Exactly a week from now, i.e. on December 23, the much-awaited mini-auction of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 is set to take place in Kochi. Recently, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) released the final list of players (405) who will go under the hammer.
Among the big list of players, one cricketer who is going to trigger a bidding war in the auction is England’s star, Ben Stokes. The top-quality all-rounder pulled out from the last edition of the cash-rich league to focus on his national duty.
There is no denying that Stokes will cause an intense bidding war, as every franchise will look to rope in the kind of all-rounder he is. Additionally, the Christchurch-born will also be an ideal choice for franchises looking for a captain in the upcoming season of the lucrative league. On that note, let’s have a look at five franchises that can target Stokes in the forthcoming mini-auction:
1.) Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have released several players, including all-rounders and their captain Kane Williamson. Hence, the 2016 champions will be looking for one quality cricketer who can fill both requirements and Stokes, by all margins, fits right in.
The advantage Stokes brings is that he can bat in the top order and be a finisher as the situation require, and the Sunrisers need such a cricketer. Since the Orange Army has the biggest purse, fans can expect them to go at full flow to acquire the services of England’s Test captain.
2.) Punjab Kings
Punjab Kings (PBKS) have a similar story to the Sunrisers. They also got rid of quite a few players, including their skipper Mayank Agarwal, who didn’t impress at all both with the bat and his captaincy. Though, Punjab don’t need a captain as they have already named Shikhar Dhawan as the leader of the side.
PBKS had Odean Smith in the previous season, but he was not consistent, and therefore the Mohali-based franchise can target Stokes to be a finisher. Interestingly, Punjab already have two Englishmen in the form of Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone, and with Stokes’ inclusion, PBKS will be able to solve their top, middle and lower-order problem.
3.) Rajasthan Royals
Stokes was part of Rajasthan Royals (RR) along with his English teammate Jos Buttler, and there will be no surprise if the Royals would again go for Stoksey in the mini-auction. During his stint with the franchise, the 31-year-old scored 604 runs in 31 games and picked up 16 wickets for the side.
The only recognised batter Rajasthan have down the order is Riyan Parag, therefore, the 2008 IPL Winners need a high-quality all-rounder, and Stokes will fulfil all their requirements. Also, the Royals have a relatively inexperienced bowling attack, and having Stokes in the side will help the young pacers to learn how to bowl in crunch situations.
4.) Lucknow Super Giants
Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) have released Jason Holder from their squad, and without a question, they will look for an all-rounder. In that regard, Stokes could be an ideal choice. Although LSG have the likes of Marcus Stoinis and Deepak Hooda, having Stokes in the side would make Lucknow look a really dangerous side.
Stokes is a ferocious striker of the ball and a remarkable hitter with the bat, and that’s exactly what Lucknow need to make a strong team. Since LSG have INR 23.35 crore in their purse, they can try hard to sign Stokes and add depth to their side.
5.) Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) didn’t have a fruitful campaign in the last edition, as they could only record four victories and finished the season as the ninth-ranked team. Ahead of the 2022 edition, CSK made all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja the captain, but he couldn’t do well and relinquished the post, giving it back to MS Dhoni.
Further, the Super Kings don’t have a quality bowling attack and a pace-bowling all-rounder as well. Since Stokes has the ability to do well with both bat and ball and can be a leader of the side, the 4-time IPL champions could well bid for the English superstar. CSK have INR 20.45 crores in their purse, and they can push a little further to acquire the services of Stokes.