Indian Premier League 2019 Player Auction: After setting the second edition of T10 League on fire with a belligerent knock of unbeaten 74 off just 16 balls – Afghanistan’s Mohammad Shahzad has become a hot property world over in league cricket for his unimaginable exploits with the blade. In the opening match of the T10 League, Shahzad powered Rajputs to a 10-wicket victory over the Sindhis. Chasing a target of 95 to win in 10 overs, the burly Shahzad put up a show with the bat which will be remembered for the years to come. He not only made a mockery of the run chase but also stamped his authority in cricket’s shortest format. Also Read - Mohammed Shami Confident of Getting Reverse Swing Despite Saliva Ban in Cricket Due to COVID-19
The 30-year old Shahzad reached his fifty, off only 12 balls — becoming only the third player after Yuvraj Singh and Chris Gayle to achieve the feat. With decent international experience under his belt, the Afghan opener has once again knocked the door pretty hard ahead of IPL Player Auction, scheduled for next month. Despite an average base price of only ₹50 lakhs in 2018, the wicketkeeper-batsman found no takers last year as no franchise showed interest in him. Also Read - Fielding Coach R Sridhar Reveals Training Module For Virat Kohli-Led Team India, Says Sharpest Minds Will Take Six Weeks to Get Ready For Test Cricket
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With decent international experience under his belt, the Afghan opener has once again knocked the door pretty hard ahead of IPL Player Auction, scheduled for next month. Despite an average base price of only ₹50 lakhs in 2018, the wicetkeeper-batsman found no takers last year as no franchise showed interest in him.
But this time again just right before the IPL 2019 auction, Shahzad has once again presented a very strong case for himself. His innings for Rajputs in the T10 league opener came at a staggering strike rate of 462 and included 8 towering maximums. In this article, we take a look at three IPL franchises, who might show some interest in picking Shahzad in the upcoming auction next month.
1. Kolkata Knight Riders
Despite boasting off renowned power-hitters like Chris Lynn, Andre Russell, Robin Uthappa, Sunil Narine and Shubman Gill – Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) can rework on their strategies to include Shahzad in their scheme of things. However, they have a pretty settled opening combination but Shahzad’s presence can bolster the Kolkata squad and provide them a handy batting option both at the top and in the lower middle-order.
2. Kings XI Punjab
With no proper wicketkeeping option in their ranks – Kings XI Punjab might be tempted to include Mohammad Shahzad in their team ahead of the upcoming edition of IPL. Despite a solid start to their season in 2018, KXIP fell apart quickly as they ended at the 7th team on the points table. Shahzad’s ability to open the innings and go hard at the top along with his glovework will provide Punjab a solid option in their ranks. The Mohali-based franchise can also push KL Rahul down in the order to strengthen the middle-order. An opening combination of Gayle-Shahzad is enough to send shockwaves in the opposition camp bowlers, don’t you think so?
3. Delhi Daredevils
Known as the perennial underachievers or the laggards since the inception of cash-rich IPL, Delhi Daredevils must be desperate to prove their mettle in the 12th edition of the slam-bang event. After trading three players to acquire local star Shikhar Dhawan in the transfer window – Delhi must be eyeing to add more firepower at the top of the batting order. However, the presence of young guns like – Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer make Delhi an already settled batting unit but the option to acquire the X-factor like Shahzad will be too hard to miss. Shahzad can probably bat at number three with Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant to follow, it adds more balance to the middle-order, an area where the side faced troubles earlier.