Sam Curran, who was player of the final and the tournament at the 2022 World Cup, is among 21 men who have listed the maximum reserve price of INR 2 crore (approx US$ 246,000) for the 2023 IPL auction.
Not a single Indian player is listed in the 2 crore bracket which includes marquee names like England Test captain Ben Stokes, Australian allrounder Cameron Green, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Nicholas Pooran who stepped down recently as West Indies white-ball captain.
A maximum of 87 players can be bought at the auction (squad strength of 25 each) of which 30 can be overseas names. The auction is scheduled on December 23 in Kochi.
A total of 991 players (714 Indian and 277 overseas) are part of the initial long list which the IPL shared with the 10 franchises on Thursday. The IPL will prune this down based on input from the franchises, who have until December 9 to get back to the tournament authorities.
Agarwal, Rahane part of Indian group
In what is a first, not one Indian player is listed in the highest reserve price band of 2 crore. The list of 19 capped Indians mainly comprises discarded national players including Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma and Mayank Agarwal.
Rahane was released by Kolkata Knight Riders having bought him for 1 crore in the last auction. His base price this time is 50 lakh. Ishant, who had gone unsold in 2022, is asking for 75 lakh.
Agarwal was the first player to be retained ahead of the mega auction last year by Punjab Kings and was also handed captaincy of the team. However, a below par season, both for the player and the franchise, forced Kings to release Agarwal, who had been paid 14 crore last season.
Agarwal has listed his base price at 1 crore. Left-arm fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat, who has been among the highest-paid players at IPL auctions, has listed his base price at 50 lakh. Unadkat, who has been in stellar form having led Saurashtra to the Vijay Hazare Trophy final, where he is the leading wicket-taker, was released by Mumbai Indians, who had bought him for 1.3 crore in 2022.
Focus on Curran, Stokes, Green
The most keenly awaited part of an IPL auction - mega or mini - has been the order in which a player's name comes out for bidding. And usually franchises pay a lot of attention, and money to the marquee names*. It is fair to assume that Curran, Stokes, Williamson and Pooran will be part of this set along with probably Agarwal.
Overseas allrouders have always been a mega hit at mini auctions and the in-form trio of Curran, Stokes and Green will fancy a fat pay cheque as an early Christmas present on December 23. While Green has never featured in IPL, the England duo have significant experience.
Currran last played in the tournament in 2021 for Chennai Super Kings before a stress fracture in his lower back forced him to miss a lot of cricket. The Super Kings had bought Curran for 5.5 crore and will once again aim to buy him though rival franchises like Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings, who go in with the two biggest purses, will have a better chance of landing the England allrounder who is a proven match-winner both with ball and bat.
The year 2021 was also the last time Stokes played the IPL. Representing Rajastthan Royals, Stokes left the season at the halfway stage due to an injury. Royals had bought Stokes for 12.5. crore in 2018 and had retained him for the next three years. In 2022, Stokes opted out of the IPL.
As for Green, he recently said despite the massive workload confronting Australian players leading to, and immediately after, IPL 2023, he was excited to participate in the tournament. Green turned a lot of heads during Australia's white-ball series in India just before the T20 World Cup where he scored 118 runs at a strike rate of 214.54 while opening the batting. Coupled with his bowling the 23-year old could prove to be a big asset in T20 cricket.
Dwayne Bravo looks to have said goodbye to the IPL (at least as a player). Having been released by the Super Kings ahead of the auction, his name was not among the 991 put forward in the long list.
Bravo is a three-time IPL winner and the tournament's highest wicket-taker (183). MS Dhoni's team had brought him on in 2011 and had kept faith in him through to 2022. But at 39 years of age and battling injuries, it is likely that the West Indian will now shift to a backroom role much like his great friend Kieron Pollard has at Mumbai Indians.
Among the 14 overseas countries, Australia with 57 players have the most in the auction. But two of their very best - Steven Smith and Marnus Labuschagne - are missing from the list. Although given how neither of them had any takers last year, and are likely to be heavily involved in Ashes preparation with the series starting June 16, it may not be too much of a surprise that they've chosen to skip the IPL. Australia's Test and ODI captain Pat Cummins has pulled out as well.
The 2 crore band: Nathan Coulter-Nile, Cameron Green, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Tom Banton, Sam Curran, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills, Jamie Overton, Craig Overton, Adil Rashid, Phil Salt, Ben Stokes, Adam Milne, Jimmy Neesham, Kane Williamson, Rilee Rossouw, Rassie van der Dussen, Angelo Mathews, Nicholas Pooran, Jason Holder
The 1.5 crore band: Sean Abbott, Riley Meredith, Jhye Richardson, Adam Zampa, Shakib Al Hasan, Harry Brook, Will Jacks, Dawid Malan, Jason Roy, Sherfane Rutherford
The 1 crore band: Mayank Agarwal, Kedar Jadhav, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Moises Henriques, Andrew Tye, Joe Root, Luke Wood, Michael Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Martin Guptill, Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Heinrich Klaasen, Tabraiz Shamsi, Kusal Perera, Roston Chase, Rakheem Cornwall, Shai Hope, Akeal Hossein, David Wiese
*The earlier version had said the marquee set opens the mini auction, which is not the case.