The mini-auction ahead of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 is all set to take place on December 23 in Kochi. Prior to the bidding process, the final list of players who will go under the hammer was released by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). This time around, as many as 405 cricketers will be part of the auction, which include 273 Indians and 132 overseas players.
Notably, IPL has always been a major platform for top-quality overseas stars, and more often than not, many foreign cricketers have featured in the list of most expensive buys. The upcoming auction won’t be different either, as there could be quite a few overseas players who will trigger a bidding war amongst the 10 franchises. On that note, let’s have a look at six such cricketers who could be among the most expensive buys in Kochi on December 23.
1) Cameron Green
Like every auction, the major focus of franchises will be on picking quality all-rounders, as they are always in demand due to their versatile role. All-rounders often fetch big money at auctions, and Cameron Green, the Australian sensation, is likely to be in the centre.
Green has already impressed with his bowling stint as he tends to utilise his tall height, which helps him hit the hard lengths. The 23-year-old is one of the very few all-rounders who can bat at the top order.
Following his exploits with the bat in India earlier this year, it is likely that the swashbuckling Aussie star will be an eye-catching player in the auctions. Notably, the Western Australian has registered his name in the mini-auction of the lucrative tournament at a base price of INR 2 crore.
2) Ben Stokes
England’s superstar Ben Stokes is most likely to cause an intense bidding war amongst the IPL franchises as every team needs a kind of player who can not only contribute in all departments but also lead the side.
Having Stokes in the team will solve many problems of any franchise as he can bat in the top order as well as be a finisher. Further, the England Test skipper can also open the bowling and deliver the death overs too.
Stokes, who has registered himself at a base price of INR 2 crore, will undoubtedly be a hot property at the mini-auction. The Christchurch-born has so far played 43 games in the cash-rich league, in which he has scored 920 runs, including two centuries and as many fifties, and has also taken 28 wickets at an 8.55 economy rate.
3) Nicholas Pooran
In modern-day cricket, every team needs an explosive wicketkeeper-batter, and Nicholas Pooran fills that requirement quite brilliantly. That’s the reason why he was bought at a heavy price in the previous auction, but his form in the lucrative league was a major disappointment, and hence was released by the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
Pooran had an average campaign in the last season, managing 306 runs at an average of 38.25. However, he has got his form back ahead of the IPL 2023. Notably, the left-handed batter was the leading run-getter in the recently-concluded Abu Dhabi T10 2022-23. He scored 345 runs in 10 matches at an average of 49.28 and a mind-boggling strike rate of 234.69 for the Deccan Gladiators.
Overall, Pooran has played 47 matches in the cash-rich league, having scored 912 runs at an average of 26.05 and a strike rate of 151.24, along with four half-centuries. There is no denying that Pooran will be on the radar of franchises that need a wicketkeeper and a quality top-order batter.
4) Sam Curran
One of the major talking points in the lead-up to the mini-auction is England star, Sam Curran. The top-quality all-rounder has already proved he can create an impact with both ball and the bat and has done that at the highest level in the T20 World Cup 2022. Curran was Player of the Tournament as well as the Player of the Match in the final of the global showpiece event in Australia, where England defeated Pakistan in the summit clash.
Besides his all-round heroics, the biggest plus point for Curran is that he is only 24 and has a hell lot of cricket left in him. He played two seasons for Chennai Super Kings (CSK), including 2021, when the MS Dhoni-led side won the prestigious trophy. However, the Northhampton cricketer missed the 2022 season as he recovered from back surgery.
Curran is part of the second set of players to come up for bidding, and all the teams will fancy having him in their ranks. When it comes to the IPL, the 24-year-old has taken 32 wickets from 32 matches at an economy rate of 9.21. With the bat, the left-handed batter has scored 337 runs at a strike rate of 149.77, including two fifties.
5) Harry Brook
A clean hitter, top-order batter and an emerging talent in the cricketing arena is England’s young star, Harry Brook. In his first international overseas trip to Pakistan, Brook was the Player-of-the-Series in the seven-match T20I leg after hitting 238 runs at a strike rate of 163.01. Even in the ongoing Test tour of Pakistan, Brook has been phenomenal, with 468 runs to his name in just three matches at a stunning average of 93.60 with three hundreds and one half-century.
The biggest advantage that Brook brings in is he can play both in any order and can dominate fast bowlers as well as spinners with natural ease, especially in the death overs.
Brook hasn’t yet played in the IPL, but his numbers in Asia are indeed quite impressive. The right-handed batter has scored 581 runs in 16 innings at an average of 64.55 and a strike rate of 167.43 with the help of one century and one fifty.
6) Rilee Rossouw
Since his return to international cricket in 2022 after six years, South African Rilee Rossouw has been super impressive and consistent in white-ball cricket. He played in T20 Blast this year, scoring 623 runs in 16 innings at a remarkable strike rate of 192.28, and was drafted into the national T20I squad.
Since his return, Rossouw has amassed 372 runs in 10 T20I innings at an average of 46.50, with the help of two centuries and three half-tons. The southpaw has the ability to play big innings and can be a centre of attraction in the IPL 2023 mini-auction.
Rossouw has also played in the cash-rich league in 2014 and 2015 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). But he only got five matches and scored 53 runs. The free-stroking left-handed batter would be an ideal choice for the franchises looking for a high-quality hitter at the top who can accelerate the run flow and also anchor the innings if required.
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