The players’ auction of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 is set to begin on Thursday (February 18) in Chennai. All the teams have completed the process of releasing and retaining players. Many big names were shown the exit door while several quality players have been kept in the squad.
Like every season, some players shall attract the attention of many franchises, and one of such talent is aspiring Australian batsman Marnus Labuschagne. The South African-born Aussie cricketer has never played in the IPL.
Ahead of the upcoming auction, Labuschagne has registered his name in the players’ list at a base price of INR 1 crore. He can be an excellent option for teams looking for a solid top-order batter who could make game-changing partnerships in the middle.
In the recently concluded Big Bash League (BBL) 2020-21, Labuschagne played only six matches and amassed 176 runs with 49 being his best score. Further, the 26-year-old also displayed magic with the ball. He finished the tournament with 10 wickets with 3/46 being his best figure.
Let’s have a look at four teams who can target Marnus in the upcoming auction:
1.) Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals (RR) did not have a good outing in the 2020 edition of the cash-rich league. They lost eight matches and finished at the bottom in the points table. Ahead of the auction, Royals made a big move by releasing Steve Smith from the squad.
In the absence of Smith, Royals need a quality batsman for the top-order and Labuschagne could be a worthy option. He is currently in a red-hot form, and with the presence of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and David Miller, Labuschagne will boost the batting order of RR.
2.) Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) did impress in IPL 2020 at United Arab Emirates (UAE) especially in the batting department. The likes of KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal and Chris Gayle performed exceptionally well and dominated the charts.
KXIP missed a quality all-rounder in the previous season. They gave several opportunities to Glenn Maxwell, but the Aussie power-striker failed to leave his impression. Now that KXIP have released Maxwell from the squad, it’s a decent time to rope in someone like Labuschagne who can bat in the middle and bowl some overs in the middle as well.
3.) Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) invested a heavy amount in both Chris Morris and Aaron Finch in the IPL 2020. However, both the players did not perform up to the desired mark. Although RCB finished as the fourth-best team last year, they could’ve gone far if these players contributed enough.
Nevertheless, now RCB have released both the individuals and they have a total of three overseas spots left for the upcoming season. Considering the batting order of RCB, Labuschagne can fit either at the top order or even in the middle-order.
Labuschagne is not a power-hitter but his art of rotating strikes and constantly earning boundaries at regular intervals will surely help the Virat Kohli-led side in the IPL 2021.
4.) Delhi Capitals
Delhi Capitals (DC) had a phenomenal outing in the IPL 2020. They reached the finals and ended the tournament as runners-up. The strong Indian core and a pretty balanced overseas group helped DC beat all the odds and dominate other teams.
Ahead of the mini-auction, DC have released overseas players such as Keemo Paul, Sandeep Lamichhane, Alex Carey, Jason Roy. They now have three spots remaining for foreign cricketers and considering the current group, Labuschagne could perfectly find his place in the outfit.
With his all-round abilities, Labuschagne can come in the side as an alternate to Marcus Stoinis, who had performed pretty well in IPL 2020. The Queensland cricketer is also a spectacular fielder and DC can take that advantage as well.