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The IPL 2018 Player Auction had a very different feel this year as we saw teams come up with a fixed strategy of not shying away from spending big bucks on individual star players. Teams did not buy into the idea of T20 specialists, as well, which saw many marquee players go unsold at the IPL 2018 auction, giving way to the framing of an IPL 2018 Unsold Players XI.
The biggest name to not play in the IPL 2018 will be Lasith Malinga who had almost become a synonymous figure to Mumbai Indians and their IPL journey. Fortunately for Malinga, he is not the only marquee name left out by the IPL sides who will watch the extravaganza from their living rooms come next April and May.
With the IPL 2018 Player Auctions done and dusted, we take a look at the IPL 2018 Unsold Players XI, without keeping the mandate of featuring 4 foreign players in the starting XI, and instead we have put together the strongest set of players who have been left out of the IPL 2018.
IPL 2018 Unsold Players XI
We are yet to pinpoint the exact reason why Hashim Amla was not picked by any IPL franchise after the South African batsman amassed 420 runs and scored 2 centuries in the last season of Indian Premier League.
Contrary to the belief of being a slow batsman, Amla’s strike rate in IPL 2017 was close to 145 where he also averaged over 40. Despite his consistent performance in the limited overs cricket, Amla’s snub was very hard to explain but he at least finds a place in our IPL 2018 unsold players XI.
Opening alongside Amla in our IPL 2018 unsold players XI, we have picked the former Mumbai Indians batsman Lendl Simmons who has been a massive part of Mumbai’s IPL winning seasons in the past.
Simmons has scored 1079 runs in 29 IPL matches with a strike rate of over 130 wherein he had scored a century and 11 fifties. Despite these stunning numbers, Mumbai Indians opted to sign Ewin Lewis in the IPL 2018 auction and left Simmons out of the action for next season.
Alex Hales (Wicket Keeper)
More than Amla and Simmons, I was shocked to see no team put their trust in Alex Hales who is one of the cleanest hitters in world cricket right now. Hales has 4544 T20 runs to his name and that too at a strike-rate of 143.52.
No IPL side can boast of having two solid openers in their ranks which had made Hales a certain buy at the IPL 2018 auction but despite his base price of INR 1 Cr, Hales went unsold and instead found a place in our IPL 2018 unsold players XI.
I would not be exaggerating when I say that Shaun Marsh is an IPL legend in his own rights after playing some outstanding knocks for Kings XI Punjab. Marsh made a name for himself at IPL 2009 where he came midway of the tournament and finished with the Orange Cap.
Marsh has 2477 runs from 71 IPL games but his inconsistent display in last 12-18 months with the Australian T20 setup allowed teams to look beyond Marsh this season and left him unsold at the IPL 20187 Auction.
A lot was said and discussed when Joe Root put his name at the IPL 2018 Auction and vowed to be available for selection during the course of next season. However, given England’s dynamic cricket calendar IPL teams decided to not to take a punt on Joe Root as England’s test captain went unsold at the IPL auction.
Eoin Morgan (Captain)
Speaking of captains and one of the best T20 batsmen of the modern era, it was indeed another shock to see Eoin Morgan go unsold at this year’s IPL auction. Morgan has over 5000 T20 runs at a strike rate of 120 and is known to find boundaries at a rather consistent pace.
Morgan’s leadership was another attribute IPL teams may have considered at the auction but his INR 2 Cr base price did not attract any bids for him and left him to captain our IPL 2018 unsold players XI.
The Kiwi pacer is known to be one of the best T20 bowlers in the world right where he has made a habit of picking a wicket in his 1st and 4th over at the ongoing Big Bash T20 league. Mitchell McClenaghan can swing the ball both ways and is equally effective with his yorkers and slower balls.
McClenaghan played a crucial role in Mumbai Indians’ title-winning season in 2017 but no team made any bid for the Kiwi pacer which was nothing short of a surprise.
Currently ranked as ICC’s number three T20 bowler in the world, Ish Sodhi was not an attractive prospect for any IPL side despite his meager base price of INR 50 Lakhs. Sodhi is impeccable with his line and length and rarely goes wicketless in any of his spells. Sodhi’s exclusion was another sign of IPL sides going at the 2018 Auction with a set mindset and not deviate from their preferred targets.
The highest wicket-taker in IPL history, Lasith Malinga, was left unsold despite featuring twice at the IPL 2018 Auctions. No team was interested in signing the Sri Lankan bowler who has seen his stock fade away but the amount of experience and wicket he brings at the table, signing him would have been the obvious call for every IPL side but instead the Lankan great went unsold at the IPL auction.
Karnataka’s Sreenath Aravind enjoyed a breakthrough season in the IPL 2011 where he finished as the third highest wicket-taker with 21 scalps to his name. Since then, Aravind has been a regular performer for Karnataka and given the slow nature of 2-3 IPL venues, it would have been a fair call to sign Aravind.
Many openers at the IPL will breather a sigh of relief this year as Samuel Badree was left unsold at the IPL Auctions 2018. Badree is ranked 5th among the best T20I bowlers in the world and the best bowler when it comes to picking wickets in the powerplay. Badree’s poor fielding skills and virtually no batting prowess led all the teams to not bid for the leg-spinner but we may the West Indian play some part at IPL 2018 if any team decides to sign a quality leg spinner in middle of the tournament.