Former West Indies captain and one of world’s premier all-rounders Jason Holder could well turn out to be one of the most expensive buys at this edition of Indian Premier League’s mega-auction with Royal Challengers Bangalore expected to bid heavily for him.
If sources privy to RCB’s auction strategy are to be believed, the franchise that has Virat Kohli, Glenn Maxwell and Mohammed Siraj in its ranks as retained players, are likely to bid up till Rs 12 crore because of his multiple skill-sets, which is a rarity in this format.
“Ben Stokes isn’t available, Hardik Pandya and Marcus Stoinis are taken. Mitchell Marsh you never know whether he can survive a full IPL with his injury prone career, Holder has been phenomenal if one looks at his record. RCB will like to go the distance as some others will also pitch in,” a source close to franchise told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
It is understood that RCB, who have Rs 57 crore in their auction purse are interested about three players including Holder, former CSK batter Ambati Rayudu and young ex-Rajasthan Royals turk Riyan Parag.
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“For Holder, they have reserved Rs 12 crore and another Rs 8 crore for Rayudu and Rs 7 crore for Parag. If they spend Rs 27 crore approximately on these players, they would have another Rs 28 crore left.
“The core with Kohli, Maxwell, Siraj, Holder, Rayudu and Parag will be set. Let’s hope they can get two out of preferred three,” the source said.
While the auction dynamic can’t be predicted, Holder’s emergence as a potent IPL auction star has happened, often the case with multi-skilled players where market determines the value.
“Chris Morris was a good cricketer but was he worth Rs 16 crore plus when he got that? Perhaps no but paucity of all-rounders made some franchises desperate.
“Same for Yuvraj Singh’s 15 crore by Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) back in 2015, when he was already well past his sell by date. It was brand plus market,” another senior official from a franchise said.
In case of Rayudu, his contribution to CSK’s success has been immense and Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s reliance on tried and tested performers could mean that the defending champions will do their bit to get Rayudu back.
He has enlisted as a keeper-batter for this auction and therefore the multi-dimensional skill-sets along with his experience make him a worthy candidate for big bucks.
Parag had a poor 2021 IPL after a good edition in 2020. He is a big hitter who also gives a bowling option with his tight off-breaks, making him a viable proposition.
The RCB is also looking at a potential captaincy candidate after Virat Kohli stepped down post last season. Whether they buy someone like Shreyas Iyer or request Kohli to do it for one more season is the question.
Speaking on Star Sports, former pacer Ajit Agarkar said: “If Virat Kohli can take over the captaincy and if he is happy to do it and if he has the energy to do it, I think that will be the easiest solution for them.
“At the end of the day, we have seen RCB over the years they haven’t invested enough money in making a proper team of 12, 13 or 14 players with enough depth.
“It’s always been dependent on the top three, not enough middle order players and if you don’t have the money, you can’t do that again. So, if you break the bank for one player, doesn’t matter how good he is – will win you games but will never win you competitions.”