IPL 2022 mega auction is likely to see most players shifting their base to a new IPL franchise. Due to the IPL retention policy of retaining a maximum of five players including Right To Match (RTM), a lot of teams will have to look for other available options at a reduced auction price. A tricky scenario could occur with Mumbai Indians (MI) who will have to bid adieu to the likes of Ishan Kishan, and Krunal Pandya in the 2022 IPL auction.
While it will be their great fortune if MI is able to win back their seasoned players, it looks highly unlikely given the dynamics of the IPL auction. Krunal Pandya, who debuted for Mumbai in IPL 2016, has been a formidable part of MI's setup ever since. However, in IPL 2022, the senior Pandya might be forced to play for a new IPL franchise due to the mega auction. It is no doubt that a lot of franchises will go after the all-rounder considering his all-around prowess as a T20 player. Most teams looking for an Indian all-rounder capable of batting at No.7, will be eyeing to go after Krunal Pandya at the 2022 IPL mega auction.
Here's a look at 3 teams who might target Krunal Pandya in IPL 2022 mega auction:
1. Punjab Kings
Punjab Kings is one such franchise that has failed to figure their best playing XI at the start of an IPL season on most occasions. Even in the first half of IPL 2021, the Kings faltered to find a correct balance in the team combination. Punjab's main concern was the lack of an Indian all-rounder who could chip in with a few overs and can contribute with meaty blows in the lower order.
At the IPL 2022 mega auction Punjab could target going after Krunal Pandya as someone who can fulfill the role of an all-rounder in the lower middle-order. The left-handed batter has been instrumental in doing that role for MI for a lot of years now. Punjab would have enough data to trust the southpaw for what he has achieved through all these years in the IPL as a prolific player for Mumbai Indians.
2. Kolkata Knight Riders
An Indian all-rounder is always a luxury to have in an IPL playing XI. However, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) haven't had such a player for quite some time in their IPL squad. KKR's glorious years in 2012 and 2014 saw them rely upon Sunil Narine, who was at the peak of the powers, both with bat and ball.
However, in the last few years, due to his suspicious bowling action, Narine has failed to produce a similar impact with the ball in hand. Even Shakib Al-Hasan, who was trusted to deliver in IPL 2021, couldn't produce a great performance in 2021. As a result, KKR could really be one of those teams who could go after Krunal Pandya in the IPL 2022 auction. The 30-year all-rounder can offer stability in the middle-order and has the potential to play a decisive role in winning the match for his side.
3. Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad's struggles were quite evident in the initial phase of the 2021 IPL. The team didn't do well and the lack of depth in their IPL squad was exposed at an early stage in the tournament. The backup players couldn't match up with the standards of the opponents as the team discovered a losing streak in the season. While it was their batting that let the team down, even the standout bowlers couldn't respond well under pressure situations.
In the 2022 IPL mega auction, SRH can target someone like Krunal Pandya who has enough experience to play walloping innings in the lower middle-order. Pandya – the bowler can be used at various stages of the match too. He can bowl the tough overs in the powerplay and can go for wickets in the middle-overs. Hyderabad might face a bidding war from the likes of KKR and PBKS, going after the star MI all-rounder.