Chennai is ready to host the players’ auction of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 on February 18. Unlike previous editions, it is going to be a mini-auction for the fourteenth season of the cash-rich league. Just like every year, many stars, as well as uncapped players, will go under the hammer.
Ahead of the event, all the eight franchises have retained their core unit and released few players. Mumbai Indians (MI), who won the 2020 season, have released as many as seven players including some big names like Mitchell McClenaghan, James Pattinson, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Lasith Malinga (retired). They now have seven slots remaining, which includes 4 overseas and 3 Indian players.
The reigning champions will focus on bringing the best players possible in order to form the finest combination. Currently, MI have a pretty balanced side having the likes of Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Kieron Pollard and Hardik Pandya. Still, few areas need attention, and the management will look to do that in the upcoming bidding process.
Let’s have a look at four players who might get targeted by MI in IPL 2021 auction:
1.) Nathan Coulter-Nile
Even after bagging a couple of wickets in the IPL 2020 final which MI won, Nathan Coulter-Nile was released by the franchise ahead of the IPL 2021 auction. The right-arm pacer did not play all the matches in the previous season as he was rotated along with another pacer James Pattinson.
The biggest reason behind Coulter-Nile’s release is his heavy price of INR 8 crores. Some other causes that forced the Mumbai-based franchise to release the Aussie paceman were his fitness issues, and absence in few BBL matches for Melbourne Stars.
Ahead of the bidding process, it has been revealed that as many as 1097 players have registered themselves for the fourteenth edition of the cash-rich league. Coulter-Nile has also listed himself for the auction at a base price of Rs 1.5 crore.
During IPL 2020, the Australian picked up five wickets in 7 matches and provided decent support to Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult. MI might want to get him at a lesser price as compared to last year.
2.) Tom Curran
There is still a mystery whether Pandya will bowl in the upcoming season or not. In that case, the responsibility of extra bowler lies only with Pollard, and MI surely would not want to put an additional burden on their star player.
To compensate that, MI might look to rope in a descent all-rounder who could add some quick runs down the order and bowl few overs in the middle. Considering the previous season’s performance, England all-rounder Tom Curran could fit the role perfectly.
Curran was released by Rajasthan Royals (RR) earlier this week. In IPL 2020, he appeared in five matches and scored 83 runs at an impressive average of 83 and a strike-rate of 133.87 with one half-century. Curran also bagged three wickets at a strike-rate of 36.33.
3.) Sandeep Lamichhane
Nepal’s star cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane has been released by Delhi Capitals ahead of the IPL auction. MI have as many as four overseas players slots available, and they can go for Lamichhane, who is regarded as a quality spinner in the shortest format.
Lamichhane has a vast experience of T20s. So far, he has picked up 121 wickets in 93 T20 matches at a remarkable strike-rate of 16. The right-armer can form an outstanding bowling combination with Rahul Chahar and Krunal Pandya in the Mumbai-based franchise.
4.) Mohammed Azharuddeen
Kerala’s youngster Mohammed Azharuddeen caught everyone’s attention with his remarkable hundred in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2021. He scored an unbeaten 54-ball-137 against Mumbai and took his team to victory.
Azharuddin’s fearless batting and impressive stroke play has impressed fans and experts. He might be a good option to buy for many franchises, including MI in the upcoming IPL auction.