Auction windfall awaits as states brace for IPL impact
Australians earning IPL deals likely to miss Marsh Cup and Sheffield Shield finals with lucrative auction to be held Thursday
17 February 2021, 06:35 PM AEST
As Australia’s leading short-form cricketers await Thursday’s lucrative Indian Premier League auction, their state teams may be watching on with a little less enthusiasm.
While this year’s auction will be a low-key affair (by IPL standards anyway) given teams have retained the bulk of their existing squads, Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Simon Katich believes a multi-million dollar pay-day could still await the right player.
With the Australian domestic season not concluding until April 19, Cricket Australia will not stand in the way of players wanting to leave early, meaning state sides will likely be without some of their best players for the concluding games and finals of the Marsh One-Day Cup and Marsh Sheffield Shield.
Josh Hazlewood, one of the 11 Australians who have been retained by their IPL teams, told The Unplayable Podcast he expects to depart for India in early April ahead of the tournament beginning on April 11.
In addition to those Aussies with existing IPL contracts, the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Aaron Finch, Jhye Richardson and Jason Behrendorff are expected to be among the sought-after international players available in the auction.
There are 125 overseas players who will go under the hammer, including 35 Australians, but there are only 22 available overseas slots among the eight IPL franchises.
Pat Cummins was the big winner from the last IPL auction in December 2019, fetching a whopping $3.17million (AUD) deal from Kolkata Knight Riders, after an extraordinary bidding war with RCB.
“Certain teams are trying to play the strategy of bringing other teams’ budgets down now. Pat Cummins was a great example last year,” Katich, who was at RCB’s table as they bid up Cummins’ price during that auction, told SEN on Wednesday.
“Not because he’s not worth that money but purely because … as soon as you start bidding on a player and make it known that you’re interested in them, other teams, if they’ve got plenty of money left, can blow you out of the water (by driving up a players’ price).
“I think that’s exactly how things will play out this year for a number of players who are in high demand.”
The IPL overlapping with domestic and even international cricket has long been an issue for England, who could be without the likes of Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer for the start of their upcoming home season, but had previously not been a concern for Australia.
While Australian players will not miss international matches because of the IPL, there will be a flow-on effect for domestic sides.
Marnus Labuschagne’s impressive back-end of the BBL|10 season could see him plucked out of Queensland’s ladder-leading Sheffield Shield side, though Katich suggested teams are more likely to spend big on bowlers this year.
The Bulls could lose pacemen Billy Stanlake, Mark Steketee or Brendan Doggett after their strong BBL campaigns, though there is also a fair chance none of their six players up for auction get picked up.
Tasmania and South Australia are in similar positions.
The Tigers have three players with reasonable hopes of being picked up – Matthew Wade, Ben McDermott and Riley Meredith – though none of them are guaranteed buys, and the same could be said for the Redbacks, who will lose Kane Richardson (retained by RCB) and will sweat on whether Alex Carey, Wes Agar or Jake Weatherald attract interest.
WA might only have Josh Philippe, Mitch Marsh, Marcus Stoinis and Andrew Tye available for a few games – and potentially none – when they return from Australia’s New Zealand T20 tour, with all four already holding IPL deals.
That quartet will be in New Zealand until that series finishes on March 7, and may be required to quarantine upon returning home. Losing Jhye Richardson and Behrendorff (both in NZ) as well as other IPL nominees like skipper Shaun Marsh, would be a blow.
Reigning Sheffield Shield champions New South Wales are more accustomed to being without their best players for large chunks of the season – they won last year’s title despite most of their big guns like Smith and Cummins playing only a handful of games and currently sit second this season.
But with Hazlewood, Cummins, David Warner, Adam Zampa and Daniel Sams all certain IPL starters, losing the likes of Smith, Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Tanveer Sangha and/or Moises Henriques would test their depth.
Keeping star bowlers Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc, neither of whom will play the IPL this season, will help off-set the losses.
Victoria should come out of the auction relatively unscathed, given their only two nominees – Finch and Maxwell – rarely play red-ball cricket for them anyway, and James Pattinson, who helped Mumbai Indians to last year’s title, is not in the mix.
STATE-BY-STATE GUIDE TO THE 2021 IPL AUCTION
Retained: Josh Hazlewood (Chennai Super Kings), David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders), Daniel Sams, Adam Zampa (both Royal Challengers Bangalore)
For auction: Steve Smith, Moises Henriques, Sean Abbott, Ben Dwarshuis, Nathan McAndrew, Tanveer Sangha
Retained: Josh Philippe (RCB), Mitch Marsh (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Marcus Stoinis (Delhi Capitals)
For auction: Jhye Richardson, Jason Behnrendorff, Shaun Marsh, Hilton Cartwright, Joel Paris, Josh Inglis, Matt Kelly, Aaron Hardie
For auction: Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch
Retained: Kane Richardson (RCB)
For auction: Alex Carey, Wes Agar, Jake Weatherald
For auction: Marnus Labuschagne, Billy Stanlake, Jack Wildermuth, Brendan Doggett, Mark Steketee, Max Bryant
For auction: Matthew Wade, Ben McDermott, Riley Meredith,
Retained: Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals), Chris Lynn (Mumbai Indians)Up for auction: Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Cutting, Dan Christian, Chris Green, James Faulkner, Tim David