IPL 2020: What is stopping franchises from going after Australian players?

Tendency of late pull-outs have made franchises wary of going after big-ticket Australians in the IPL auction scheduled to happen in Kolkata on Thursday.

Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh all fall in the top bracket and each of the three tick the wishlist of at least three IPL outfits.

Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh all fall in the top bracket and each of the three tick the wishlist of at least three IPL outfits.   -  Getty Images

To go big or be conservative - that is the question plaguing multiple Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises with regard to chasing established Australian cricketers during Thursday’s auction for the 2020 season.

As a result, despite the Australians occupying the second-biggest pool (35 players) - as has been the case in a majority of IPL auctions - multiple franchises are confused on how to punt on Australia’s top stars, who are set to dominate the proceedings at the mini-auction, the first in Kolkata, ahead of next year’s expected overhaul.

Barring Dale Steyn and Angelo Mathews, all the other cricketers with the highest base price of Rs. 2 crore are Australians. While the likes of Glenn Maxwell, who opted for a sabbatical since October citing mental health issues, and Chris Lynn, the T20 specialist who has been released by the Kolkata Knight Riders, are set to fetch the big bucks, it’s the all-format specialists in Australia’s national set-up who have made the franchises jittery ahead of the auction.

Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Marsh all fall in the top bracket and each of the three tick the wishlist of at least three IPL outfits. Still, the past experience with Australians has made the franchises unsure of going big on them at the auction table.

READ: IPL 2020: Most expensive buys at auction in all seasons since 2008

Coaching staff and executive members of at least two franchises confided to Sportstar that they may wait till the last minute to decide on their auction strategy vis-a-vis Australians. “Haven’t we seen in the past of a team revolving one of its units around an Australian star and he pulls out at the eleventh hour, so we have to be cautious,” said one of them, preferring anonymity.

Mitchell Starc’s commitment - or the lack of it - to Royal Challengers Bangalore after 2015 seems to have made the franchises wary. Besides, Cummins, despite fetching Rs. 5.4 crore from Mumbai Indians, pulled out due to a mysterious injury at the start of the 2018 auction.

Moreover, the franchises have also been factoring in Cricket Australia’s (CA’s) policy of monitoring contracted players even during IPL. While Starc has opted out of IPL 2020, none of Australia’s World Cup regulars featured in the 2019 edition. However, the franchises have been optimistic of a more liberal approach this time around.

“With the T20 World Cup approaching, even the Australian selectors will be closely monitoring how their players fare in the IPL but still, I am not sure if there will be a big price-war for some of the biggest Australian stars in the auction,” said another team management official.

  Dugout videos