The IPL 2024 auctions is set to be the biggest ever auction in the history of the league. A total of 1166 players have registered their names to take part in thr auctions, which is the highest in a single edition of the league. To think that the auctions for the 2024 season would be a mini-affair and has received more names than for the mega auctions in the past tells how much attention the league gets and how badly the players want to take part in it. Wanindu Hasaranga has been a star in such a league.
In many such leagues, the Sri Lankan cricketer is in huge demand. In the Lankan Premier League 2023, Hasaranga was both the leading run scorer and the leading wicket taker of the tournament and won the cup for his team as a captain. After the league, Hasaranga has not had a good time in cricket. The star cricketer sustained an injury, which needs a surgery. Hasaranga underwent the surgery and is waiting fopr recovery. It was probably the reason behind RCB releasing him ahead of the IPL auctions 2024.
Here are 5 teams that can target the Sri Lankan in the IPL auctions 2024.
5. Punjab Kings
Punjab Kings have not had a good season for a long time in the IPL. 2014 was the last season where they qualified for the playoffs of a season. it was their best season without a doubt, as it was the only instance of them reaching the final of an IPL season. Since then, they have not been able to qualify even for the playoffs of a season. The North-Indian franchise woukd be looking to turn the things around this time and they probably badly need a turnaround in the IPL to stay relevant.
Ahead of the IPL 2024, PBKS lack a quality spinner apart from Rahul Chahar. Liam Livingstone is a good option for part-time bowling. But Hasaranga can provide stability with bowling. In the last 3 seasons, PBKS have struggled in picking wickets in the middle overs. The Sri Lankan cricketer can solve the problem with his bowling. If they maange to get him, it would be a game-changing moment, as Hasaranga can be trusted to deliver even when he is not totally fit to play.
4. Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers Hyderabad was one of the best franchises in the IPL in the 2010s. Ever since they were formed in 2013, they had an incredible growth. For 6 seasons in a row from 2015 to 2020, SRH qualified for the palyoffs in every season. In 2016, SRH won their maiden and only title to date by beating RCB in their own backyard. In 2018, SRH made it to the final of the season. In 4 other seasons, they made it to the playoffs. Since then, SRH have not performed well as a team.
In the previous season, SRH did not have a great season. the South-Indian franchise had to sustain the wooden spoon, by ending the tournament at the last spot. The major problem in their lineup was their bowling. Many of their key bowlers struggled with their bowling in the IPL 2023. Barring Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mayank Markande, other bowlers blew hot and cold. Hasaranga's presence in the bowling attack can make them a potent attack. His bowling suits the conditions at Uppal stadium in Hyderabad.
3. Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings is easily among the two best sides in the history of the league. Along with Mumbai Indians, the South-Indian franchise has the most number of title wins in the history of the league. Both CSK and MI are the teams to have won 5 titles in the league. CSK is particularly known for backing their players to do the job. Not just that, they pick the players who can suit well to their playing culture. CSK mostly look for spinners who can contribute well by playing in Chennai.
Wanindu is a tailor-made spinner for playing in Chennai-like conditions. The surface is dry and slow more often than not and assists the spinners well. Hasaranga with his abilities to turn the ball either ways can be handy in condistions that favor his style of bolwing. The Sri Lankan can be useful with the bat as well, although the impact player rule has reduced the reliance on All-rounders. CSK might look to get a world class performer in their lineup, who can play for them for a long time.
2. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore has the history of going behind the big names. Hasaranga is one of the big names in league cricket currently. In T20s, Hasaranga is a bankable player and can be trusted to perform well for a long time. For the same reason, RCB picked him in 2021. In the second half of the season, RCB got hold of Hasaranga. even after the Sri Lankan went back to auctions, RCN showed interest in him and got him for a huge price of INR 10.5 crores in 2022.
It marked the end of RCB's association with Yuzvendra Chahal, who was a consistent performer for RCB over the years. But Hsaranga more than compensated for it with his sensational performance in 2022, where he was the leading wicket taker for RCB. In 2023, Hasaranga was not that good for RCB. Due to his injury, RCB decided to leave him. But in the auction, if Hasaranga does not get a high bid, RCB might well target him to get back at a lower price, which would be great for them.
1. Mumbai Indians
Mumbai Indians is among the two best franchises in the history of the Indian Premier league. Along with Chennai Super Kings, the Mumbai-based franchise has the most number of title wins in the history of the league. Both CSK and MI are the teams to have won 5 titles in the league. MI in particular is known for making stars from their rigorous talent scouting. Although Hasaranga is an established star, Mumbai would be looking to get him in their squad for one major reason.
The 5-time champions do not have a quality spinner in their squad. the only spinner who can deliver for them consistently in Piyush Chawla. Unfortunately, Chawla is not a fit athlete and cost MI a lot in the IPL 2023 as a fielder. Chawal is still a very good bowler and might probably be used as an impact player by MI. But they still need someone to help him in the middle overs. Hasaranga might just be the right bowler for the role. Mumbai might actually be ready to get him at any cost.