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IPL

4 Players MI should Target in the Mega Auction

Written by: Prithvi (@Puneite_)

The hype & enthusiasm around fans for the auctions is hitting a different peak this year. More and more mock auctions are happening on social media and fans just can’t get enough.

It’s safe to say that this auction will shape the franchise for a good foreseeable future. Data analysis, machine learning algorithms and potential fits in the combination has taken precedence over the reputation of players and the Moneyball phenomenon is in play now more than ever. It’s crucial to observe that Mumbai Indians’ scouts have been miles ahead of all other teams in preserving the talent over last few years. Bumrah, Pandya are just few examples. They pick these guys, back them and make them stars.

A total of 590 players will go under the hammer (370 Indian and 220 foreign). 30 players have been retained by 8 franchises while 2 new teams have signed 3 players each.

Mumbai has retained Rohit Sharma (16cr),Jasprit Bumrah (12cr),Suryakumar Yadav (8cr) and Kieron Pollard (6cr). They have a total of 48 Crores available in their purse. Interestingly, they have never won the IPL in the year of mega auctions. In 2014, they somehow managed to get in top 4 at the last minute while in 2018 they failed to even qualify for playoffs. They knew what they were lacking and rectified their mistakes in next 2 mini auctions and transfer windows. They built a strong core in every department and went on to win 2 back-to-back titles.

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However, this time around they had to let go off half a dozen of their superstars. With no luxury of RTM, they’ll have to be very shrewd in their tactics at the table with the available purse if they have to buy back atleast 2-3 of them. One special thing about MI is that they never aggresively pursue a designated player. In all these years, they have never spent more than 9.5 cr on a single player even once.

Some big players they had to let go off are QDK, Ishan, Hardik and Boult. With Hardik already signed for Gujarat Titans, they will try and get back the reamining players. 

Given how MI like to build their XI and operate, their team combination won’t be any different from previous seasons.

2 pace bowlers + Bumrah is their default combination where one of them is preferably a southpaw. A middle order of Pollard, a hard-hitting bowling all-rounder and a spin bowling all-rounder also look very plausible on the cards. A left-handed batsman at the top with Rohit and a spin-basher with SKY in the middle must be in their scheme of things at this auction.

1. de Kock/Bairstow

MI would definitely like to buy back QDK. Since his arrival at MI, he produced two back-to-back 500-run seasons at a strike rate of 132 and 140 respectively. His availibilty is also not an issue since he has retired from Test cricket. Another explosive WK batsman option for them is Bairstow, but his availibilty remains a concern since the IPL is crammed between WI and NZ test series. 

2. Trent Boult

MI has a new found love for left-arm pacers who has always started in their playing XI since 2015. Whether its McClenaghan or Boult, Mustafizur or Jansen, the dressing room was never without one. Boult has been massive for MI in PP. In 2020, he took 16 wkts in PP at an eco of 6.7

Other options MI can look for in this category are George Garton, Jason Behrendorff, Reece Topley, David Willey, Joshua Little. Marco Jansen will have something to offer with the bat as well.

3. Livingstone/Markram

Every team would love to have a big-hitting middle order batsman who also bowls decent amount of spin. Both Livingstone and Aiden Markram have impressed massively in this department and that too on the biggest stage like the T20 World Cup. Markram is a regular 4 over bowler for the Proteas and doesn’t allow the batter to get away in Powerplay. Liam can bowl both finger and wrist spin depending on the batsman. 

4. Avesh Khan

Avesh Khan is the perfect bolwer to partner Bumrah at the death. In 2021, he took 12 wkts at the death at an eco of 8.7. He ended his season with 24 wkts @ 7.37 eco

Another option MI would like to target is Kartik Tyagi and T Natarajan. 

The void left by Ishan Kishan and Hardk Pandya is difficult to fill. The search for an Indian batting all rounder who bats at 5/6 and bowls seam up is an herculean task. Same with a young Indian southpaw who keeps and can play anywhere in Top4 batting positions.

There is no brainer MI will aggresively pursue a seam bowling all-rounder and will try their level best to get Ishan Back.

In all rounders category they have quite a few options in Holder, Odean Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Romario Shephard and C Karunaratne.

Complete List of Odds of all IPL Teams

Chennai Super Kings – 4.00

Mumbai Indians – 4.50

Delhi Capitals – 5.50

Royal Challengers Bangalore – 7.00

Kolkata Knight Riders – 7.50

Kings XI Punjab – 9.00

Rajasthan Royals – 9.00

Sunrisers Hyderabad – 11.00

Lucknow – 11.00

Ahmedabad – 11.00