(From left) Yuvraj Singh, Shane Watson and Pawan Negi © IPL
(From left) Yuvraj Singh, Shane Watson and Pawan Negi © IPL

A lot has been happening in Indian cricket. On Friday the selectors picked India’s squad for Asia Cup T20 2016 and ICC World T20 2016. The six existing IPL franchises have released many of the players and will look forward to the auction on Saturday. Also, the two new sides, Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) and Gujarat Lions (GL), will be the major buyers. IPL has categorised the cricketers to be auctioned as batsmen, bowlers, wicketkeepers, and all-rounders. In the shortest format of the game, all-rounders play a major role and Suvajit Mustafi looks at 14 such cricketers who will be effective buys in the auction.

1. Yuvraj Singh (India): For the last two years, Yuvraj has fetched the maximum price in the IPL auction. The star cricketer, who has just made a comeback to the national side, is still hot property. Do not be surprised if he pockets the highest numbered cheque on the auction day yet again. Yuvraj’s all-round skills guided India to the ICC World T20 2007 title and later the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 win. The Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) might once again eye the southpaw as they look forward to strengthen their middle-order. Yuvraj’s bowling continues to be a handy option. He enters the auction as a marquee player.

2. Shane Watson (Australia): Had Rajasthan Royals (RR) not been banned, Watson would have still played for the Jaipur-based franchise. He is one of the few players who have remained in the same side right since the tournament’s inception. He inspired the then Shane Warne-led RR to the tournament win in the first edition. Watson, who recently scored a T20I hundred against India and almost bowled Australia to a win in the same match, is very much capable of winning a game on own with either bat or ball. An all-rounder of Watson’s class in this format is invaluable. Like Yuvraj, Watson too enters the auction as one of the nine marquee players.

3. Mitchell Marsh (Australia): The younger Marsh brother has emerged as one of the top all-rounders in international cricket. Already having taken Watson’s spot in the Australian side, Marsh is a hard-hitting batsman and more than an effective seam bowler. At INR 2 crore, Marsh does have a high base price but for his sheer skills, he is expected to garner bidders.

4. Pawan Negi (India): Negi has trended big time in the last couple of days and the former Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Daredevils (DD) all-rounder has made it to the national side for the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka as well as the Asia Cup T20 and ICC World T20. Negi, who is yet to make his international debut, has impressed for CSK in the last IPL and had a good run in the domestic season. He enjoys Indian skipper MS Dhoni’s confidence, so there is a chance he could make it to the RPS side. Negi plays his domestic cricket for Delhi and it would not be a bad idea for the city-based Delhi Daredevils to invest in the youngster once again. ALSO READ: IPL 2016 Player Auction: Top 10 batsmen to watch out for

5. Dwayne Smith (West Indies): In recent times, the explosive Barbadian has enjoyed quite a lot of success with Mumbai Indians (MI) and later CSK. Smith is dangerous in this format. Not only does he score big, but also scores his runs quickly. He ended up as the tournament’s second-highest run-getter for CSK in 2014. Smith will be touching 33 by the time the tournament starts but his aggressive batting and effective part-time medium-pace is likely to fetch him big bucks.

6. Darren Sammy (West Indies): The West Indian T20I captain might be popular for his happy-go-lucky nature and smiling face but in the shortest format he can be extremely dangerous. With the willow, he can change the game in a matter of balls and can roll his arms over bowling medium-pace, if required. Sammy’s leadership skills add to his CV and he will be one player to watch out for in the auctions.

7. Grant Elliott (New Zealand): A reliable middle-order batsman, a medium-pace bowler, and a sharp brain on field, the Kiwi World Cup 2015 star, at almost 37, may not be one of the most popular faces in franchise leagues but can end up being a valuable buy for his skill set.

8. Jimmy Neesham (New Zealand): The young Kiwi’s potential earned him a place with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) but he could not play the last season due to an ill-timed injury. With Andre Russell and Shakib-Al-Hasan in their ranks, KKR have released Neesham. A hard-hitting batsman and a useful seamer, Neesham is more than a effective all-rounder in this format. ALSO READ: IPL 2016 Player Auction: Top 10 bowlers to watch out for

9. Deepak Hooda (India): Hooda showed enough promise with RR last season and on his day, he can win a game with his explosive batting. He is only 20 and is still learning. His batting and occasional off-spin can help him fetch a decent contract.

10.   Chris Morris (SA): The South African all-rounder is an experienced campaigner in IPL. He can chip in with four regular overs and lower down the order he is capable of clearing the biggest of boundaries. Morris is now a regular face in the South Africa limited-overs set-up and it will a surprise if he does not fetch a contract.

11.   Tillakaratne Dilshan (SL): He might be at the fag-end of his career but Dilshan continues to inspire the Sri Lankan side in limited-overs cricket. An attacking opening batsman, a wily off-spinner and a good fielder, Dilshan is one of the most experienced cricketers around at the moment. He may not be getting any younger but this format has actually proved that indeed ‘age is just a number.’

12.   Manoj Tiwary (India): It may be a bit too farfetched to call the Bengal cricketer an all-rounder but that is how IPL have categorised him in the auction category. He is not the most fortunate man in Indian cricket, but he still has enough in him to be valuable in every format. Having played for DD and KKR in previous editions, Tiwary may find a buyer in RPS. Not only is he employed by the Kolkata-based Goenka Group but he also adds stability to the batting. Dhoni in the past has shown faith in players like S Badrinath and Mithun Manhas for CSK, as players who can anchor the innings in the middle. Tiwary may fit in here. He also has experience, incredible fielding skills, and the ability to bowl occasional leg-spin in his favour.

13.   Soumya Sarkar (Bangladesh): Like Tiwary, Sarkar too is not an all-rounder in its truest sense. The young Bangladeshi left-hander has already impressed in his short career. He can be destructive at the top and if required can bowl medium pacers. At INR 30 lakh, he could be more than a valuable buy.

14.   Subodh Bhati (India): The Delhi all-rounder has already impressed in his first domestic season and at INR 10 lakh could end up being a good buy. Primarily a medium-pacer, Bhati had a good run in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. For a side like DD, who have released the likes of Angelo Mathews and Dominic Joseph, a local player like Bhati will be a valuable addition.

(Suvajit Mustafi consumes cricket for lunch, fiction for dinner and munches numerous other snacks throughout the day. Yes, a jack of several trades, all Suvajit dreamt of was being India’s World Cup winning skipper but ended up being a sports writer, author, screenwriter, director, copywriter, graphic designer, sports marketer, strategist, entrepreneur,  philosopher and traveller. Donning so many hats, it’s cricket which gives him the ultimate high and where he finds solace. He can be followed at @RibsGully and rivu7)