Kevin Pietersen played for Delhi Dare Devils previously in IPL © PTI
Kevin Pietersen played for Delhi Daredevils previously in IPL © PTI

 The Indian Premier League auction will take place on February 12, 2014. Nishad Pai Vaidya lists a few potential big buys.

 

It is that time of the year when players go under the hammer. The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 auction is set to feature 512 players with franchises doing their math and setting strategies in place. With a huge purse and numerous stars up for grabs, the auction promises to be a thriller. This is the first time the domestic uncapped players are a part of the auction, however, the international stars will remain the big buys.

 

At the outset, the auction has witnessed two withdrawals — Eoin Morgan will focus on his Test ambitions, whereas Chris Morris is out injured. Now, the focus would shift to some of the other potential big buys with these men out of the list. The man who may make waves is Mitchell Johnson. The left-arm pacer witnessed a brilliant turnaround during the Ashes 2013-14. In fact, he had played a crucial role during the IPL 2013 for the Mumbai Indians (MI). It was quite surprising that they didn’t retain him, as he would have been a good bet on current form.

 

It looks like Johnson would be the man who would command the highest price at this auction. It is unlikely that Mumbai would retain him with the ‘Right to Match’ card as their purse is strapped with their move to retain five players. He is one of the 16 marquee players with the higher base prices and expect him to surge ahead. Then of course, you have Kevin Pietersen, the man who is now set to become a successful Twenty20 (T20) freelancer. With him being available for the whole season, teams would want to pitch in for this match-winner. Delhi haven’t retained him and they can unleash their card to get him back.

 

Most of the marquee players will command good prices, but outside that list, some genuine match-winners may invoke tremendous interest. Aaron Finch captained Pune Warriors India (PWI) last season and shone brightly with the bat. He has moved from strength-to-strength, while playing for Australia and is a vital cog of their One-Day International (ODI) unit. Franchises would not only look at him as a hard-hitting batsman, but also a leader, not necessarily a captain but someone in the mix with the management.

 

Dwayne Smith, the West Indian all-rounder proved to be a match-winner for Mumbai during IPL 2013 and the Champions League T20. Teams would want this multidimensional cricketer in their side and in case his price doesn’t surge ahead, Mumbai can always get him back if they have their right to match in play.

 

Amongst the Indian lot, Robin Uthappa may still warrant a good contract. The Karnataka batsman has seen a metamorphosis. He is a lot fitter and has a new found approach to batting. That hasn’t curbed his attacking instincts and his destructive abilities may help him get a good deal. The other Indian player on most team’s list would be Yusuf Pathan. Inconsistent yes, but he is an impact player and a genuine match-winner. Buying him maybe a gamble, but they would want to take the chance at having him in their ranks, irrespective of the fact that he isn’t on the international radar.

 

Amongst the younger lot, Quinton de Kock and Corey Anderson will make a strong case. The fact that their recent performances came against India would help as that would have exposed them to the franchise scouts. De Kock played for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SH) last year without much success, but with four ODI tons behind him, he would be a better player. And, what to say about Anderson. He would a franchise’s dream as he can give it a fair whack and also bowl crucial overs.

 

To predict the sum these players would go for is next to impossible. It would all depend on the bidding wars in play, which have always been intense and with so many choices, there may be more match-ups. So, let the action begin!

 

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)