It is that time of the year again. That time when players become commodities and go under the hammer, under the watchful eyes of the auctioneer. Although there have been many changes to the rules that govern the Indian Premier League, the auction has not been done away with, and come the 12th of February, the franchises will be looking to pull their own version of rabbits out of hats, by looking for cheap, utility picks at the auction. The likes of David Warner, Shaun Marsh, Ravichandran Ashwin all rose to prominence through the IPL and the next edition could very well have its own set of new shining lights.
Here is a look at 5 players who haven’t played for their country yet, but might well be on most teams’ purchase lists during the auction.
1. Sanju Samson
Sanju Samson, the 19-year-old from Kerala, had a brilliant season with the Rajasthan Royals in 2013, and that culminated in a fantastic effort to reach the final of the Champions League T20, where Rajasthan narrowly lost out to the mighty Mumbai Indians.
Samson batted in the top order for the Royals and scored 206 runs in 10 innings in the IPL, at an impressive strike rate of nearly 120. But, the wicketkeeper-batsman came to the fore in the Champions League where he was the Royals’ second highest run scorer scoring 192 runs in a campaign that saw the team give Rahul Dravid a fitting send-off. Samson has a fantastic range of strokes, and his ability to loft the ball at will, gives him an added advantage in T20 Cricket.
2. Pravin Tambe
Someone who has shown us that age is no bar, in doing what one loves. Pravin Tambe’s story is one straight from the pen of the best authors around. From being the liaison officer at the DY Patil Stadium during the initial seasons of the IPL, Tambe has risen into being the lead spinner for the Royals. Tambe had a really good few games in the IPL, but like Samson, the Champions League T20 was again his stomping ground. Tambe picked up 12 wickets at an astounding economy rate of less than 5, and acted as the perfect foil for the likes of James Faulkner and Shane Watson.
3. Parvez Rasool
Rasool could also be the centre of quite a storm, especially with his exploits in domestic cricket where he has never stopped performing. Rasool has had another stellar season, leading Jammu & Kashmir into the Quarter-Final of the Ranji Trophy for the first time in their history. In the Round Robin stages, he scored 560 runs and picked up 21 wickets, and has quite literally carried J&K into the quarters on his own shoulders. Rasool’s consistent efforts won him a call-up to the India squad for the tour to Zimbabwe last year, but he didn’t make the playing 11. Rasool, in 2013 also become the first player from the Valley to play in the IPL, when he played for the Pune Warriors against Kolkata Knight Riders. Now, he will be looking to flaunt a nice pay as well.
4. Michael Klinger
A seasoned professional from Australia, Klinger has been the backbone on which his domestic T20 sides have built their innings on. Be it for the South Australian Redbacks or the Adelaide Strikers, Klinger has been a dasher up the order and has often given his teams a rollicking start. In a tournament like the IPL, and in a format like T20, where the Powerplay overs are crucial, the openers will have to set the tone, and Klinger has been one of the best since the advent of T20 cricket.
5. Ashton Turner
One of the stars of Australia’s U-19 World Cup campaign in 2013, where they finished as runners-up, Ashton Turner is a dashing batsman who is also a very useful off-spinner. Turner’s presence lower down the order, gave Australia impetus at the end of the innings in many games, and his reliable off-spin proved a bit too much to handle. Turner is not a prodigious spinner of the ball, but he relies on his accuracy, and his biggest strength is his ability to keep the flow of runs around.