The season before the mega auction is a double-edged sword - you could lock in a long-term contract by doing well, but you could also see yourself go unsold in the mega auction if you endure a forgettable season. We look at players who, this season, have jeopardized their chances of landing a bid.
Tom Curran - Over the past 12 months, the Tom Curran hype train has died with every game the right-armer has played and he is currently arguably extremely lucky to still have a contract. IPL 2021 provided a chance at salvation, particularly with him starting due to the initial absence of Rabada, but Curran blew it. Unless he bowls England to victory in the WT20, there is no way that the elder Curran is getting an IPL contract next year.
Lukman Meriwala - No bowler should be judged on the basis of one match but such is the cut-throat nature of the IPL. After 8 years of busting his backside in domestic cricket, Meriwala finally got his opportunity in the IPL this season and well, let’s say he didn’t make the most of it. Delhi took a punt on him, but it’s hard to see any franchise gambling again on a 30-year-old who plays little to no top-level cricket. Particularly when there are a plethora of young fast bowlers waiting to take the tournament by storm.
Dhawal Kulkarni - Dhawal Kulkarni was lucky to be retained by MI ahead of IPL 2021 but one does get a feeling that his time in a competition like the IPL has all but come to an end. A 32-year-old right-arm medium pacer with no variations is a red flag for franchises, and in the one game he played this season, the Mumbaikar did little to prove that he deserved a contract - 48 runs was what he conceded off his 4 overs, picking no wickets.
Jimmy Neesham -After an extremely underwhelming IPL 2020 campaign, Neesham, again, was lucky to have gotten purchased in the 2021 auction, but the Kiwi has thus far done nothing of note to show that he belongs to this level. 0/26 (2) and a golden duck was his returns in IPL 2021, and at no point did he inspire confidence, or bring the aura that an overseas player is supposed to.
Marco Jansen - Young Marco Jansen showed great mental fortitude in both the matches he played in IPL 2021, but it was evident that the 21-year-old was not ready to play at the highest level. There were glimpses of brilliance in the 36 balls he bowled in IPL 2021, but he simply did not showcase the x-factor that an overseas seamer is supposed to bring to the table. Will teams be willing to punt on him next season, on the back of what he showed them in IPL 2021? Highly unlikely.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Kane Richardson - Like Neesham, Richardson was lucky to have been retained by RCB, but in the one game he played, the Aussie, again, did little to show the world that he’s worthy of an IPL contract. Historically an underperformer in the IPL, Richardson needed a stellar 2021 to assure himself a contract for next season, but playing in IPL 2022 seems like a distant dream for the South Australian seamer.
Dan Christian - “Can he do it in the IPL?” was what people asked after Christian had torn the Vitality Blast and BBL apart and well, the Aussie veteran’s performances cried ‘NO’. He was impotent with the ball and in the three times he batted, he uhhhhhh…. scored 1 run. One could argue that he is being judged far too early and far too harshly, but the competition is such that you simply cannot afford to fail three times in a row, particularly when you have no credits in the bank.
Virat Singh - A prolific run-getter in the domestic circuit for Jharkhand, Virat Singh looked out of his own depth in IPL 2021. He just did not fail but did so in the most damning manner imaginable. One cannot help but think that, with his showing in IPL 2021, Virat Singh destroyed his chances of getting picked in the Mega Auction.
Shahbaz Nadeem - For the past four seasons, Nadeem has been riding on reputation, with his performances ranging from ordinary to unacceptable. Veteran cricketers are generally valued for their consistency but Nadeem, since his move to SRH, has been an embodiment of inconsistency. One game was all he played in IPL 2021, and in that he leaked 36 runs on a sluggish Chennai wicket conducive to spin. Given that he cannot hold a bat, it is hard to imagine teams going after the veteran in the auction.
Kedar Jadhav - It was a miracle that Jadhav managed to land an IPL contract in 2021, following a disastrous 2020, but one can assert with authority that history won’t be repeating itself next year. Jadhav had a chance at redemption and he blew it - to a point of no return.
Mujeeb ur Rahman - Four seasons on, Mujeeb has continued to look like a misfit in the IPL, and that he played only one game this season has done no good to his cause. 19 wickets in 19 games at an ER of 8.18 from an overseas bowler is by no means impressive, and it’s Mujeeb’s brand that has forced teams to go after him. Things might change in IPL 2022, and it could very well be possible that Mujeeb could see himself go unsold.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Sunil Narine - Sunil Narine was once the best bowler in the world, but then his bowling became average after he remodelled his action. At that time, though, he reinvented himself by taking his batting to the next level. Now Narine is not just a very average bowler, but also someone who has forgotten how to hold the bat. KKR not retaining or RTM-ing him is inevitable, but it wouldn’t be far-fetched to imagine that no side would be willing to go after him. Particularly given the fact that he always carries the threat of being called for a suspect action.
Manan Vohra - After spending the entirety of IPL 2020 on the bench, RR gave Vohra an extended run this season, and he did, unfortunately, look like someone who couldn’t adjust to international quality bowling after spending years playing in the plate division. There is no paucity of openers or top-order batters in Indian cricket, so it is fair to say that, for the time being, Vohra can kiss goodbye to his IPL ambitions.
Shreyas Gopal - The fact that we even contemplated including Gopal in this list should tell you how far he’s fallen. IPL 2020 was passed off as a ‘bad season’, but in IPL 2021, Gopal, worryingly, looked like the most ordinary spinner in the entire league. Leggies are only valuable if they bowl well and currently, Gopal is nowhere near where he was two years ago. Purely merit wise, it is hard to see any franchise going after Gopal in the mega-auction after what he’s shown over the last two years.
Jalaj Saxena - After a 13-year wait, Jalaj Saxena FINALLY played his first game in the IPL earlier this season, and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that it could very well be his last. He did okay, bowling tidy lines with a wet ball defending 196 at the Wankhede, but here’s the thing - in a tournament like the IPL, particularly when you’re a veteran in the twilight of your career, ‘okay’ simply will not cut it. Hard to imagine teams willing to buy a bits-and-pieces T20 cricketer who will be 35 by the time IPL 2022 will start.
Fabian Allen - If you’re an overseas player in the IPL, you need to be more than just a very good bits-and-pieces player. But Fabian Allen, currently, is just that. His bowling is not good enough for him to warrant a place in the starting XI, nor is his batting explosive or consistent enough for him to be batting in the Top 6. Again, he had his chances and he blew it.
Moises Henriques - Moises Henriques’ bowling has always been handy, but he needed to convince the world that his batting was still good enough for him to break into teams as a middle-order overseas batsman. Unfortunately, in IPL 2021, he did not do that. An average of 8.00 and a SR of 80.00 is precisely why he might go unsold, come the mega auction.
Chennai Super Kings
CSK playing a near-unchanged XI in all games meant that none of their fringe players even got the opportunity to play, let alone fail. However, it could be said that the trio of Cheteshwar Pujara, Karn Sharma and Mitchell Santner might find it difficult to land a contract in the mega auction. While Pujara was ‘honoured’ and not bought for actually being a good T20 batsman, Karn’s stocks have been plummeting with every passing season. Santner, meanwhile, might realistically struggle to invite bids for the simple fact that he is an overseas spinner who is not a big hitter or a reliable batter.