Cricket

IPL Auction | An Australian conundrum

Tendency of late pull-outs make franchises wary of going for big-ticket players from Down Under

To go big or be conservative? That’s the question that would be plaguing multiple Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise managements with regard to chasing established Australian cricketers during Thursday’s Player Auction in Kolkata.

As a result, despite the Australians being set to be the second biggest draw — as has been the case in most auctions — many franchises are confused on how to punt on Down Under’s top stars.

Barring Dale Steyn and Angelo Mathews, all the other cricketers with highest base price of ₹2 crore are Australians. While the likes of Glenn Maxwell (who hit the headlines for taking a sabbatical citing mental health issues) and Chris Lynn, the T20 specialist who has been released by the Kolkata Knight Riders, are set to fetch 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 the three tick the wishlist of at least three IPL outfits. But, the past experience with Australians has made the franchises unsure of going big on them at the auction table.

Last-minute decision

The coaching staff and executive members of at least two franchises confided to The Hindu 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. Cummins, who fetched ₹5.4 crore from Mumbai Indians, pulled out due to a mysterious injury at the start of the 2018 auction.

The franchises have also been factoring in Cricket Australia’s policy of monitoring contracted players 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 are optimistic of a more liberal approach this time around. “With the T20 World Cup approaching, the Australian selectors would be closely monitoring how their players fare,” said a team management official.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 4:00:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/ipl-auction-an-australian-conundrum/article30332819.ece

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