The auction ahead of the 2024 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to take place at the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai on December 19. A total of 333 players have been shortlisted by the organisers, out of which 214 are Indians and 119 are overseas players. Of the 119, two players are from Associate Nations. There are 116 capped and 215 uncapped players among those shortlisted.
There are quite a few star names in the auction pool this year along with some young names who could have bidding wars in their names. Let's take a look at the five players who could make it big this season in the auction.
The only explanation that one can think of for Punjab Kings to let go of Shahrukh Khan has to be the fact that he had a rather mediocre season in domestic white-ball cricket. It would be a big surprise if Punjab Kings themselves bid for him to return, considering they could've potentially retained him. Shahrukh Khan could attract interest from almost the entire league though. He is a domestic player but his big-hitting finishing ability is up there with the best. Moreover, Shahrukh has also been working on his off-spin. He was the highest wicket-taker for his team in the Tamil Nadu Premier League.
It has always been a case of will he or won't he with Mitchell Starc. The Australia fast bowler won his second World Cup title this year and has not played in the IPL since 2015. He has often been a prime candidate for the most expensive buy in the past and now despite being 34 and in the final years of his career, Starc remains a hot property. He could still end up being the most expensive buy among them all.
It would be in keeping with the trend this year if Rachin Ravindra ends up fetching big bucks at the auction. Ravindra would not have been part of New Zealand's 2023 World Cup squad had it not been for Michael Bracewell being injured. He wouldn't have got his first chance to prove himself in a warm-up game had Will Young not been rested and he would've never played a game in the World Cup if captain Kane Williamson was fit. All of those things happened in his favour and he made the most of it and more. Ravindra was at home in Indian conditions and the fact that he is a very useful spinner only shoots up his value.
Like PBKS and Shahrukh Khan, Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) releasing Harshal Patel raised quite a few eyebrows. He had a terrible season in 2023. Having made a name for himself by making it tough for batters to score against him, Harshal went at INR 11.50 crore earlier this year. This doesn't diminish his value one bit and on the contrary, Harshal could end up being one of the most expensive players of this auction. High-pressure situations like the powerplay and, especially, the deathovers were the periods he made his own before last season. Moreover, he is an experienced domestic player.
Another player who could potentially be the subject of a bidding war, Wanindu Hasaranga is pretty much the complete T20 package. He is a wily spinner, can hit quite a few big ones in the lower middle order and is a highly reliable fielder. In the 2022 auction, RCB had been locked in a fierce bidding war for him with PBKS and Sunrisers Hyderabad. He will be the first spinner bowling all-rounder who will be available in the first list of all-rounders and there are pretty much no established wrist-spinners of his calibre and with his all-round skills in the entire pool.