The IPL auction is scheduled to be held in December, and the teams have started their preparations for the next season by announcing the list of players released and those retained. A few of the big names to be released are Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Jaydev Unadkat.
Most of these players are likely to attract huge bids at the auction, and some of the new players like Shimron Hetmyer and Oshane Thomas could have a good time as well.
Last season, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad made the best possible decisions when they decided to sign Ambati Rayudu and Kane Williamson respectively. Both of these batsmen were bought for a lesser price than they deserved and outperformed everyone else.
Here are three players who can become steals at this year's auction, just like Rayudu and Williamson were in 2018:
#3 Fawad Ahmed
Not a lot of people know about Fawad Ahmed, the Australian leg spinner. A T20 specialist, Ahmed has been in the domestic circuit for eight years and made his first major appearance for the Melbourne Renegades in the 2013 Big Bash League.
He has had a great year in 2018, and was even slated to get a chance in the recently concluded T20I series against India which Adam Zampa's excellent performance denied.
Ahmed's mystery element and price at the auction can lure some bids for him, but it is likely that most teams will fail to see the immense wicket-taking ability he has. The 36-year-old has picked up 29 T20 wickets in 18 matches this year with an exceptional economy rate of 6.21 and an unbelievable average of 14.79.
Relatively unknown in the subcontinent, Ahmed can be an alternative to a pricey leg spinner like Zampa or Rashid.
#2 Travis Head
Travis Head played a major role in the Adelaide Strikers' triumph in the Big Bash League. The Aussie batsman, who bowls part time off spin too, was their captain and had a great time in the tournament.
Head went unsold in the 2018 IPL auction but has a decent chance of getting into a team this year. He didn't have a great IPL season when he played for the RCB in 2017, but has matured into a capable batsman against both pace and spin.
Head's failures in the subcontinent might limit teams from bidding for him, but he can be a great asset if the IPL is shifted elsewhere. While players like Maxwell, Hetmyer and Finch all set to attract huge bids, Head can be a budget signing who can play consistently for the team.
A big hitter and a clean striker of the ball, Head can anchor the innings as well and has been a good batsman for the Aussie ODI team. Although the national selectors prefer D'Arcy Short in the T20 format, Head has a lot of experience playing for Australia.
In 2018, he has scored 531 runs in 16 innings, averaging a brilliant 44.25 with a decent strike rate of 136.80.
#1 Cameron Delport
The Proteas batsman hasn't played a single game for his country, but is a highly sought after T20 player. He was part of the KKR team last season but didn't get a chance to play.
Delport has played in many T20 leagues around the world, and possesses a ton of experience. His attacking mindset and big hitting abilities have made him a regular feature in several T20 teams, and he even played for the Pakhtoons in the T10 League.
With possibilities of the IPL being shifted to South Africa, Delport would be a great option and a cheaper alternative to someone like Finch or Jason Roy. The opener can bowl left arm medium pace as well and has picked up 46 wickets in his T20 career.
He scored 73 in the only game he played for the Rocks in the Mzanzi Super League, and his signing might do the trick for the team which gets him.