The next season of the Indian Premier League might be more than four months away but the all-important IPL 2020 auction is just two weeks away. This time, the annual auction will be held at Kolkata on December 19 with all the eight franchises looking to strengthen themselves ahead of the tournament. While performance on the field is what eventually counts in a result-based business like the IPL, most of the work is done at the auction table itself. One could even say that success for a team depends 50 % in how the team management performs during the auction. This is how it is because all the teams fight for the best players in the world while also trying to be pragmatic with the purse available to be spent. Ahead of the upcoming IPL 2020 auction, two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) retained a lot of players while also releasing a few in order to achieve a better end result than the 5th placed finish that was possible earlier this year.
With the team already having a pretty small squad, KKR only released Chris Lynn, Carlos Brathwaite, Robin Uthappa, Piyush Chawla and Carlos Brathwaite. While Chris Lynn’s decision was based more on his INR 9.6 Crore price tag, the other three didn’t produce the kind of performances that a franchise would have hoped for.
After releasing the above-mentioned players, KKR will go into the auction with a hefty INR 35.65 Crore and this will help them get some of the star names in world cricket. So, let us have a look at three overseas players that KKR should definitely go for in the 2020 IPL Auction.
In spite of being released, hard-hitting Australian batsman Chris Lynn would be on top of KKR’s target list for the upcoming auction. Like mentioned above, Lynn was released more due to budget constraints and not necessarily his returns with the bat in hand. The Queenslander was, in fact, the second leading run-scorer for KKR behind the Andre Russell with 405 runs in 13 matches in IPL 2019. Even in the year 2018, Lynn was outstanding to end up with 491 runs.
Along with Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn formed one of the most aggressive opening combinations in the IPL and KKR will try everything to reunite them once again. Lynn can be dangerous, especially on true batting surfaces like the ones found at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai and the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.
Recently, Chris Lynn set the T10 League ablaze with his stunning big-hitting as bowlers were often left short of ideas. Lynn ended the tournament with 371 runs in 8 matches at a mind-boggling strike rate of 236.31 with his team Maratha Arabians going onto lift the title.
In the end, if KKR can get back Chris Lynn for a lesser amount while also getting a couple of other players using the money that the Australian was blocking until this season, it will be a win-win situation for the Shahrukh Khan-owned franchise.
English fast bowler Chris Jordan will be a good choice in the fast bowling department. Off late, Jordan has been a T20I specialist for England with the team depending upon his death over bowling on a lot of occasions.
Even in the recent T20I series against New Zealand, the Barbados-born bowler excelled by picking up 7 wickets in 4 matches. Jordan was also at his best by defending 18 runs when England won the 5th T20I via the super over method.
The 31-year-old pacer carried his good form into the T10 league where he picked up 6 wickets in 5 matches. But the most impressive statistic is his economy rate as he only conceded 8.22 runs per over in a format that is designed to heavily favour the batters.
Apart from being well-known to execute yorkers his will during the death overs, the Sussex man is also a handy lower-order hitter apart from being one of the best fielders in the world. If KKR get Jordan in the auction, he can even be solely used in the middle and end overs with Lockie Ferguson acting as a great foil with his pace and hostility.
Although, Jordan couldn’t turn out to be a successful addition for Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad in the past, he is much improved bowler who could probably sort out KKR’s death bowling woes that has plagued them over the past couple of seasons.
Having played for KKR’s sister franchise Trinbago Knight Riders in the Caribbean Premier League, James Neesham could be another interesting option going into this upcoming IPL auction. Neesham could also be a direct replacement for Carlos Brathwaite as the secondary all-rounder behind Andre Russell.
After being out of the international scene for a while, Neesham made a strong return to the national team and produced his typically destructive knocks in a consistent manner. In the 2019 World Cup, Neesham returned pretty impressive stats with both bat and ball by scoring 232 runs along with 15 wickets.
Although Neesham’s bowling is still seen as a weakness, his big-hitting ability perhaps covers up for that. With teams placing a lot of emphasis on having a lot of left-handers in the middle-order, Neesham being a southpaw could also help his cause during the IPL auction.