPL 2018.
He picked 4 wickets in those games and had best figures of 2/29. However, his economy rate of 10.73 worried the team management. The Delhi Capitals backroom staff gave him only match in IPL 2019 where he gave away 30 runs in his 3 wicket-less overs.
Ishant Sharma (Rs 1.1 Crores)
Another Indian fast bowler from the Delhi Capitals side, Ishant Sharma has been a completely different bowler ever since he returned from his injury break. Sharma has become a regular in the Indian Test team as he has also won a lot of matches for the nation.
He made his IPL return as a part of his home franchise, Delhi Capitals in 2019. After having two disastrous seasons in 2016 and 2017, Ishant was under immense pressure to deliver the goods. Along with Rabada and Trent Boult in the fast bowling department, he was impressive
As he was playing in his home conditions, Ishant exceeded all expectations by picking 13 wickets in 13 matches. His economy rate came down from 9.94 in 2017 to 7.58 in 2019 as the fans rejoiced the Indian fast bowler’s return to form. He will be a vital cog for Delhi in IPL 2020 as well.
Imran Tahir (Rs 1 Crore)
Chennai Super Kings’ leg-spinner, Imran Tahir silenced his critics by winning the Purple Cap award in IPL 2019. He was the star performer for the yellow brigade bowling department picking up 26 wickets in 17 matches.
Besides, the South African spinner also controlled the run flow by conceding runs at a rate of only 6.69. MS Dhoni used him to perfection on the spin-friendly tracks in Chennai. Also, he used Tahir as his trump card in the middle overs.
Though the age is not by his side, Tahir has continued to perform well in the T20 format. He has been bowling well in the ongoing Mzansi Super League 2019. Hence, Chennai Super Kings would be happy about their decision of retaining him for just 1 Crore ahead of IPL 2020.
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