The Indian Premier League (IPL) is gearing up for its first mega-auction in fours years ahead of the 2022 season.
The franchises that include two fresh additions in Ahmedabad and Lucknow, will be chalking out their final set of auction strategies, backups and the core players around which their title aspirations will revolve.
While a humongous player pool of Indian and international stars are on offer, the teams will keep a close eye on IPL veterans who have revelled in the cricketing frenzy in the past.
Sportstar takes a look at the most accomplished IPL stars who will be up for fresh contracts at the 2022 auctions.
David Warner has encountered a topsy-turvy semester since the second leg of IPL 2021. A fallout with the Sunrisers Hyderabad management had the former champion skipper lose his leadership role to Kane Williamson after six matches before a poor run of form eventually cost him his spot in the side altogether. However, Warner scripted a remarkable turnaround as he rediscovered form during Australia's victorious T20 World Cup 2021 campaign in the UAE.
Warner finished second among run-getters in the tournament (289 runs, seven innings), including a half-century in the final against New Zealand.
A veteran of 150 IPL matches and 5449 runs, Warner will be on the checklist of most sides that are gunning for a solid opener. Furthermore, his leadership skills could make him a bankable choice among teams that remain undecided on their captain ahead of the auction.
Three prolific seasons on return to his home franchise at the Delhi Capitals helped Shikhar Dhawan rebrand himself as a T20 batter. Dhawan, the only opener to amass over 5000 runs in the IPL, upped his aggressive side during his stint at Delhi - scoring 1726 from 49 matches at a strike rate of 135.00, well over his career aggregate of 126.67.
Dhawan, who failed to find a spot in India's T20 World Cup 2021 squad, shone on return to the limited-overs setup with 169 runs in three ODIs against South Africa. The southpaw's renewed batting dynamics and experience could work in his favour as franchises zero in on their opening choices for the new edition.
With a bagful of tricks up his sleeve, Ravichandran Ashwin continues to discover ways to flourish in the batter-driven T20 era. Despite a quiet IPL 2021 season for the Delhi Capitals, Ashwin was drafted back into India's limited-overs setup after a four-year break through the 2021 T20 World Cup.
The 35-year-old is India's second-leading wicket-taker in the T20 format (264 wickets) and has been an IPL regular since the 2010 season.
Ashwin will head into the auction pool with a healthy record that boasts of 145 IPL wickets from 167 matches at an economy of 6.91, making him one of the most well-rounded spinners up for grabs in the two-day extravaganza.
A cornerstone performer for the Royal Challengers Bangalore since 2014, Yuzvendra Chahal evolved from a rookie leg-spinner to India's most successful T20I spinner over eight seasons.
Chahal donned the India colours for the first time in mid-2016 and took over the mantle from R Ashwin as its lead limited-overs spinner. But wavering form and lowly returns in the lead-up to the T20 World Cup 2021 cost him his spot in India's squad at the marquee event to the senior off-spinner.
However, Chahal's IPL numbers in the period have been second to none. Since the 2019 season, the 31-year-old has been the most successful spinner in the league with 57 wickets from 44 matches. With an overall IPL record of 139 wickets from 114 matches, Chahal is likely to be among the key Indian signings at the 2022 IPL auction.
Faf du Plessis
In an IPL career of 100 matches, Proteas superstar Faf du Plessis has revelled for the Chennai Super Kings across two successful stints (2011-15, 2018-21).
du Plessis, who was snubbed from South Africa's T20 World Cup 2021 squad last September, proceeded to light up the second leg of IPL 2021. The CSK opener joined forces with Ruturaj Gaikwad in the quest for the Orange Cup wherein he would finish second with 633 runs from 16 matches, including a match-winning 86 in the final against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Besides his adaptive batting style, the T20 globetrotter will also bring in his leadership nous and acrobatic fielding capabilities to the auction table at a base price of INR 2 crores.
South Africa's Kagiso Rabada has stamped his name among leading pacers in IPL history at a staggering rate in under four seasons.
Picked up in the 2017 auction by Delhi Capitals, Rabada scalped six wickets in as many games in his maiden season. While he missed the next season, the Capitals retained him for the 2019 edition where he scalped 25 wickets from 12 matches.
Rabada was crucial in Delhi's ascent to the IPL 2020 final - finishing the season as the Purple Cap holder with 30 wickets to his name. A fierce strike bowler in the death overs, Rabada has bagged 39 wickets in the period since 2019 - the most among all bowlers in the league.
Rabada is the fastest bowler to cross 50 wickets in IPL history and currently has 76 wickets to his name in 50 matches. Slated at a base price of Rs. 2 crores, Rabada also possesses the best bowling strike rate (15.00) in the league and is likely to be among the overseas stars who could stir up a bidding war at the auction.
New Zealand's left-arm speedster Trent Boult moves into the IPL auction after two prolific seasons with the Mumbai Indians. Boult forged a lethal combination with Jasprit Bumrah and became Mumbai's spearhead in the PowerPlay overs during its title-winning run in 2020.
Boult's adept knack for striking with the new ball makes him an excellent addition to any T20 bowling attack. The 32-year-old has racked up 21 wickets in the PowerPlay since IPL 2020 - the most among all bowlers. Boult has picked up 76 wickets from 62 IPL matches and will walk into the auction frenzy at a base price of INR 2 crores.
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