The Indian Premier League (IPL) mega-auction for the 2022 season is just a couple of weeks away and all 10 franchises, namely -- Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Mumbai Indians (MI), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Delhi Capitals (DC), Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), Rajasthan Royals (RR), Punjab Kings (PBKS), Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) and the yet to be named Ahmedabad team -- are busy finalising their targets for fielding the perfect team combination in the upcoming tournament.
Unlike the other auctions, which take place every year before the tournament, this mega-auction is going to be crucial as it will decide the future of all the franchises in the tournament for the next three years at least. It will help them in constructing a team for the next couple of years.
All 10 franchises have retained some players ahead of the mega-auction and will be looking to strengthen their squads further by adding some more potential players.
On that note, let's take a look at the top 5 Indian batters the franchises would target in IPL mega-auction.
Shikhar Dhawan (Base Price of INR 2 Crore)
Heading into IPL 2022 mega-auction, India opener Shikhar Dhawan will be on the wishlist of many franchises. He has been doing a fantastic job at the top, ever since he joined Delhi Capitals in 2019.
He was the highest run-getter for the franchise in 2019, 2020 and 2021 editions of the tournament, scoring above 500 runs every season while he went on to accumulate over 600 runs in the 2020 edition of the cash-rich league and became the second-highest run-scorer after KL Rahul, the orange cap winner of IPL 2020.
The left-hander has played for MI and SRH apart from DC. He has played a massive role in turning DC’s fortunes in IPL. The southpaw provides brilliant starts with the bat and lays the foundation for other batters to capitalise on.
Dhawan finished last season as the fourth-highest run-getter in the tournament. He smacked 587 runs in 16 matches at an average of 39.13 and strike rate of 124.63. Overall, he has accumulated 5784 runs in 192 IPL matches at an average of 38.84 and a strike rate of 126.64.
Shreyas Iyer (Base Price of INR 2 Crore)
The former captain of Delhi Capitals, Shreyas Iyer is going to be on the list of 'most wanted players' as teams will be looking for a middle-order batter who can play the role of anchor in the team while taking on spin at the same time.
Iyer was released by DC as he wanted to go straight into the auction pool to lead a new IPL franchise. However, no team was able to offer captaincy to Iyer and hence, now he will feature in the mega-auction.
There is no doubt that Shreyas Iyer has played a massive role in turning Delhi’s fortunes in the tournament. He took Delhi to new heights under his leadership, however failed to win the title.
The 27-year old was handed over captaincy of the franchise after Gautam Gambhir decided to step down from the role midway during the 2018 edition of the tournament.
With the bat, he has done exceptionally well all these years. Talking about the previous season of the tournament, Iyer missed the first half of the tournament as he was recovering from injury and played only the second half of the cash-rich league in Dubai, where he amassed 175 runs in 8 matches at an average of 35 and strike rate of 102.33.
Overall in the tournament so far, he has aggregated 2375 runs in 87 IPL matches at an average of 31.66 and strike rate of 123.95. His stature in the IPL has grown over the years and it won't be a surprise if an IPL team picks him as their new skipper, especially Kolkata Knight Riders or Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are currently looking for captains.
Ishan Kishan (Base Price of INR 2 Crore)
Mumbai Indians had to make a tough call ahead of the mega-auction of choosing between Suryakumar Yadav and Ishan Kishan as their fourth and final retention and they went with Suryakumar over the left-handed wicketkeeper batter.
Ishan has been one of Mumbai's crucial players since 2018. He was the highest scorer for the Mumbai-based franchise in the 2020 edition of the tournament, with 516 runs from just 13 innings.
The 23-year old has played the roles of opener and middle-order batter for Mumbai Indians and has tasted success in both the roles. In the previous edition of the tournament, he amassed 241 runs in 10 games at an average of 26.77 and strike rate of 133.88.
The wicketkeeper batter accumulated a total of 1452 runs across six seasons of the Indian Premier League. Given his brilliant batting skills and excellent wicketkeeping skills, he's going to be one of the hottest picks in the upcoming mega-auction.
Devdutt Padikkal (Base Price of INR 2 Crore)
Devdutt Padikkal joined Royal Challengers Bangalore in the 2020 edition and played two seasons with the franchise before they decided not to retain him ahead of the IPL 2022 mega-auction.
Overall, Padikkal has had respectable stats in the IPL over the last two seasons. He has smacked 884 runs in 29 IPL matches at an average of 31 and a strike rate of 125. Thanks to his exceptional form in the IPL, he received his maiden India cap in the T20I series against Sri Lanka last year.
He had a decent domestic season with the bat as well. Many teams will line up to bid for the 21-year-old as several teams need an explosive opening batter. Moreover, he can be groomed for a future leadership role.
Nitish Rana (Base Price of INR 1 Crore)
The left-handed batter joined KKR in 2018 and since then he has constantly scored more than 300 runs in every edition of the tournament. He smashed 383 runs in 17 games in the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League at an average of 29.46 and strike rate of 121.97.
Nitish Rana has been a dependable top-order batter for the Kolkata Knight Riders as he stood up on many occasions when the team lost early wickets. Talking about his overall IPL career, Nitish Rana has aggregated 1820 runs in 77 IPL matches at a decent average of 28.43 and strike rate of 132.45.
The IPL mega-auction will take place on February 12 and 13, 2022 in Bengaluru. With the addition of two new teams Lucknow and Ahmedabad, the IPL 2022 auction will witness the participation of 10 franchises from this year onwards.