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IPL Auction 2016: The 10 best buys on offer

February 03, 2016 21:03 IST

351 cricketers -- 230 Indians and 131 foreigners -- will go under the hammer in Saturday's IPL auction.

Ahead of the bidding, Harish Kotian/Rediff.com lists the top 10 players who could trigger a bidding frenzy.

Off the field, the Indian Premier League's players auction could well rank among the most-watched cricketing events.

Interestingly, it is not the fans who show interest, but players from around the world, who are glued to their television sets or follow the bidding on the Internet.

A total of 351 cricketers -- of which 230 are Indians and 131 foreigners -- will go under the hammer in Saturday's auction in Bengaluru for the ninth edition of the cash-rich T20 extravaganza.

Interestingly, there are 29 Australians among the 130 capped players in the auction list, three more than the number of capped Indians.

The capped players from other countries in the auction are from South Africa (18 players), the West Indies (20), Sri Lanka (16), England (7), New Zealand (9) and Bangladesh (5), besides associate nations Canada (2) and Ireland (2).

There will also be 219 uncapped players up for grabs, 204 of them being Indians playing on the domestic circuit.

Ahead of the auction, here are 10 players hard to ignore.

Yuvraj Singh

IMAGE: Yuvraj Singh in action for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 7 in 2014. Photograph: BCCI

Yuvraj Singh

Role: All-Rounder

Base Price: Rs 2,00,00,000

Yuvi did not have much to do with the bat in India's 3-0 whitewash of Australia in the T20I series Down Under.

However, after his last over heroics in the third game in Sydney few will bet against him again being the most sought-after player at the auction.

With 17 needed for victory off the final over, Yuvi hit Andrew Tye for a four and six off the first two deliveries before Suresh Raina's boundary off the final delivery sealed a seven-wicket victory.

Those two deliveries could prove handy for Yuvi in the February 6 auction.

Despite being left out of the ODI squad, India fell back to his experience for the T20 series in Australia with an eye on the upcoming World T20.

His price went through the roof at the last two IPL auctions. He was bought for a record Rs 14 crore (rs 140 million) and Rs 16 crore (Rs 160 million) by the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Daredevils respectively.

Another fat sum awaits the left-hander this year.

Ashish Nehra

IMAGE: Chennai Super Kings fast bowler Ashish Nehra celebrates a wicket during IPL 7 in 2014. Photograph: BCCI

Ashish Nehra

Role: Bowler

Base price: Rs 2,00,00,000

Another veteran who will be in demand.

The left-arm fast bowler made a comeback to international cricket after four years for the T20 series in Australia and did not disappoint.

Another factor that tilts the scales in his favour is his performance for the Chennai Super Kings in the last IPL, when he claimed 22 wickets in 16 games.

Dale Steyn

IMAGE: Sunrisers Hyderabad fast bowler Dale Steyn in IPL 8 in 2015. Photograph: BCCI

Dale Steyn

Role: Bowler

Base Price: Rs 1,50,00,000

Many were surprised when Sunrisers Hyderabad let go of the world's most fearsome bowler.

Steyn failed to live up to expectations last year, and Trent Boult was preferred ahead of him.

Steyn played just six games, taking three wickets in IPL 8. However, he did well in the preceding seasons, claiming 19 and 11 wickets in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

He is under an injury cloud of late, having played just one match in the four-Test series against India and suffering the same fate in the Test series against England.

There is no doubting his pace and skill and most franchises will be keen to secure his services.

Shane Watson

IMAGE: Shane Watson hits a four during his unbeaten 124 in the third T20 game against India in Sydney, January 31, 2016. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images

Shane Watson

Role: All-Rounder

Base Price: Rs 2,00,00,000

Watto was handed a lifeline by the Australian selectors as far as his international career is concerned during the T20 series against India.

He grabbed the opportunity with both hands, scoring a swashbuckling 124* off 71 balls in the final T20I.

That century could ensure a big fat cheque at the auction.

His record in the IPL is impressive, having been a consistent performer for the now-defunct Rajasthan Royals, whom he joined in 2008.

Last year, he took over the Royals' captaincy and led the team from the front, scoring 347 runs from 10 games, including a century.

His all-round ability makes him a valuable player in the T20 format.

Kevin Pietersen

IMAGE: Kevin Pietersen of the Melbourne Stars during the Big Bash League game against the Adelaide Strikers at the Adelaide Oval, December 18, 2015. Photograph: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

Kevin Pietersen

Role: Batsman

Base Price: Rs 2,00,00,000

Pietersen pulled out of his IPL deal last year. He had signed up for Surrey to play in the county championship and hoped to regain his place in England's team.

After ECB director Andrew Strauss firmly shut the door on his England return, he made a late attempt for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the final stages of IPL 8 before an injury thwarted his plans.

IPL franchises will clamour for the big man following his superb showing for the Melbourne Stars in the Big Bash League.

He hit 323 runs in nine games, at a strike rate of 159, including four half centuries.

Martin Guptill

IMAGE: Martin Guptill in the first One Day International against Australia at Eden Park, Auckland, February 3, 2016. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Martin Guptill

Role: Batsman

Base Price: Rs 50,00,000

The ew Zealand opener is in the form of his career.

He hit an amazing 237 off 163 balls against the West Indies in the World Cup quarter-final last year, where he finished as the highest scorer, with 547 runs.

In December, he hit the fastest half-century by a New Zealander in ODIs, off just 17 balls, against Sri Lanka.

He also had a good run in the T20I series against Sri Lanka, scoring a 19-ball 50 in the second match.

In his last six T20 innings he has smashed four half centuries, at a very healthy strike rate: 60 from 35 balls, 58 from 34 balls and 63 from 25 balls against Sri Lanka; 87 not out from 58 balls and 42 from 19 balls against Pakistan.

One of his sixes during his quickfire 90 off 76 balls against Australia in the first ODI on Wednesday, February 3, measured 113 metres and landed on the roof at the Westpac stadium in Auckland.

He was ignored by the IPL franchises in the last couple of seasons. This time they will reject the tall Kiwi batsman at their own peril.

Very smartly, he has gone for a low base price of Rs 50 lakh (Rs 5 million), the lowest among the marquee lot of players, but surely he will go for much, much, more.

Ishant Sharma

IMAGE: Ishant Sharma celebrates after dismissing Shaun Marsh during the third ODI at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, January 17, 2016. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Ishant Sharma

Role: Bowler

Base price: Rs 2,00,00,000

The Indian team's current players are always in demand at an IPL auction and it is no surprise that Ishant starts with a base price of Rs 2 crore (Rs 20 million) despite not having done much in the limited-overs format in the last few years.

Over the last couple of years he has become more of a Test specialist, and struggled to live up to expectations in limited-overs cricket.

In the recent ODI series against Australia he failed to do much with the ball, claiming just nine wickets in four matches. He did not figure in the T20 series Down Under and is not part of India's scheme of things for the forthcoming three match T20 series against Sri Lanka.

In last year's IPL he struggled, claiming just one wicket from four matches and finished with a poor economy rate of more than 11.

But you can expect him to generate interest, given that there are two new franchises -- the Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants, who are looking to build their team.

Aaron Finch

IMAGE: Aaron Finch in the T20 game against India at the MCG, January 29, 2016. Photograph: Zak Kaczmarek/Getty Images

Aaron Finch

Role: Batsman

Base price: Rs 1,00,00,000

Australia's T20 captain is perfectly suited for the shortest format.

Opening the batting, Finch came up with good performances in the T20I and the ODI series against India.

He averages 41 in T20 Internationals, having scored 874 runs in 24 matches. Overall, he has 4,193 runs in 139 games, at an average of 34, in his T20 career.

Last season, the Mumbai Indians preferred West Indian Lendl Simmons as the opener. Finch played just three games and was promptly released.

Dwayne Smith

IMAGE: Dwayne Smith who has played for both the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings. Photograph: BCCI

Dwayne Smith

Role: All-Rounder

Base Price: Rs 50,00,000

Along with some of his West Indian team-mates, Smith has become a T20 journeyman, playing round the year in leagues across the world.

Last season he played for the Chennai Super Kings, scoring 399 runs, but caught everyone's attention the year before, aggregating 566 in 16 games, including five fifties.

It was a surprise that the Mumbai Indians let him go after scoring 418 runs in 13 games in IPL 6 in 2013.

With a base price of Rs 50 lakh he commands a lot of attention at the auction.

Mohit Sharma

IMAGE: Mohit Sharma of the Chennai Superkings. Photograph: BCCI

Mohit Sharma

Role: Bowler

Base Price: Rs 1,50,00,000

Mohit should consider himself unlucky not to make the marquee list of players despite consistent performances for the Chennai Super Kings in the last three IPL seasons.

He took 13 wickets from eight games in the World Cup.

Having claimed 57 wickets from 47 matches in his last three IPL seasons, he should be on every franchise's shopping list.

Other big names:

A few other players, like Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and England's Jos Buttler, are worth a bid.

The big hitting English wicketkeeper-batsman's stock is expected to soar following his smashing 105 from 76 balls in the first ODI against South Africa on Wednesday, February 3. It was his fourth ODI century in 75 balls or less.

Irfan Pathan's superb comeback in domestic cricket would have put a few franchises on the alert, while Kerala's young batsman Sanju Samson is also expected to trigger a bidding war after a good showing at the Rajasthan Royals over the last few years.

Punjab left-arm seamer Barinder Sran, who recently made his international debut in Australia, is also a good prospect.

Few Indians fans will forget Bangladesh fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman from last year's IPL.

Harish Kotian / Rediff.com