Post T20 win Down Under, SL stock likely to soar at auction
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Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke may be the two marquee names ahead of the IPL 2013 auctions on Sunday, but as previous years suggest, the biggest gainers might come from the 99 other players up for grabs. The Sri Lankans, who shone bright in their recent T20 engagements against Australia, top the chart in this category. Thisara Perera had been released by the Mumbai Indians in November, his inability to bowl at the death a touted reason. But the all-rounder contributed handsomely with both bat and ball in the 2-0 series win Down Under. In the second match in Melbourne, Perera held his nerve against Glenn Maxwell, when four runs were needed off the final ball.
Another Sri Lankan who could do well is the 22-year old Kushal Perera. While Perera, who made his international T20 debut in the last series, didn't get that one big score -- with knocks of 33 and 15, he impressed with the way he played the Australian fast bowlers. Some IPL teams are still not sure about their opening combinations and Perera's ability to get into the groove from the very beginning might attract them.
Time to reap Ranji rewards
The auction could see the re-emergence of Abhishek Nayar, who had been released by Kings XI Punjab after a poor season last time around. The Mumbai all-rounder was prolific in the team's victorious Ranji Trophy campaign, finishing as the second highest run-scorer in the tournament. According to a source, Pune Warriors are ready to walk the extra mile to have him on board. Nayar was bought for $800,000 by the Punjab franchise last season. He will be entering the auction with a reserve price of $100,000 this time.
And of course, there is plenty of interest for the two marquee players as well. New entrant Sunrisers Hyderabad are going into the auction with a kitty of $7 million and might be in pole position to land the Australian duo, despite the fact they are not quite the T20 specialists. Clarke retired from international T20 cricket two years back while Ponting retired from all forms of cricket last November. Ponting's tenuous link to the IPL is a four-match stint with the Kolkata Knight Riders during the inaugural season. But this time, along with Clarke, he has attracted the highest base price of $400,000 and the Hyderabad team management believes his experience might come in handy. "We have some big international players like Dale Steyn, Kumar Sangakkara and Cameron White. But Ponting is someone we are seriously looking at. Clarke too is on our radar," Sunrisers mentor Krishnamachari Srikkanth told The Sunday Express. "This is our first season and we want to make our presence felt," he added.