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IPL 2023 Auction Action: Dominance of Jammu & Kashmir

November 30, 2021, was a red letter day for Jammu & Kashmir as Sunrisers Hyderabad decided to retain Abdul Samad and Umran Malik ahead of the 2022 IPL mega auction. If Samad caught everyone’s attention with his big hits in the edition preceding the auction, it was Umran’s pace that set the stage on fire. 2022 turned out to be a dream year for speedster Umran as he went on to make his debut for India in white-ball formats. For Samad, however, it wasn’t an ideal stint in the IPL but he managed to keep the faith of the SRH management and was retained ahead of the IPL 2023 mini-auctions.

A few other cricketers from the valley, like Rasikh Islam and Parvez Rasool, also had stints in the IPL but it was Samad’s outing with SRH and then Umran’s exploits with the ball which put their talent on notice. In no time, the IPL scouts started digging deep to unearth raw talent from Jammu & Kashmir and more and more names started appearing in the auction pool.

From 10 names in the 2022 auction list, it has swelled to a healthy 21 for this year’s mini-auction. It is the biggest number and Karnataka, UP, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi are a distant second with 16 names each in the shortlist of 405.

Plenty of J&K cricketers appeared in IPL trials this year and Delhi Capitals even held a scouting camp in Kashmir in August. The players who impressed the DC scouts were later summoned for the main trials in October.

The J&K shortlist for the auction is dominated by fast bowlers as the list features as many as 14 quicks. Most of the seamers in the list have attended multiple trials and the likes of Basit Bashir and Sharukh Dar have already served as net bowlers for Punjab Kings and SRH respectively in the previous edition.

Batters and all-rounders in the mix

Two white ball tournaments – Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and Vijay Hazare Trophy – gave IPL scouts enough database to work around and exceptional performances in both formats have helped players make the cut.

Shubham Khajuria, who was very impressive in both tournaments, attended a lot of trials and is likely to attract a bid for his exploits at top of the order. The very talented 23-year-old Vivrant Sharma too is an attractive package as the top-order southpaw can also bowl effective leg spin.

For his all-round abilities, Abid Mushtaq, the left-arm spinner who can hit big, has already attracted interest from more than one franchise.

J&K representation likely to go up in the 2023 edition

An increase in J&K players playing the IPL is very likely for the upcoming edition as almost all top teams are on the lookout for cheap domestic fast bowlers. Defending champions Gujarat Titans are certainly looking for one and the same was revealed by coach Ashish Nehra after the franchise’s trials.

“Even if you win, still you make a few changes as per needs. We might need a fast bowler. In a small auction, you make changes as per requirements. We are no different,” Nehra told reporters.

It is learned that many J&K seamers in the auction pool attended GT trials. Another team that could look towards domestic fast bowlers is Mumbai Indians. The IPL giants have released the likes of Basil Thampi and Jaydev Unadkat and would look to beef up their seam bowling to give cushion to Jasprit Bumrah, Jofra Archer, and Jason Behrendorff.

The auction room follows no set pattern and it’s likely to be more of the same on December 23 in Kochi. On a day where demand and supply curves take everyone on a rollercoaster ride, cricketers from J&K would hope the paddle goes up, at least once, before the auctioneer’s hammer crashes into the podium.

J&K players in the auction list: Shubham Khajuria, Vivrant Sharma, Mujtaba Yousuf, Abid Mushtaq, Yudhvir Charak, Basit Bashir, Rasikh Dar, Waseem Khanday, Avinash Singh, Aman Sharma, Fazil Makaya, Ateev Saini, Shahrukh Dar, Lone Muzaffar, Auqib Dar, Asad Jamil Ahmed, Aashish Bhatt, Gourav Koul, Rajeev Singh, Mohd. Wasim, Sampark Gupta.

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