Curran, Stokes and Green to be in second set at IPL 2023 auction

Sam Curran, Ben Stokes and Cameron Green, all of whom could potentially end up as the most expensive buy in the 2023 IPL auction, have been listed in the second set to come up for bidding on December 23. The auction will begin at 2.30pm IST in Kochi with the batters’ set which features Indian opener Mayank Agarwal and the England pair of Joe Root and Harry Brook.

The final auction pool has been halved to 405 players from the originally registered 991, with a maximum of 87 slots available to be filled by the 10 franchises. Of these, 30 will be overseas players.

On Tuesday the IPL released the final auction pool stating 36 new names were added based on requests from the franchises. A total of 273 Indian players, and 132 overseas – including four from Associate countries – are part of the final list. There are 119 capped players alongside 286 uncapped players.

As per the norm, the auction will begin with capped players, the IPL breaking them up into different sets based on the specialisation. In an e-mail to franchises on Tuesday, the IPL listed the order as: batters, allrounders, wicketkeeper-batters, fast bowlers and spinners. The same order will be followed for the uncapped players.

The majority of the players whom franchises believe could spark bidding wars are grouped in the first three sets. The first set comprising batters also features New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, alongside Agarwal and Brook.

Williamson was the first player retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2022 and was paid INR 14 crore, in addition to being appointed as captain. But a lean season with the bat combined with an eighth-place finish forced Sunrisers to overhaul their squad which included releasing Williamson. The New Zealand batter, who has listed his base price at INR 2 crore, could still generate interest based on his leadership experience as well as ability to play impactful innings in high-pressure situations.

Agarwal’s story was similar. He, too, was the first player retained and made captain by Punjab Kings. But captaincy took a heavy toll on Agarwal’s batting as Kings finished mid-table. With more than one franchise looking for an Indian opener, Agarwal, who has listed his base price at INR 1 crore, would be optimistic about getting a decent bid.

Another player who will be confident is Brook, who has entered the IPL auction for the first time, listing his base price at INR 1.5 crore. A power-hitter, Brook proved he could deal with subcontinent conditions when he won the Player-of-the-Series award for the seven-match T20I series in Pakistan ahead of the T20 World Cup. Recently, he made his mark in the first two Test matches in Pakistan where he scored twin centuries, the latter helping him to the Player-of-the-Match award in the Multan Test.

No one was happier for Brook than his captain Stokes, who felt his 23-year-old England team-mate has the potential to dominate all three formats. Stokes himself returns to the IPL auction after having skipped the tournament last year, which forced Rajasthan Royals to release him. Having listed his base price at INR 2 crore, he remains a strong contender to bag the most expensive player tag thanks to his reputation as a serial match-winner and leader.

Another newcomer, and allrounder, that franchises have kept their eye on is Green. The Australian’s power-hitting during the white-ball series in India recently made him an instant attraction. Green can float in the batting order, plays spin well and can bowl good medium-pace. He, too, has listed his base price at INR 2 crore.

West Indies’ Nicholas Pooran, who is part of the wicketkeeper-batter set and has listed his base price at INR 2 crore, will also be eager to prove himself. Pooran, who stepped down as West Indies’ white-ball captain after their disappointing T20 World Cup which forced CWI to conduct a review, was released by Sunrirsers despite being among their most consistent batters last season.

But a strong performance in the recently held Abu Dhabi T10 – 345 runs at 49.28 average – showed Pooran remains an impact player in short form cricket.

At the end of the deadline day – November 15 – to retain and release players, Sunrisers had the largest purse (INR 42.25 crore) for the auction, followed by Kings (INR 32.20 crore), Lucknow Super Giant (INR 23.35 crore), Mumbai Indians (INR 20.55 crore), Chennai Super Kings (INR 20.45 crore), Delhi Capitals (INR 19.45 crore), Gujarat Titans (INR 19.25 crore), Royals (INR 13.2 crore), Royal Challengers Bangalore (INR 8.75 crore) and Kolkata Knight Riders (INR 7.05 crore).

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