The IPL auction for the 2024 edition is hours away as the teams outline their strategies for what could be an intense day of bidding. The IPL 2024 auction is set to take place in Dubai on December 19th. Some renowned overseas players such as Mitchell Starc, Wanindu Hasaranga, Travis Head, Harry Brook and some of the best-emerging talents from India will go under the hammer on Tuesday.
The teams have retained most of their squads ahead of the auction and will be looking to address their weak spots. This being a mini-auction, there will be high demand for top-quality players.
Talking about the opening batters, most of the IPL teams have their top order sorted but there will still be good interest for overseas players. Let's take a look at five overseas openers to watch out for in the IPL auction.
Young openers who could be in demand in the IPL auction
The hard-hitting England opening batter has just smashed a century in the third T20I against West Indies and will be amongst the players to watch out for. Phil Salt hammered an unbeaten 109 off 56 as England chased down 223 with seven wickets and a ball to spare.
The 27-year-old is one of the destructive batters in the T20 arena but could not do much in the IPL. Salt played nine games for Delhi Capitals in the IPL 2023 and batted at three different positions. At opening, he made 184 runs from six innings at a strike rate of 168 with two half-centuries. While these are not bad numbers, Delhi opted to release him as they have several top-order options on the side.
Along with being a destructive opener who can take down extreme pace, Salt also offers dual value with his wicket-keeping. Recent form plays a huge part in players getting big bucks at the auction. Teams like Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Titans could go for him.
If any player is coming into this auction with real hype around him, it is Travis Head. He last played in the IPL in 2017, when he represented Royal Challengers Bangalore. He played 10 matches across two seasons and made 205 runs at an average of 29 while striking at 138.
Head is enjoying the best phase of his career in the last couple of years, scoring runs for fun across three formats and in different conditions. Since 2022, the left-hand batter has scored over 1500 runs in the longer format at an average of 48 and a strike rate of 78. In this same period, Head has smashed 1120 runs in ODIs at a strike rate of 122 while averaging 59. He has played a pivotal role in Australia winning two ICC trophies, scoring centuries against India in both the WTC and ODI World Cup finals.
Head has played six innings in T20Is this year, scoring 209 runs at 35 average and 175 strike rate. With such form on his side, he's likely to attract good bids as one of the top overseas openers in the IPL auction.
The India-born New Zealand player Rachin Ravindra was more famous for his name than his game but he changed that during the ODI World Cup. The left-hand batter had an incredible campaign in India, scoring 578 runs at an average of 64 and a strike rate of 106.
Ravindra hit three centuries in the tournament, setting a new record for the most centuries by a New Zealand player in World Cup tournaments. His ability to pick lengths early and power to smash spin impressed one and all.
Apart from his batting, Rachin Ravindra can also offer a decent left-arm spin bowling option. With such a dual skill set, the 23-year-old could be amongst the most sought-after players in the IPL auction. Ravindra doesn't have great numbers in the shorter format but on potential, there's a good value to invest in him.
Harry Brook came into the last IPL auction with a huge demand and teams went hard after him. Sunrisers Hyderabad ended up picking him for a whopping price of INR 13.25 crore. Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore fought for him early before the Sunrisers went to a bidding war against Rajasthan.
Brook had an awful campaign as he struggled to adjust to the demands of middle-order batting and Indian pitches. Sunrisers later moved him to the top of the order, where he scored a century off 55 balls against Kolkata Knight Riders. But that was the only notable performance for him as he finished the season with 190 runs in 11 games. He was released ahead of this auction.
The England batter has continued his rise in international cricket and this being his second season, teams could put faith in him again. Brook again showed his calibre recently, when he hammered 31 not out in just seven balls to help England chase down 223 against West Indies. Brook's potential and form means one of the IPL teams could pick him and open with him.
Josh Inglis is perhaps the most proven T20 player on this list and also the most underrated. He provides great versatility as he is equally good at opening and in the middle order. On top of that, he is also a wicket-keeper.
Inglis has never played in the IPL but his recent showing in the World Cup and subsequent T20I series against India could have garnered some interest from the franchises. Inglis was excellent in the first T20I at Visakhapatnam, where he smashed 110 off just 50 deliveries coming at number three. IPL franchises generally take notice of the players who do well against India.
If we look at Inglis' overall T20 record, he has great numbers in the middle order as well as while opening. He has opened the innings in T20 cricket on 48 occasions and has smashed 1370 runs, averaging 31 at a strike rate of 152. He has two hundreds and nine fifties while opening the innings.