IPL auctions: Uncapped players set for a fat purse

No doubt as some of the biggest names in the Indian Premier League (IPL) horizons will go under the hammer after a real long time, the Gayles, the Pollards and the Ashwins will steal the limelight over the next two days during the IPL Player Auction. But for the first time, the uncapped domestic cricketers are likely to be chased as desperately by all the eight franchises as the international stars.

Deepak Hooda, who was sold to the Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs. 4.2 crore after the Rajasthan Royals was suspended, recently tasted the India dressing room environment for the first time during the T20 series against Sri Lanka last month but did not get a game.   -  M.A. SRIRAM

No doubt as some of the biggest names in the Indian Premier League (IPL) horizons will go under the hammer after a real long time, the Gayles, the Pollards and the Ashwins will steal the limelight over the next two days during the IPL Player Auction. But for the first time, the uncapped domestic cricketers are likely to be chased as desperately by all the eight franchises as the international stars.

In fact, so sought-after are some of the big names among domestic uncapped players that in all likelihood, the next two days will witness the highest price tag for an uncapped player in the history of the IPL, eclipsing the sum of Rs. 8.5 crore dolled out by Delhi Daredevils for Pawan Negi in the 2016 auction.

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Ever since the domestic uncapped players were included in the auction pool, multiple domestic players have earned bids much higher than many regulars on the international circuit. And the Baroda all-rounder duo of Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda will be on the wish-list of virtually all the eight teams at the start of the auction.

Hooda, who was sold to the Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs. 4.2 crore after the Rajasthan Royals was suspended, recently tasted the India dressing room environment for the first time during the T20 series against Sri Lanka last month but did not get a game. Krunal, the elder brother of Hardik, will surely fetch a sum much higher than his last auction purse of Rs. 2 crore.

Despite the Mumbai Indians having an option to exercise the Right to Match option for the all-rounder, either Krunal could well fetch a sum closer to his younger brother's retention fees of Rs. 11 crore. Ditto is the case with Hooda who is one of the biggest hitters in domestic cricket. Tamil Nadu all-rounder Vijay Shankar will also not too far in the list as the middle-order batsman and pacer is on the radar of multiple teams.

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Besides the duo, fast bowlers Basil Thampi and Aniket Choudhary are also expected to add a few zeroes to their worth come Sunday. Don't be surprised if a plethora of India's current Under-19 squad also joins the list of crorepatis during the auction. Batsmen Prithvi Shaw, Himanshu Rana and Shubman Gill are set to pocket eight-figure contracts along with all-rounder Kamlesh Nagarkoti and pace bowlers Shivam Mavi and Aditya Thakare.

One of the main reasons for the domestic uncapped players in demand would be the fact that at least three teams are set to undergo a virtual overhaul of their squad. Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab have indicated their decision to form a new team while Delhi Daredevils are expected to continue with their recent tradition of a makeover to its squad virtually every season.

It could result in the domestic uncapped players – along with Australia batsman D'Arcy Short and England all-rounder Jofra Archer, who has earlier featured in an Under-19 World Cup for the West Indies – becoming household names over the weekend.