The IPL 2020 auction will happen on December 19, 2019, in Kolkata. The festivities will begin from 3.30 pm IST and the whole world will watch 332 players go under the hammer with eight franchises vying for some of the best T20 players.
The list includes a total of 186 Indians, 143 overseas & 3 players from Associate nations. Various teams have their requirements going into this auction and the players’ auction list was recently announced with some players putting their name in the highest base price bracket of INR 2 crore, with all of them being foreign talents.
One franchise, who will be having an eagle eye on the auction and that is Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), who have started well in the last two editions of the tournament, only to falter at the fag end and lose momentum. This time, however, they have a new coach in Anil Kumble and have released their captain Ravichandran Ashwin, looking for a new direction with new leadership.
Here are the five players who KXIP might be targeting in the upcoming auction:
Azim Kazi is a left-handed batsman-cum-bowler hailing from Maharashtra. He made his debut this year in FC against Haryana, while featured prominently in the limited-overs tournaments, the Vijay Hazare Trophy and the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 trophy. The 26-year-old has played 6 List-A games and 21 T20s to go with the one FC match for Maharashtra. He was in news lately for starring in multiple wins for his state side in both the 50-over tournament and the Syed Mushtaq Ali.
First, in the Vijay Hazare clash against Himachal, he stroked a timely 84 in 82 balls as his team floundered at 28/4 in a chase of 202 runs. He hit 10 fours and one six in his innings which got his side home by three wickets.
The second highlight performance was his brilliant 44 in 28 balls against Railways in the 20-over tournament recently, as his innings laden with four sixes and one four helped Maharashtra to an 8-run win. He is someone in whom KXIP can invest if they want to create a star for the future.
21-year-old Tom Banton from Buckinghamshire, England is the hottest property in T20 cricket at the moment. He has brought attention on him for his fearless batting at the top which has attracted many t20 franchise teams. He has already played in the T10 league in Abu Dhabi and will feature for the Brisbane Heat in the upcoming Big Bash League 2019-20.
Banton has an envious record with 524 runs in 18 List A matches and 647 runs in 20 T20 matches with one century each in the format. He also scored an 80 in a T10 game for Qalandars against the Tuskers. He has all the modern era shots in his quiver and the genius to know when to use those shots.
He has already said he is looking forward to playing in the Indian league and KXIP is the team who could use his expertise at the top to partner KL Rahul, given that despite retaining Chris Gayle, they know that he isn’t reliable anymore when it comes to fitness. Banton is younger and eager to impress and the Punjab franchise could provide him with the platform to do so.
Kings XI Punjab has retained Mohammad Shami, Hardus Viljoen and Arshdeep Singh for fast bowlers for the upcoming IPL 2020. They are in dire need of some foreign fast bowlers and who better than Pat Cummins who was released by Delhi Daredevils after opting out of the previous edition of the tournament.
Cummins, who is looking to practice ahead of the 2020 T20 World Cup, was brilliant for DD in IPL 2018 and showed why he is considered to be one of the best modern bowlers. He has come fitter and stronger from his back injury and five years away from cricket and has had his share of workload as well. He has 97 wickets in 72 T20 matches at an economy of 7.72.
Cummins will relish bowling on the fast Mohali pitch and if KXIP does get him in the auction, it will be a sight to see him and Shami bowling in tandem. His batting prowess in the end overs are just a bonus and the Punjab franchise will only be richer, even if they have to splurge a fortune to get his services.
New Zealand all-rounder is currently out of Kiwi team and though he has played for Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League previously; his stocks just went up thanks to his performance in the 2019 World Cup, where he almost managed to take New Zealand to the championship gold, if not for that boundary count rule.
Neesham is a T20 veteran with 111 games under his belt for various franchises and has picked 104 wickets and made 1525 runs. He was recently in-form in the Caribbean Premier League and has been on the radar of other franchises as well. The social media funnyman is looking forward to playing in the league.
The Punjab IPL team is missing a quality all-rounder in their lineup as they have released Sam Curran and Neesham is someone they should be targeting hard in the auction and given his decent price, he could well possibly prove to be a steal.
England captain Eoin Morgan has been part of Kings XI Punjab before as well but has been extremely unlucky not to get a longer run with any of the franchises in the tournament. He has also played for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Kolkata Knight Riders. His fortune has turned ever since becoming the captain of England and taking them to the World cup crown in 2019.
Morgan is an established player in the T20 format and the Irishman has a stellar record of 6185 runs in 282 matches with 33 fifties and the highest score of 91 at a strike rate of 131.37. However, the reason why KXIP must focus on him is because of his tremendous leadership skills and captaincy acumen. The franchise released their captain of the past two seasons R Ashwin and Morgan is the best bet as skipper for them.
Morgan can lead the younger brigade of Kings XI Punjab well and can give desired results especially with the new-look coaching team with Anil Kumble at the helm and that’s the reason he might be targeted by KXIP management at the upcoming auction.
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