We are just a few days away from IPL 2022 mega-auction. A two-day fiesta if you are a cricket fan. Ten teams will enter the fray and look to build their squads. It is being speculated that this will be the last mega-auction. This makes it all the more important for franchises to get their picks right and bases covered. Teams will be on the lookout for explosive opening batters, middle-order batters, gun death bowlers, all-rounders, spinners and a lot more. Many teams will be on the lookout for wicketkeeper batters as well.
Wicketkeeping is considered to be a primary skill in red-ball cricket but the same is not the case in shorter formats of the game, especially T20 cricket. The dynamics of the game demand the player be exceptional in the art of wicketkeeping and batting as well.
Delhi Capitals (DC), Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) have already retained the services of some of the best wicketkeeper batters in the business. One less thing for these teams to worry about. However, the other six teams will be out in the market looking to buy in a wicketkeeper batter of their choice. Ishan Kishan, Quinton de Kock, Jonny Bairstow and Dinesh Karthik are some of the obvious choices for the spot but who can the teams look at beyond them?
Nicholas Pooran (Base Price INR 1.5 Crore)
One look at Nicholas Pooran and you can tell that the West Indian southpaw is special. Not your typical big Caribbean guy but the distance and power he can generate is next to none. An IPL career spanning 33 games with Punjab Kings (PBKS) and a strike rate in excess of 154. This tells you all you need to know about Pooran.
Pooran is in the middle of a purple patch as the 26-year-old emerged as the highest run-scorer in the home T20I series against England. Nicholas Pooran was also among the highest run-getters in the recently concluded CPL T20. He scored 243 runs for Guyana Amazon Warriors at an average of 32.87 and strike rate of 163.35. His ability to bat anywhere between three to six make him a great asset for any side going forward.
Josh Philippe (Base Price INR 1 Crore)
Australia have struggled to produce an all-format wicketkeeper since Adam Gilchrist and Josh Philippe could be the answer to that. A clean and hard striker of the cricket ball, Philippe plays an aggressive brand of cricket. His technique might be a little unorthodox but he has turned naysayers into believers with his consistent performances in the Big Bash League (BBL) over the years.
The right-handed batter has been amongst the top run-scorers of BBL for the past three consecutive seasons. He has accumulated 429 runs in BBL in 2021, 508 in 2020 and 487 in 2019.
Philippe did not shine through in the handful of opportunities that he got at RCB but an extended run at the top could do wonders for both him and his franchise.
Ben McDermott (Base Price INR 50 Lakh)
Son of the legendary Australian fast bowler Craig Mcdermott, Ben decided to take up batting at a very young age. A top-order right-handed batter who also keeps wickets. McDermott has been amongst the runs in BBL for some time now but he needed to do something different to grab more eyes. This came in 2021 when McDermott piled on the runs and finished with a tally of 577 runs at a strike rate of 153.86 in the BBL 2021/22 which included two centuries in the same season.
He is a Big Bash League (BBL) veteran with an average of over 36 and a strike rate close to 140 with 70 games behind his back. With his abilities, an Indian Premier League (IPL) contract surely awaits him in the near future.
Sam Billings (Base Price INR 2 Crore)
Unlike the other mentions in this list, Billings has been around the IPL circuit for some time now. He made his IPL debut in 2016 but in the six seasons that have passed since the 30-year-old only had a handful of opportunities.
He was bought by CSK at his base price in 2018 and won them an unwinnable game against KKR with a 23-ball 56 in a daunting chase. BBL is where he has gotten consistent opportunities and the numbers say he can do a lot of damage with game time behind his back. Sam Billings scored 284 runs from nine matches at an average of 40.37 and strike rate of 153.51 for Sydney Thunders in BBL 2021/22. Billings possesses the rare ability to go after the bowlers from ball one. A longer run and a definite batting position can do wonders for him and his franchise alike.
Glenn Phillips (Base Price INR 1.5 Crore)
A right-handed batter who hits the ball hard, Glenn Phipps doubles up as a wicketkeeper as well. Phillips has done reasonably well in the limited opportunities he has been provided with the Blackcaps.
Courtesy of those efforts, RR welcomed him into their team but the presence of Jos Buttler and Sanju Samson meant that Phillips never got ample opportunities. Playing for Barbados Royals in CPL T20 2021 edition, Phillips scored 254 runs from 10 matches at an average of 31.75 and strike rate of 128.28. The 25-year-old will look to make hay in the upcoming auction.