Just the way it has done on so many occasions, the IPL auction threw us a lot of surprises. Some of the big-money signings like that of Pat Cummins or Glenn Maxwell were expected, but franchises spending big money on Piyush Chawla, Kane Richardson or Sheldon Cottrell wasn’t a part of the masses’ expectations.
Some very prolific youngsters like Rohan Kadam and Sumit Kumar went unsold in the auction, much to the surprise of the domestic cricket followers. Yet, the U19 Indian stars Yashashvi Jaiswal and Priyam Garg received good paychecks and one of the stories of the day was Pravin Tambe getting picked yet again, at the age of 48.
Some of the franchises went on to buy a good number of foreign players, some of which came in as a huge surprise as well.
Here are five of those sold overseas players who will find it very difficult to make it into the playing XI this season:
1. Mitchell Marsh (SRH)
The Sunrisers had to let go of Shakib Al Hasan after a ban was imposed on him by the ICC. This meant they had to look for an all-rounder in the auction and they roped in two foreign all-rounders – Mitchell Marsh and Fabian Allen. They already have Mohammad Nabi in the side, whose position in the XI is not guaranteed and it seems like Sunrisers have a fixed foreign core.
Kane Williamson will continue to lead the troops with David Warner and Jonny Bairstow opening. Rashid Khan is a no-brainer in the side, which means the other four foreign players will find it tough to get into the XI. Of those remaining four overseas cricketers, Mitchell Marsh’s chances of making it to the XI are the slimmest.
Billy Stanlake could enter if Rashid Khan needs to sit out and if Jonny Bairstow is not performing well, they will add an Indian batsman and prefer Mohammad Nabi over Allen and Marsh. He clearly is a back-up to a back-up, which means the chances of us witnessing him on the field of play are not very high.
2. Kane Richardson (RCB)
It didn’t make a lot of sense for the Royal Challengers to spend INR 4 Crore on Kane Richardson and it is almost certain he will struggle to find a place in the XI. The Australian might not have expected a bid for this edition, but he ended up getting it despite not having the best of domestic seasons.
AB de Villiers, Aaron Finch and Chris Morris are definitely going to be in the XI, which means the other remaining spot will be up for a coin-toss between Dale Steyn or Isuru Udana going by recent form. It will be very difficult for the Aussie pacer to make his way into the XI despite getting a huge bid.
Considering the fact that Dale Steyn is injury prone, he could keep his hopes high of getting into the XI at some stage of the tournament. But if the Proteas legend manages to see through the entire tournament, there is no way Richardson will be prioritized over the South African.
3. Jason Roy (DC)
Did the Delhi Capitals even need this man? Most people would say no and there is nothing wrong with that opinion. They have the most explosive Indian top order among all the teams, with as many as six options who can bat in the top three spots. Adding to that is their brilliant recruitments, which include the likes of Chris Woakes, Alex Carey, Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer.
It seems virtually impossible for the Capitals to even think of fitting him into the XI unless they decide to keep aside a first-choice top-order batsman and also drop a middle-order overseas cricketer. He clearly is a backup option and earned a spot because they do not want to let go of a talent like him.
Roy coming back to Delhi might be a surprise, but the talent he possesses can attract any side in the league. Delhi’s first-choice overseas picks, as it stands, could be Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey, Chris Woakes and Kagiso Rabada. They might prefer an all-Indian batting attack to go with a top-notch foreign bowling attack.
4. Chris Green (KKR)
Chris Green has impressed many experts with his talent and as expected, he did attract a bid. Green is quick, agile and most importantly, the youthful exuberance running in his veins is always worth an investment. Kolkata Knight Riders bagged him for his base price but the problem is, he might not get a single game.
Just to give the readers a gist of what Green has got into, he is in a team that already has Lockie Ferguson, Sunil Nairne, Harry Gurney and the latest big-money signing Pat Cummins. Andre Russell, if fit, picks himself in the side and Eoin Morgan too is a must in their batting order which looks relatively inexperienced besides Russell and Karthik.
It will be a great learning curve for the youngster just to be a part of this setup and rub shoulders with some of the best in the business. He is currently playing for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League and given he produces a spell of mind-boggling performances, he could challenge for a spot.
5. Nathan Coulter-Nile (MI)
Lasith Malinga, Trent Boult, Mitchell McCleneghan – After having three quality bowlers of this calibre, it didn’t make a lot of sense for the Mumbai Indians to go for another fast bowling option. Having said that, they will definitely be boosted with their bench strength, especially in the fast bowling department.
The permutations and combinations could get very complicated as the season progresses for Mumbai Indians and the only way Coulter-Nile can come into the XI is via an injury or if the team management decides to shuffle the lineup a little bit. It seems obvious that one among Quinton de Kock and Chris Lynn will definitely start, with Kieron Pollard and Sherfane Rutherford fighting for another spot.
In that scenario, Coulter-Nile at best will be the third choice overseas seamer in the team, which doesn’t promise a position in the playing XI. If the management decides to play both De Kock and Lynn, there is no way Coulter-Nile can get into the squad. Mumbai now have a problem of plenty and it’ll be interesting to see how they deal with this.
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