Mitchell Starc will not be part of IPL 2021, as the left-arm fast bowler has not registered for the auctions that are slated for February 18 in Chennai.
A total of 1097 players – 814 from India and 283 from overseas – registered for the auction by the deadline of February 4, and Starc’s is the most prominent name missing. He last featured in the IPL in 2015 – for the Royal Challengers Bangalore – after his inaugural season the year before. He had a standout year then, taking 20 wickets in 13 games at an average of 14.55 and an economy rate of 6.76.
A combination of injuries and the decision to manage his workload has meant Starc hasn’t been part of the IPL since. The T20 World Cup is set to take place in India later in 2021, and that was expected to be a factor for Starc to register. However, that tournament will be followed by a home Ashes series, and Starc may have chosen to manage his workload considering he would be expected to take part in both for Australia.
However, Shakib Al Hasan and Sreesanth will both be a part of the auctions this year, having served out suspensions or bans earlier. While Shakib is one of 11 players to be listed at the highest base price of INR 2 crore (approx. US $274,000), Sreesanth has set his base price at INR 75 lakh (approx. US $103,000).
The others who have listed their base price at INR 2 crore are Kedar Jadhav, Harbhajan Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith, Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy, Mark Wood and Colin Ingram.
Joe Root, who scored a century in his 100th Test on the first day of the series against India, did not register for the second IPL in a row, and among England players who previously featured in the competition, Harry Gurney and Tom Banton also did not register. Gurney has had a year out with injury – which included missing IPL 2020 – while Banton had previously indicated he would play the County Championship for Somerset during the IPL window.
James Pattinson, part of the Mumbai Indians’ title-winning squad in 2020, also opted out. ESPNcricinfo understands he is taking a break after a long summer spent in lockdown bubbles.
Dawid Malan, the world’s top-ranked T20I batsman but who is yet to feature in the IPL, set his base price at INR 1.5 crore (approx. US $206,000), as have Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Alex Carey, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Swepson, Tom Curran, Lewis Gregory, Alex Hales, Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid and David Willey.
With Starc absent, Richardson is likely to attract interest from franchises, being the highest wicket-taker in the ongoing BBL 2020-21 where his franchise, the Perth Scorchers, have qualified for the final.
Among others, Aaron Finch, Umesh Yadav, Hanuma Vihari, Marnus Labuschagne and Sheldon Cottrell have all listed their base prices at INR 1 crore (approx. US $137,000).
Other capped Indian players who have registered are Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Shivam Dube and Varun Aaron, all at INR 50 lakh (approx. US $68,600). Meanwhile, Arjun Tendulkar, who played two matches for Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this season, also registered for the auction at a base price of INR 20 lakh (approx. US $27,400).
The youngest player to register is Afghanistan’s Noor Ahmad Lakanwal, a 16-year-old left-arm spinner who has his price at INR 20 lakh. Nayan Doshi, a left-arm spinner like his father Dilip, is the oldest in the auction, aged 42. Doshi played four matches across IPL 2010 and 2011 for the Royal Challengers and the Rajasthan Royals, respectively.
Two other players aged 40-plus registered for the auctions. S Santhamoorthy, the Pondicherry medium-pacer who took 5 for 20 against Mumbai in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy is 41, while Harbhajan is 40.
The long list of 1097 players will be pruned before the auctions to those players in whom franchises indicate an interest.
Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo