Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is rightly expected to cause a major uproar in the upcoming Indian T20 League 2021 auction. Set at a base price of Rs. 2 crores, the 34-year-old recently made a comeback in the international circuit as he played an important role in Bangladesh’s 3-0 ODI series win over West Indies, picking six wickets and scoring 113 runs - which included one four-wicket haul and one half-century.
The southpaw's performance has well and truly overruled the fact that the all-rounder has lost his mojo following a lengthy ban from cricket. Hence, it goes without saying that Shakib will understandably be one of the hottest properties during the auction, and here we list out three teams who should go all out for the all-rounder.
The KL Rahul-led team Punjab has a luxury of filling five overseas slots after having released the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Sheldon Cottrell and James Neesham. Truth be told, there is a lot of work to be done in Punjab’s camp and a lot could be solved by the arrival of Shakib Al Hasan.
For starters, Punjab’s middle-order looked quite vulnerable last season and signing Shakib will not only provide a batting solution but also bolster their spin bowling attack, which only has Murugan Ashwin and Ravi Bishnoi at the moment. While Punjab's current spin duo has been impressive, Shakib's inclusion will add the much-needed experience that Team Punjab has been deprived of so often.
The departure of Steve Smith means Rajasthan will look to add a top-order batsman during the auction and Shakib Al Hasan could be a perfect fit for the one-time champions. His ability to bat anywhere between No. 3 to No. 5 would allow the likes of Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes to play with freedom and lesser pressure.
It’s safe to say that Rajasthan looked lost at times last season as their batting line-up failed to deliver what was promised. The arrival of an experienced campaigner in Shakib could aid the issue at its very core. Not to forget the fact that Shakib and Stokes’ presence would allow Rajasthan to play an extra batsman as the duo is capable of bowling all of their quota overs.
Team Kolkata do not really have a subtle all-rounder in their roster. One might argue over Sunil Narine’s presence, but his inconsistency with the bat makes him an unreliable option, to say the least. Andre Russell might walk into the fray too, but the big West Indian averaged a measly 13.00 last season and leaked runs at an economy of 9.72 with the ball.
Turing to Shakib might ease off the pressure from the veterans. Apart from Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill, no one from the roster, including captain Dinesh Karthik, managed to live up to the billing with the bat. Their bowling contingent, on the other hand, was led by a certain Varun Chakravarthy, and at times, by Lockie Ferguson. All that means team Kolkata are in a dire need of a match-winner who can uplift the spirit and instil the confidence that was visibly lacking last season, making Shakib a perfect match for the team.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam