The IPL mega-auction is right around the corner, set to take place on the 12th and 13th of February. All franchises are looking to bolster their respective squad, because if the rumours are right, this might be the last mega-auction.
We all love the T20 format for all the big-hitting, but as all the professionals and pundits say, it’s the bowlers that win you the games and wickets that win you championships.
With two new teams set to feature in this season’s IPL and every team searching for world-class bowlers, here we take a look at one bowler who I believe each IPL franchise should buy, and who would fit perfectly with their squad.
Also Read – Indian Premier League 2022: Player Retentions
Delhi Capitals: Harshal Patel
Harshal Patel has been playing in the IPL for a few years now, but the Harshal Patel of last season had never been seen before. The Indian pacer impressed with his death bowling, changes of pace and, of course, picking up wickets.
In the 2021 IPL season, Patel joined Dwayne Bravo as the highest wicket-taker in an IPL season, scalping 32 batters. He was Virat Kohli’s go-to bowler and almost guided the Royal Challengers Bangalore to the final. It was not just his wickets; Patel was also bowling difficult overs with a decent Economy Rate of 8.4.
Harshal Patel has already represented the Delhi Capitals in the past (2018-2020), so if he were to go back, a potential partnership of him alongside Avesh Khan and Anrich Nortje would make a great pace-bowling unit for the Capitals.
Harshal Patel will cost any team a decent amount, since his wicket-taking abilities were visible for all teams to see, but I think he would fit best in the Delhi Capitals camp.
Mumbai Indians: Kagiso Rabada
Kagiso Rabada has been one of the best white-ball bowlers in cricket over the past two to three years. That he wasn’t retained by the DC came as a big shock; the Delhi franchise decided to choose his compatriot Anrich Nortje instead.
Rabada was instrumental in the DC reaching the 2020 IPL final, for in that season he was the Purple Cap holder. In his 50 games in the IPL, the South African has picked up 76 wickets and is known for his feisty character and fighting spirit.
Rabada didn’t have a great IPL 2021 as he conceded the most number of sixes by any bowler. He did, however, show his class by picking up 20 wickets in the recent Test series against India.
With no right-to-match cards available this year, it is likely Rabada will spark a huge bidding war. If the Mumbai Indians go for him, a potential pace attack of Jasprit Bumrah and Rabada could be one of the most menacing in the IPL and could lead the MI to their sixth IPL title.
Chennai Super Kings: Deepak Chahar
Deepak Chahar has been Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s go-to bowler in the last few seasons, especially in the beginning overs. Impressing for the Men in Yellow, in 69 matches he has managed to pick up 59 wickets at an Economy Rate of 7.80.
Chahar has consistently picked up 10+ wickets in each of the last four IPL seasons, and the majority of them have come during the Powerplays, where Dhoni tends to have him bowl three overs.
Deepak Chahar has now also been capped for India, and not only have we seen him opening the bowling, we have also seen him scoring half-centuries against Sri Lanka and South Africa.
Even though the CSK have decided not to retain him, I personally believe they will get their man back, even if they have to break the bank to do so. Chahar is a reliable bowler who seems to be Dhoni’s man and can add handy runs with the bat as well; I believe there’s no chance the Super Kings will let him go to any other franchise.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Ravichandran Ashwin
Not only is Ravichandran Ashwin a proven wicket-taker, he also brings with him an abundance of IPL experience, guile and leadership qualities, all of which could be very beneficial for the Kolkata Knight Riders.
It is a well-known fact that over the past few years Ashwin has really worked on his white-ball cricket. He has also been in good form, having picked up nine wickets in five T20Is for India post the T20 World Cup.
Ashwin can not only bowl difficult overs but can also be used in the Powerplay and provide useful runs with the bat at the backend. He would be a perfect replacement for Sunil Narine, and hence I believe he should be picked up by the KKR.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Mohammed Shami
Mohammed Shami is arguably the best Indian bowler available in the auction this year. He has been fantastic over the past few years, and Virat Kohli has touted him to be among the top three fast bowlers in the world right now.
Since 2019, Shami has picked up 58 wickets in 42 IPL games, demonstrating the remarkable improvement in his bowling. Not only that, 37 of those wickets have come in the death overs, which over the past years have been the Achilles heel for the RCB.
Shami would bring great skill, reputation, and experience to the RCB team, and his partnership with Mohammed Siraj—as seen in international games—is something that could push the Royal Challengers to win that elusive first IPL trophy.
Rajasthan Royals: Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Mujeeb Ur Rahman didn’t get much game time with the SunRisers Hyderabad last year, but, despite still being very young (20), he is an experienced franchise cricketer and has travelled around the world playing in various domestic leagues.
Before joining the SRH, Mujeeb also featured for the Punjab Kings in the IPL. His ability is undoubtable. He could be a great fit for the Rajasthan Royals, as they could use a mystery spinner who can spin it both ways at a great Economy Rate, even in the Powerplays.
The Royals didn’t retain any bowlers in their team and will be looking to build a completely new bowling unit. Mujeeb Ur Rahman is not only a future-proof investment but also a very experienced and great bowler to build your team around.
Lucknow Super Giants: Patrick Cummins
Patrick Cummins cost the Kolkata Knight Riders INR 15.5 crore in 2020. The Knight Riders have since decided not to retain the new Test captain of the Australian national team. Cummins is a proven world-class bowler, though his form last season in the IPL wasn’t great, and he also decided to not return for the second leg of the IPL in the UAE.
Cummins is coming off a great Ashes series and can be the strike bowler for any franchise. I think the Lucknow Super Giants should look to bolster their Australian players contingent by bringing in Cummins to join the already-signed Marcus Stoinis.
A fully-fit and ready Patrick Cummins is not only one of the most feared bowlers in the world, but he also has shown the ability to hit big sixes and can also act as the leader of the Luckow team’s bowling unit.
The Ahmedabad franchise: Trent Boult
Trent Boult is arguably the best left-arm bowler in world cricket. In 2020, he was key to the Mumbai Indians winning the IPL, picking up three wickets in the final. His recent form has also been staggering, with him having recently picked up 13 wickets in the T20 World Cup.
Boult will bring in world-class ability. His main strengths are keeping a healthy Economy Rate and picking up crucial wickets. The new Ahmedabad franchise could do with such an experienced fast bowler, who will bring in a winning mentality, a lot of IPL experience and pure pace which is key in T20s.
Punjab Kings: Shardul Thakur
Shardul Thakur’s rise has been phenomenal in every format. Known as Lord Thakur among the cricket fans, Thakur has a golden arm and a knack for picking up critical wickets and breaking crucial partnerships.
Last season, Thakur was key in the CSK winning their fourth IPL title, picking up 21 wickets in 16 games. He was also the fourth-highest wicket-taker for the season. The Super Kings decided to not retain him, however, so I believe he would be a great addition to the Punjab Kings squad. Thakur is a great player to build that Indian core around, and his batting abilities are well known to all as well.
Even though he hasn’t scored many runs in the IPL, we have all seen what Thakur can do with the bat given his recent performances against England and South Africa.
To get Shardul Thakur, the Punjab Kings will definitely have to break the bank, but I’m positive that he will be worth every penny.
SunRisers Hyderabad: Yuzvendra Chahal
After letting go of their kingpin Rashid Khan, the SunRisers Hyderabad will be looking for a leading leg spinner, and there is no better option than Yuzvendra Chahal in the upcoming auction.
Chahal always delivered for the RCB and remains their highest-ever wicket-taker. He is a very experienced leggy who has played in the IPL for over eight years now, and his guile, variations, and experience can see him become the leading bowler for the SRH.
Over the years, the SunRisers have always seemed to have the core of their bowling unit filled with Indians, and it would be a great start to their rebuild if they were to buy Yuzi in the auction.