The IPL 2021 auction is all set to take place on the 18th of February and one of the most prominent names mentioned is Australia's Jhye Richardson. About a month ago, the retained players from all eight IPL teams were made public and as always, there were some surprises here and there.
Sunrisers Hyderbad didn't feel like changing too much as the Orange Army have only 3 slots to fill. Royal Challengers Banglore, quite characteristically, need to fill a whopping 13 slots, with around Rs. 35.9 Cr. in their salary cap.
Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings, and Rajasthan Royals have to fill 6, 7, and 8 slots respectively while the champions, Mumbai Indians, have 8 slots to suffuse. Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab have to plug 8 and 9 slots respectively.
Possible destinations for Jhye Richardson in the IPL
There is going to be a huge talent pool to choose from and Jhye Richardson is going to be at the top of many teams' lists after his exploits in the Big Bash League. He was the highest wicket-taker in the league with 29 as he led Perth Scorchers to the final. Here are a few teams who should fight tooth and nail to get the 24-year-old Richardson in the IPL auction.
#3 Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals have implemented one huge change in the team, with Sanju Samson replacing a departing Steve Smith as captain. This has opened up an overseas slot for the Royals to go out and fill. In addition to that, they need to plug some of the gaps in their starting XI.
Besides Jofra Archer, RR lack potency in their fast bowling department. Although Kartik Tyagi is a highly rated prospect, he is still young and will blow hot and cold. Getting someone like Jhye Richardson to accompany Archer in the opening as well as the death overs would increase the quality of their bowling department by tenfold. If they don't want to end another season in the bottom half of the IPL table, they need to bring in some quality fast bowlers.
#2 Royal Challengers Bangalore
It is not possible to not name Royal Challengers Bangalore as a potential destination for any quality fast bowler before the IPL auction. Virat Kohli is still searching for an overseas fast bowler to bank on and with Chris Morris released, RCB need to get it right on the 18th of February.
Richardson is probably one of the best bowlers available on the market and although he will take some time to acclimatize to the Chinnaswamy Stadium, he should be looked at by the team management as a long term buy. Only 24 years old, this won't be Richardson's last IPL and he might just be the man to ease RCB's bowling blues and lead them to an IPL title.
#1 Mumbai Indians
The reigning IPL champions, Mumbai Indians, are a fearsome unit, to say the least. They seem to have all the profiles a T20 cricket team would wish to have but going into the auction, they have a gap to fill. Rohit Sharma and MI's team management love to go with three fast bowlers in the starting XI. With Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattison released, they will be searching for a good overseas fast bowler to accompany Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult.
If they somehow manage to get their hands on Jhye Richardson, MI would become even stronger than they already are. The Wankhede Stadium's red soil always has something for the quicksters and Richardson would enjoy bowling on the surface.
It might come down to the auction price at the end of the day, but one thing is for sure, Richardson will be a hot property in the upcoming IPL auction.