IPL Auction 2021: RCB, CSK could bid for Maxwell; all eyes on Moeen, Malan, uncapped Azharuddeen

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Chennai: Flamboyant Australian Glenn Maxwell is expected to be a favourite, despite his underwhelming record, along with England’s spin bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali during a condensed IPL players auction slated here on Thursday.

A total of 292 players have been enlisted for the shortened auctions – 164 of them Indian and 125 overseas. There will also be three associate players in the auction.

With 61 slots across eight franchises up for grabs, Royal Challengers Bangalore have the maximum, 11 vacancies, to fill with a purse of Rs 35.4 crore while Sunrisers Hyderabad have only three slots available with Rs 10.75 crore in its kitty.

The highest purse available is with Anil Kumble-coached ‘Punjab Kings’, formerly Kings XI Punjab, which have Rs 53.20 crore available for spending on nine spots.

With the IPL back in India after being held in the UAE last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, focus will be on big-hitters as well as slow bowlers, and Maxwell and Moeen fit the category.

However, Maxwell averages 22 in the tournament, having played 82 matches for his 1505 runs. He last played for Punjab.

Moeen, on the other hand, was seen in action for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the previous season.

While Maxwell and his former skipper Steve Smith are both in the highest bidding category of Rs 2 crore, one name that will surely attract attention is world’s No 1 ranked T20 batsman Dawid Malan from England.

A strike-rate of nearly 150 in 19 T20 Internationals has catapulted Malan into the limelight and a few teams may like to raise their bids for the 33-year-old with a base price of Rs 1.5 crore.

Multiple IPL winners CSK failed to make it to the playoffs for the first time in league's history in 2020. Image: Sportzpics

One of the most keenly-watched teams going into the auction will be Chennai Super Kings after a nightmarish 2020 season when they failed to qualify for the IPL playoffs for the first time in tournament’s history.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and head coach Stephen Fleming have always valued experience way more than the exuberance of youth in their team.

A case in point is Robin Uthappa, who hasn’t performed for at least five seasons, being picked by CSK from Rajasthan Royals during the trading window with an all-cash deal.

“Check out the kind of players Dhoni picks. It’s always middle-level senior guys who have experience in handling pressure situations. It doesn’t matter how the guy is perceived as a player in the fraternity.

“The only time his expectations didn’t match was with Kedar Jadhav. Or else, he likes a bit of seniority and those with game awareness,” a source close to the franchise told PTI.

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