Cricket never stops. More specifically, T20 cricket never stops. Barely a month after England’s monumental T20 World Cup win, the Indian Premier League auction will be here.
Taking place on the 23rd of December, the auction will finalise the squads for the 2023 IPL. The franchises will nominate players to add to their homegrown talent and already retained players like Jofra Archer, who was bought by the Mumbai Indians last season.
Founded in only 2021, the Gujarat Titans claimed victory last season. Boasting an impressive roster that includes the promising Shubman Gill and their ever-dependable captain, Hardik Pandya, they’re steady favourites to retain the title in 2023.
Familiar faces will also be back. Virat Kohli will, of course, captain the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Meanwhile, veteran MS Dhoni will take the gloves for the Chennai Super Kings in his final IPL season.
Yet, with the auction steadily approaching, conversation appears focused on three players more than any others: World Cup player of the tournament, Sam Curran, hero of the final, Ben Stokes, and Australia’s exciting youngster, Cameron Green. All three are obviously all-rounders. But why are they so in demand?
The English summer wasn’t kind to Sam Curran – taking no wickets and conceding 147 runs at an economy rate of 9.19 per over his five T20Is. Who’d have thought that only a couple of months later, the 24 year-old would be crowned player of the tournament at the World Cup?
Curran’s five-wicket haul against Afghanistan, the first by an England bowler in the shortest format, kickstarted a stellar campaign. He bowled tidily in the middle overs and at the death to snag 13 wickets at an average of 11.38 and a 6.53 economy rate. An excellent campaign indeed.
Skipper Jos Buttler turned to Curran at crucial moments and boy did he deliver: returning figures of 3 for 12 in the final, the Surrey man skittled the menacing Mohammed Rizwan for 15, before varying his pace to remove Masood and Nawaz.
Curran has IPL experience, too. MS Dhoni’s CSK picked him for the 2020 season after his debut year at Kings XI Punjab. During his three years in India, the left-armer snagged 32 wickets at an average of 31.09 with the ball, and scored two 50s at an average 22.47 with the bat. These were decent returns for a young man, but nothing like his international form of late.
Prior to his debut season, Kings XI Punjab paid a whopping £800,000 for his services. Should they wish to secure him again, an even bigger bid north of £1,000,000 may be necessary. However, it’s more likely that his most recent employers at CSK will go after him again. After all, MS Dhoni is a big fan and once said, “Sam Curran is a complete cricketer for us, and you need that seaming all-rounder”.
England’s talismanic Test skipper needs no introduction. Fresh off his talismanic 52* in the World Cup final, he, too, will command a hefty price.
Buttler has described his teammate as “the ultimate competitor” because he has a reputation for delivering when most needed. Who could forget his assured 84* in the 2019 World Cup final or his history-making heroics at Headingley later that summer?
The Cumbrian is tailor-made for the big moments. Stokes has IPL experience too, notching two hundreds and taking 28 wickets in his five seasons with Rising Pune Supergiant and the Rajasthan Royals.
Ben Stokes will always be hot property – his first season in India cost Rising Pune Supergiant a gargantuan £1,500,000 – and given his T20 World Cup heroics, a bid of similarly huge proportions could be required to snag him this time.
Two years ago, you’d be hard pressed to find a cricket fan who knew the name Cameron Green. Making his Test debut in December 2020 against India, the giant Australian impressed with his medium-fast bowling and powerful lower order hitting. At 6 ½ ft, Green offers troublesome bounce with the ball and dominates short-pitched bowling with the bat.
At only 23, this would be Green’s first IPL season, yet his versatility is already turning heads. Capable of batting anywhere in the order, Green opened in Australia’s recent three-match T20 series against India. He returned impressive scores of 61 off 30 in the first match and 52 off 21 in the third – this in addition to picking up the crucial wicket of Suraya Kumar Yadav in the opening fixture.
With no reputed overseas all-rounder in their squad, Sunrisers Hyderabad are suspected to seek the all-rounder’s services come the 23rd. Should they go for Green, the rebuilding side will be left with no choice but to fork out a hefty sum for the Australian. Indeed, according to Aakash Chopra, Green is likely to be the costliest all-rounder of them all with a bid north of £1,500,000 possibly coming his way. Hefty indeed.
Take your pick
Sam Curran, Ben Stokes, or Cam Green. Perhaps more than anything, the hype surrounding this trio reflects the clamour for quality all-rounders in the T20 game. All three have the skill set to bowl all four overs and bat in the top or middle order. But which one would you choose if you had a spare $1.5 million casually lying around?
Sam Curran for me
Bowlers who can bat are not all rounders. These days most bowlers can bat, especially in white ball where the long handle can be quite effective with quick 20’s and 30’s. Curran is one of those. Stokes is our only true all rounder and in world cricket he’s debatably the only one left now Kallis has retired, though Hooper, Moin and Stoinis come close. For me a true all rounder is a front line bowler who is comfortable batting in the top 6. When you think of the 70’s every country seemed to have at least one, enough even to hold a special all rounder competition in Hong Kong, though most of those playing were bowlers who could bat like Hadlee, Kapil Dev and Reeve, along with the genuine articles like Botham, Imran, Barlow, Proctor and Rice.
I’m not convinced that Curran is a bowler who can bat in T20 (which is what this piece is about)–although I would say his bowling is stronger, especially on current form.
I’m even less convinced by your “Stokes is the only all-rounder” argument–which seems pretty Anglocentric. Shakib al-Hasan is an all-format all-rounder and has been for years, and he often bats in the top four, let alone the top six–he’s probably one of the best few all-rounders ever, the more so given that he;s often had to carry his team almost single-handed with both bat and ball.
Holder is too by your definition, especially in white-ball (did you mean him when you said Hooper?), as–as Will points out–is Green. I think you could at least arguably add to them–especially in white-ball–Sikandar Raza, Jadeja, Marsh, Mohammad Nabi and (especially) Pandya.
I wouldn’t say that Ali is any longer–because he seems to have virtually stopped bowling in internationals.
Just fyi, someone correct me if I’m worng: Sunrisers Hyderabad released Kane Williamson from the team, I don’t think he plays for them anymore.
Yes, he was let go on 16th November, just after this article was written! I don’t follow the IPL that closely so I didn’t know that I needed to edit this bit. Apologies to Will for not publishing this sooner but we had a few guest articles in the queue.
The IPL – or any franchise – auction is an abomination.
I think Sam Curran is the ultimate option.