It’s that time of the year literally every player in the world wants to be in the best of the forms. Be it Joe Root, one of the most prolific batsmen of our generation or Ashoke Dinda, well I am not saying much about him. It literally makes or breaks you as a player and charts paths for you. Pretty much like the 1st time you asked a girl/guy out. Still hurts doesn’t it?
I have seen so many listicles so far in the last few days that I really wanted to make a listicle of listicles. Or probably play a drinking game where you have to take a shot every time someone mentions Ben Stokes. But then I settled for this. Meh.
I have to put forth something before I continue. One thing that is really important in the IPL along with your performances, is the price tag. You can score 300 runs and take 6 wickets and do double cartwheels. All cool but if you were paid a foring 15 cr, you haven’t done your job.
There are various reasons that a player can fail. Sometimes a player is overvalued on the current form, sometimes the price gets to them. There have been numerous examples in the past. Saurabh Tiwary, Tymal Mills, Pawan Negi, Yuvraj Singh (managed to get on this list twice in the past) all were really good bets but failed. I am going to try and make my predictions for this year. If I fail, well I will make another listicle of 5 reasons why I regret making this listicle.
#5 Sarfaraz Khan
He technically doesn’t qualify to be on this list but I just could not resist. He has been retained by the RCB for 3 crores. And I tried to find reason. And I promise, I looked harder than probably Sanjay Manjrekar tries to make sense. I failed. He has a really poor first class record. He has played around 10 matches for RCB out of which 1 was a freak innings and rest less than average performances. He was sidelined for an entire year and his only activity in that time has been uploading cringeworthy posts on Instagram (Go See NOW!!) He is failing comically for UP in the zonal T20 and yet Virat Kohli and RCB have put their full faith in him. No idea what happened there.
#4 Prithvi Shaw
Before you close the tab and call me insane, hear me out for a moment. All the expectations of the world are on him. He is in red hot form. His game is far mature than what usually is at this age. But my question is, will he be able to take the weight of the price tag? We saw that happen to a lot of players. There is no doubt whatsoever that he is going break the ceiling at the auction and probably might have a hefty payday. The pressure to justify the money has taken toll on some of the best in the world. He also needs to be in with the right mentors. He is 19 for God’s sake. Half of us couldn’t even take the pressure of 12th boards at that age. (Sincere Apologies for reminding people of their failure and apologies to other half for reminding them the last time they peaked)
#3 Mitchell Starc
A very unusual name to be on this list and probably doesn’t deserve to be on it either. Genuine wicket taker and probably the best left arm fast bowler in the world at this moment. When he arrives at the IPL, he would have played 8 tests, 5 ODIS, 6 T20s in the span of 4 months. I am not sure if his body will be able to take another 50 days of extravaganza. There is a good chance of injury or pull out before the tournament begins and it is frustrating for the franchise who signs him. We have seen RCB struggle with that last year. But his impact can’t be denied and hence I will be surprised if he doesn’t go for a really high price
#2 Ajinkya Rahane
This is going to take time to explain. Ajinkya Rahane is probably one of the most technically sound batsmen to ever play the game of cricket. He is honest with his game and gives his 100% in literally every situation possible. He also brings in the possible captaincy angle and hence makes him invaluable. The reason he is on the list is not him, but the team the franchise builds. Ajinkya Rahane does not accelerate. And this has been proven time and again. He will always be a burden till you have someone going all guns blazing. You cannot afford 1 player playing 40 balls for 45-50 in every scenario, that too from the person who is going to open the innings. In absence of the person going beserk at the other end, he becomes a liability in the middle. He has done that at RR and has done more than often at RPS. Unless there is a clear role defined to him of a drop dead anchor, breaking the banks for him won’t fetch you much. I see RR using their RTM for him but I am sure they have a cap price.
#1 Ravichandran Ashwin
Still India’s go to spinner in test cricket, was initially ‘rested’ by the management after a poor Champions Trophy. And although his test cricket form is probably at a high over the last year, the same cannot be said about his T20 form. He skipped the last IPL and the IPL before that was his worst in terms of economy and wickets taken. The main reason he is on the list is because of two reasons. One, if CSK do go for him (and they are as MS Dhoni has said upfront), they are going to have to pay really something that they cannot afford. CSK cannot use their RTM and will have to outbid the franchises. Heavy bidding is definitely on the cards. And two, that if any of the other franchises do go for him their pitches have to be really low and slow for that (read Chepauk). Ravi Ashwin with KKR at green top Eden at a price of 8 crores is not a very wise decision. Also, a key part to understand here is that he will come out in the set of Marquee players’ set and not in spinners’ set. Hence it is really tricky to assign a price for him and there is a good chance that his price may get out of hands very fast and make it difficult to manage the rest of the budget.