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2018 IPL Auction: Top five most valuable players available

Marcus Stoinis can perform endless roles within a T20 team.
Marcus Stoinis can perform endless roles within a T20 team.
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The 2018 IPL auction takes place this weekend and Jamie Pacheco tells us why Joe Root and Aaron Finch top his list of must-buy players. But who are the others?

"Not every T20 batsman needs to be looking to clear the boundary every ball. For every Chris Gayle or Chris Lynn for whom it's pretty much either boundary or dot ball, there needs to be a steady accumulator of runs. Someone who bats at three, finds the gaps, runs hard, builds an innings, punishes the bad balls and accelerates at the end."

Over the weekend the IPL auction takes place and just about every big name in T20 cricket is up for grabs. Below are the five available players that any one of the IPL sides would best be advised to purchase. But before we start, a few ground rules affecting the list.

1.The following players aren't on the list as they were retained by their IPL teams. MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Sarfaraz Khan, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Rishabh Pant, Chris Morris, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Steven Smith.

2.Pakistani players aren't included as they're not allowed to play in the IPL for security reasons.

3.Even though players have very different reserve prices, for the purpose of this list we're assuming money is of no concern, After all, even if the player's former side can't afford them because they've exhausted their budget on other players, another franchise can.


Ben Stokes

Few players in world cricket have had as many highs and lows in their career as Ben Stokes. On the pitch he's mixed swashbuckling counter-attacking centuries with mind-boggling catches and useful wickets. But he also cost England a T20 World Cup with that fateful last over against the Windies in 2016 and was unable to help his side in this year's Ashes after being arrested for his involvement in a street fight.

But for the most part, when he plays he's brilliant and given he's such an explosive player, this is arguably his best format. It says a thing or two about him that after many questioned his price in last year's auction, the most expensive player ever, he went on to be voted Player of the Tournament as Pune made the final. Had he played the final (he had to return home for England duty) they may well have won it.

First and foremost a batsman, then a brilliant fielder, then a useful bowler, he adds balance to any team. The Rajasthan Royals, who have the biggest budget available, won't be 8/1 anymore if they snap him up.

Rashid Khan

Khan featured in last year's edition of the IPL for the Hyderabad Sunrisers and was good enough but after that experience and a brilliant debut season in the Big Bash League where he's currently the highest wicket-taker in the competition with 17 wickets, he'll be even better this time round.

The Afghani star is wise beyond his years in terms of variations of pace and length and could well be the bowler in T20 cricket that batsmen least want to face. His career economy rate of 5.8 runs an over is barely believable. He can also clear the boundary batting at 6-8 and fields in key positions. 9/2 shots Bangalore, who are always an ace bowler light, would be advised to splash the cash on him.


Aaron Finch

For the past two seasons, Pune mucked him around, batting him as an opener one day and as a number 4 or 5 on another day. That was because they had too many opening batters in the side and weren't sure what to do. Despite that, he played pretty well.

But if you buy Finch, you have to bat him in his favoured position as an opener. It's batting there that has seen him score the vast majority of his four centuries and 54 fifties in T20 cricket. He once scored 156 against England. No wonder he's ranked the Number Two T20 batsman in the world.

A brutal exponent of the drive, pull and hook, he can get his side off to super-quick starts and is an agile fielder as well.

Delhi or Punjab, both 12/1, may consider bringing him so he can also captain the side.


Joe Root

Not every T20 batsman needs to be looking to clear the boundary every ball. For every Chris Gayle or Chris Lynn for whom it's pretty much either boundary or dot ball, there needs to be a steady accumulator of runs. Someone who bats at three, finds the gaps, runs hard, builds an innings, punishes the bad balls and accelerates at the end.

A few years ago Sachin Tendulkar scored five or six consecutive fifties for the Mumbai Indians without hitting a single six. So step forward Joe Root. With a strike rate of 125, he's no slouch and can hit big if he really needs to, although that's clearly not his game.

Ranked the Number Nine best batsman in this format and cool under pressure, he's yet to play in the IPL but was impressive in Indian conditions in that 2016 World Cup. He could be exactly what the 6/1 Kolkata Knight Riders are after.


Marcus Stoinis

There are versatile players and then there are versatile players. But few are as versatile as Melbourne Stars and Australia man Marcus Stoinis. He can open the bowling, bowl in the middle overs, bowl at the death. He can open the batting, he can bat in the middle order. He can do it all.

He once scored 146 not out batting at 7 in an ODI for Australia against New Zealand and came within seven runs of pulling off one of the most remarkable run chases in any format.

A good team man who will do whatever is asked of him by the skipper, a real horses-for-courses player who can be the glue in a team packed with specialist batsmen and bowlers. Like 9/2 shots Hyderabad.

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