The Indian Premier League 2019 auction is almost here. A total of 346 players, including 226 Indians, are ready to go under the hammer on December 18 at Jaipur. This time around, the event will miss Richard Madley, who has been the face of the auction in all the past editions. Replacing him is Hugh Edmeades, an independent fine art, classic car and charity auctioneer. But the excitement of the auction solely revolves around the players, primarily the ones who are looking to make their way back into the spotlight. Among the players is Yuvraj Singh, whose equity has dropped significantly, but he still attracts enough attention.
So here are the five players you keep your eyes peeled for:
1. Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh, who is now a free agent after being released by Kings XI Punjab earlier this year, has set his base price at Rs 1 crore for the IPL 2019 auction. He clearly didn't have a great run with the Punjab franchise last season and his dismal performance in the recent Ranji Trophy might make things worse. His fitness has also been quite a concern. It will be interesting to see which franchise invests its money (and faith) in Yuvraj. Watching him go unsold is also a possibility.
2. Jaydev Unadkat
After being the most expensive Indian during the 2018 Indian Premier League (Rs 11.5 crore), Unadkat didn't quite deliver for the Rajasthan Royals. In spite of that, Unadkat enters the IPL 2019 auction at the base price of Rs 1.5 crore, being the highest-priced Indian. Kings XI Punjab have shown interest in lapping him up this season. But, this time around, his chances of him raking in the big bucks look threateningly slim.
3. Shimron Hetmyer
In an otherwise one-sided India vs West Indies series earlier this year, the only sense of promise in the lacklustre Windies side was left-handed batsman Shimron Hetmyer, who has his base price at Rs 50 lakh. Being the explosive batsman he is, it remains to be seen how much the franchise's lap him up for. Hetmyer was the third-highest run-scorer in the Caribbean Premier League 2018. This feather in his cap only enhances his chances of being a wanted cricketer.
4. Brendon McCullum
Brendon McCullum needs no introduction. After being released by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, McCullum has set his base price at Rs 2 crore. In spite of having a poor season with the RCB - scoring only 127 runs in six outings - McCullum should be eyed by franchises that will look to add some experience in the batting line-up. After all, McCullum has played for Chennai Super Kings, Gujarat Lions, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kochi Tuskers Kerala.
5. Wriddhiman Saha
Wriddhiman Saha's entire 2018 has been riddled with injuries. He first suffered a finger injury in the first qualifier against Kolkata Knight Riders. And then he suffered a shoulder injury during India's tour of Australia. The wicket-keeper, who replaced by Shreevats Goswami in SRH, has probably been released because playing rigorous T20 games after injury doesn't sound too reasonable. Going into the IPL 2019 auction with a Rs 1 crore base price probably isn't a bright idea.