The two-day mega auction for the Indian T20 League 2022 is set to commence on February 12 with as many as 590 players, including 370 Indian and 220 overseas, going under the hammer.
While the big names such as Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have already been retained, household names like David Warner, Quinton de Kock, Pat Cummins and Shikhar Dhawan are among those who are expected to attract big bids.
That said, the latest edition of India’s T20 extravaganza is also set to miss the services of several big stars and here we take a look at five of them.
The Universe Boss, who holds several records in the Indian T20 League such as most sixes and highest individual score, decided not to enter the mega auction having struggled to perform in the previous edition.
The southpaw played 10 matches for Team Punjab last season but could only score 193 runs at a measly average of 21. In September 2021, he decided to sit out the rest of the season, citing bubble fatigue. Following that, Gayle failed to find a suitor during the Pakistan Super League draft and although he has recently played in the Bangladesh Premier League, Gayle has failed to produce a big knock.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes decided to give red-ball cricket the priority as he decided to opt out of the Indian T20 League 2022 mega auction. The 30-year-old, who was the most expensive player in the 2017 auction, will instead be playing in the English County Championship.
Stokes was a part of Team Rajasthan setup in the 2021 edition but was ruled out midway after suffering a fracture on his finger. After that, the all-rounder took an indefinite break from cricket to focus on his mental health and returned during the recently concluded Ashes.
After managing just 236 runs at an average of just over 23 in the Ashes, the all-rounder decided to focus more on the red-ball cricket and thus decided not to enter the mega auction.
Since going unsold in the 2018 auction, England batter Joe Root hasn’t played in the Indian T20 League. Like his compatriot Ben Stokes, Root decided not to enter the mega auction as he wants to preserve his energy for the national Test team.
England were hammered 0-4 by Australia in the Ashes following which several England players came in for intense criticism. To improve their performance ahead of England’s Test series against New Zealand in June, Root said he is ready to sacrifice the opportunity of playing in the Indian T20 League.
“There’s a lot that we need to do for this team, which deserves all of my energy. I’ll keep sacrificing as much as I can because I care so much about Test cricket in our country and trying to get us to where we want to be,” Root said after England’s 146-run loss to Australia in the fifth Ashes Test.
It’s been almost seven years since Australia placer Mitchell Starc last played in the Indian T20 League. This time around, he was close to entering the mega auction but decided to opt out as didn’t want to spend another 22 weeks in a bio-bubble.
"I was a click of the button away from entering the auction but personally didn't want to spend 22 more weeks in a bubble,” Starc was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
"There will be a time where I'd love to go back to the Indian T20 League but in terms of wanting to play as much as I can for Australia, that's a decision I've done for a while. It gives me an opportunity to spend time with Alyssa and family in those eight weeks outside of a cricket bubble," the 32-year-old added.
Starc’s last Indian T20 League appearance came for Bangalore in the 2015 edition where he ended up picking 20 wickets in 13 matches. In 2018, he was snapped by Team Kolkata for INR 9.40 crore but was ruled out of the competition before making even a single appearance.
New Zealand quick Kyle Jamieson impressed one and all with his brilliant performance in the previous Indian T20 League season, picking nine wickets in as many outings. He was, in fact, the second-most expensive player at the 2021 player auction, with Team Bangalore splashing as much as INR 15 crore for his signature.
This year though, the Kiwi international decided not to enter the bio-bubble life and has hence pulled out of the mega auction.
"Yeah, look, there were a couple of things for me (for opting out),” Jamieson was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
"Firstly, after the last 12 months, it's had its challenges with MIQs (managed isolation and quarantine) and bubbles and spending a fair amount of time in that sort of set-up.
“It was important for me, when I look at the schedule coming up over the next 12 months to try and find six weeks or eight weeks where I can spend some time at home," Jamieson added.
Featured photo: AFP / Sajjad Hussain