IPL 2023 Auction: Huge gaps to be filled for leaderless Sunrisers Hyderabad and cash-crunched Kolkata Knight Riders ahead of IPL 2023 mini-auction.
With every passing day, the franchises are finishing their last minute preparations and strategies for the 16th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL), as the all-important mini-auction is set to take place on December 23 in Kochi.
It has been observed in the past that most teams with notable inclusions on that day, become successful in creating a powerful side for the marquee cricket league and claim to have a successful season even before the tournament kicks off.
Let’s take a look at how both the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) could fill their gaps during the mini-auction.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Many slots to fill with a low purse
Twice champions of the Indian Premier League, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), didn’t have a great season last year as they were really inconsistent throughout the whole season, finishing on number seven with just six victories in 14 games.
The franchise which has appointed former India wicketkeeper batter Chandrakant Pandit as their new head coach, was really active on the retention day deadline last month, as they left a few players with some being forced changes.
Currently, they have a 14-man squad with four pacer and two spinners in the bowling department. They have some decent top-order batters but even with a low budget, they need to fill many gaps.
Players collected via trades: Shardul Thakur, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Lockie Ferguson
Current Squad: Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Nitish Rana, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Venkatesh Iyer, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy, Anukul Roy, Rinku Singh
Remaining Purse: Kolkata Knight Riders have the smallest purse among all the ten teams - INR 7.05 crore and a maximum of 11 slots to fill, three of which could be overseas players.
Knights could eye Narayan Jagadeesan & Andre Russell’s backup with few good bowlers
One of the reasons for Kolkata to not do well in the last season was not beginning in an aggressive manner. On most occasions, they found themselves behind the eight ball and that’s why they need an Indian batter at the top who can take on the bowlers from the very first ball.
Narayan Jagadeesan and Mayank Agarwal could come under the radar of the Knights. The former who also brings the wicketkeeping option, scored 118 runs in six games at a strike rate of 131.11 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (SMAT) 2022-23; whereas Agarwal smashed 165 runs in the same tournament in eight innings at a strike rate of 154.20. Phil Salt too is an attacking option to be available in the auction who can easily partner Gurbaz at the top. Kerala batter Mohammed Azharuddeen could be another option to look out for by KKR.
Another space which the Knights will look to fill will be the backup option for Andre Russell, who has a knack of getting injured far too often. Even though Kolkata have traded in Shardul Thakur, they still will look for a foreigner in the slot. With no Pat Cummins this time for them, KKR can also eye for some good Indian fast bowlers.
They also have to find some back-ups for their first-choice players, but that’s going to be difficult with such a small purse. Surely, they have to be really smart with their bids on the auction day.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Targeting star players with huge purse
Just like KKR, the champions of 2016, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) too had a difficult season in 2023, where even after being placed well in the mid-season they ended up at the bottom part of the table. They have made some notable changes in the squad with the biggest one being leaving out their leader Kane Williamson, besides leaving out West Indies batter Nicholas Pooran which raised a few eyebrows.
Players acquired via trades: NA
Current Squad: Abdul Samad, Aiden Markram, Rahul Tripathi, Glenn Phillips, Abhishek Sharma, Marco Jansen, Washington Sundar, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Kartik Tyagi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Thangarasu Natarajan, Umran Malik
Purse Remaining: With INR 42.25 crore, they have the most money to spend in the auction but they have a whopping 13 places to fill overall, including four vacancies in the overseas category.
Hyderabad can sign one of Stokes or Curran
Sunrisers Hyderabad can think of taking a gamble by appointing Bhuvneshwar Kumar as their captain but with his injury issues, SRH could well think of adding a top-order batter who can also lead the side and Mayank Agarwal could be a perfect choice for the place.
Leaving out Nicholas Pooran can be observed from a different perspective; they can actually earn his service at a cheaper rate. Pooran is in red-hot form, leading his side Deccan Gladiators to a podium finish in the Abu Dhabi T20 league, with his 345 runs at a strike rate of 234.69 and average of 49.28 including three fifties; he will surely be under the radar of Hyderabad.
If Hyderabad think of having an Indian wicketkeeper in the side, then they can think of adding Narayan Jagadeesan or KS Bharat in the side; the latter can be used as an anchor type player too.
Sunrisers have parted relations with their main spinner in the side, Rashid Khan but the Orange Army have struggled in the middle overs to pick up wickets which has affected them in the backend of the innings. They can look to add someone like Adam Zampa in the mix.
There shouldn’t be much change in the bowling department which looks to be in perfect shape. Because the Sunrisers have a huge purse, there is hardly any doubt that whenever the names of Ben Stokes or Sam Curran or Cameron Green will pop up during the auction, they will be among the franchises to bid for them.
Especially the inclusion of Sam Curran who has developed his death bowling skill can prove to be really useful for them and could be a perfect aide for Bhuvneshwar Kumar. With age on his side, the left-arm dashing England all-rounder can be a long-time investment for Hyderabad.
The mini-auction for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 will take place on December 23 in Kochi.