The auction of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 is set to take place in the second week of February. Ahead of the auctions, all eight IPL franchises have laid out the list of their released and retained players.
Unlike the previous seasons, there will be a mini-auction in IPL 2021, and several names will be up for grabs. However, one name that is expected to attract quite a few franchises is Australia’s paceman Mitchell Starc. Several pundits have already claimed that Starc can become the most expensive buy in the league’s history.
The Australian pace sensation hasn’t played in the lucrative league since 2015. In 2018, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) roped in Starc, but he missed the season because of an injury.
Starc, then made himself unavailable for IPL 2020 to prepare for the ICC T20 World Cup, which got postponed to October 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Let’s have a look at four such teams that can bid for Starc in IPL 2021 auctions:
1.) Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB)
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) performed extremely well in IPL 2020 which was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Yuzvendra Chahal make the squad really strong, but they haven’t yet won an IPL trophy.
One of the main reasons behind this is their poor death bowling. There have been many occasions when RCB failed to defend the target despite notching up huge totals of 200 plus on the scoreboard.
Ahead of IPL 2021, RCB have released Chris Morris and Umesh Yadav while Dale Steyn had made himself unavailable for this season. Now, the ‘Team Gold and Red’ just have pace trio of Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini and Kane Richardson. So, it won’t be a surprise if RCB will have a go at Starc.
2.) Mumbai Indians (MI)
Mumbai Indians (MI) is the most successful team in the cash-rich league. They have won the IPL title five times. MI is a complete squad, but with Lasith Malinga announcing his retirement, they would be looking to strengthen their death bowling.
MI already have their two main fast bowlers in the form of Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult, and they shall be hoping to include Starc as their third pacer to complete the pace attack.
Recently, the reigning champions released Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson from their former squad.
3.) Rajasthan Royals (RR)
Rajasthan Royals (RR) had a disastrous outing in the 2020 season, finishing at the eighth position in the standings. Although, Jofra Archer looked in supreme touch with the ball, but he didn’t get the ideal support from his bowling partners.
Ahead of IPL 2021 auctions, Royals have released their captain Steve Smith and given the leadership responsibilities to Sanju Samson. The absence of Smith leaves Rajasthan with one empty overseas slots as the other three are occupied by Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer. Starc can fulfil the remaining spot and boost the bowling lineup of Royals.
4.) Kings XI Punjab (KXIP)
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) ended IPL 2020 at sixth position, despite their captain and top-order batsman KL Rahul being the leading run-scorer of the tournament. The main problem for KXIP was their inconsistent bowling, especially in the slog overs.
Last week, Punjab released Sheldon Cottrell, Jimmy Neesham, Mujeeb ur Rahman and Glenn Maxwell from their star-studded camp. Now the Preity Zinta co-owned KXIP have money and spots left for overseas players, so they would be looking to strengthen their pace attack. Starc could be a good option for them as he is a top-quality death bowler.