Jonny Bairstow, the swashbuckling English wicketkeeper-batter, was released by Sunrisers Hyderabad ahead of the IPL 2022 mega-auction. With squads undergoing major transitions and franchises having enough funds to splurge on players of their choice, Bairstow is set to be one of the hot picks at the auction.
Jonny Bairstow was a vital player for SRH after joining them in 2019. He played a crucial role at the top of the order with fellow opener David Warner, manufacturing numerous wins for them.
The 32-year old has also built a reputation for himself as a flamboyant and strokeful batter, setting up many victories for England with his immaculate batsmanship.
Here are the top three franchises who would be keenly looking forward to securing the services of the wicketkeeper-batter for the 15th season of the Indian Premier League:
#1 An extended run for Jonny Bairstow with Sunrisers Hyderabad?
Jonny Bairstow was a key player for Sunrisers Hyderabad, laying a strong foundation for the 2016 IPL champions. Bairstow played 28 matches for SRH, scoring 1038 runs at an average of 41.52 and a strike rate of 142.19. He was also a dependable gloveman, with 18 catches and four stumpings to his name.
The keeper-batter was one of the few silver linings for the Orange Army in the 2021 IPL season. Bairstow, who was only a part of the first leg of the season, scored 248 runs in seven matches at an average of 41.33 and a strike rate of 141.71.
With form as well as records on his side, SRH could think of getting Jonny Bairstow on board once again. With David Warner's absence, the Englishman could perhaps become the most important batter for the Hyderabad-based franchise.
#2 Kolkata Knight Riders
The Kolkata Knight Riders had a rollercoaster season, finishing as runner-up after staring at elimination post the first leg of the tournament. While the team managed to steer their way to the final, they were far from a well-oiled machinery.
The fortunes of the team were carried majorly by the likes of Venkatesh Iyer, Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, who have all been rewarded in the form of retention.
With promising Indian opener Shubhman Gill released and bids for Dinesh Karthik looking highly unlikely, Bairstow could play a dual role for KKR. The two-time IPL champions have always relied on their spin bowling to tackle the opposition and thus need a dependable gloveman to make the most of the chances created by their spinners.
In addition, Bairstow has the capability to play at the top as well as the middle order, which makes him an interesting option for the franchise even if they move in for Gill again.
#3 Punjab Kings
Punjab Kings will be entering the auction with quite a few unanswered questions after having released their core set of players.
Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh are the only players retained by them. So they will be looking to add some skill and experience to their squad in search of their first-ever IPL title.
Since the last mega auction in 2018, Punjab have followed the template of going all guns blazing for top-order batters. KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal played a crucial role for them over the last three seasons. But with a high probability of Rahul being bought by one of the new franchises, Kings are in dire need of a dependable opener and keeper-batter.
Bairstow could prove to be the match-winner they are searching for, with his performances in front of as well as behind the stumps. The 32-year old can step into the role of an aggressor and can also anchor an innings, which is something that Punjab will be looking for in KL Rahul's absence.