The Indian T20 League auction presents a stiff challenge for franchises this time with a limited budget and too many holes to plug. As such, a few underrated, like James Neesham, and value-for-money buys, like Kusal Perera could be in the offing.
Here we look at five such players who could be on the radar of franchises:
T20s - 112, Runs - 1531, SR - 137.8, Wickets - 106
James Neesham has turned a new leaf in 2019 and is one of the most underrated lower-order finishers in limited-overs cricket. A stupendous World Cup saw him score a gritty 97* against Pakistan followed by an enthralling show in the finals where he picked three wickets and hit 13 in 5 balls, including a six off Jofra Archer in the Super Over. Given his utility with the ball too, Neesham could be a good pick for a number of franchises.
Rassie van der Dussen
T20s - 108, Runs - 3283, Avg - 37.3, SR - 130.58, 100s - 3
The find of the year for South Africa, 30-year old Rassie van der Dussen is a dependable batsman who can switch between attack and defense in the blink of an eye. The middle-order batsman had a stupendous season with the Jozi Stars in the inaugural Mzansi Super League in South Africa and then went on to record some impressive performances with South Africa in the World Cup. He could be an ideal pick this season given his form.
T20s - 96, Runs - 2127, Avg - 23.89, SR - 131.94, 50s - 18
A blockbuster hitter at the top of the order, Kusal Perera packs a punch in the powerplay overs and has often flown under the radar. 2019 saw him make a terrific Test ton in a run chase in Durban in South Africa and he has also shown that his natural game can disturb a lot of teams. Franchises might well be eyeing his belligerence at the top of the order.
T20s - 83, Wickets - 71, Eco - 8.3, Bat SR - 116.47
A good death overs bowler with a bag of tricks, Andile Phehlukwayo can bowl cutters, slower variations and yorkers and is an asset for any side. Phehlukwayo is also a handy lower-order batsman and has often rescued South Africa from tricky positions with his temperament down the order. He hasn't garnered much interest before in the league but could be in for a gig this time.
T20s - 74, Wickets - 43, Runs - 1487, Bat SR - 120.6
There is a distinct shortage of pace bowling all-rounders in the league this season with Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Morris, Colin de Grandhomme etc. losing contracts. Mitchell Marsh isn't new to the Indian T20 League and with his recent injury history, might seem an overrated player. That said, he has a pretty good record in the format and in franchise cricket and could be in for a surprise deal given what teams are eyeing this season.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Paul Ellis