Stars on sale but IPL franchises keen on uncapped players

The big news before the inaugural season of the IPL was the acquisition of the big names by the franchises. A year down the line as everyone is set to prepare for season two the trend seems to have reversed as the focus now shifts to the uncapped talent available.

Shaun Marsh was the big success in the first season of the Indian Premier League. As an opener for the King’s XI Punjab, the Australian was an instant success, scoring 616 runs in 11 games with a strike-rate of over 140.

So it isn’t surprising that most franchises are now looking for similar talent and the hunt is on to get another fresh face or uncapped player.

It’s noticeable that even though its been a fortnight since the IPL transfer window opened, no player has been bought by any franchise.

“My team is quite evenly balanced,” says Kings XI Punjab captain Yuvraj Singh. “What we have to sort out is the combination till we find out the itinerary for the IPL. Certain players would be playing while some might not be available. We have to sit and talk about which players to buy. There’s still some time though.”

The fact that most of the franchises have put their overseas players for sale hasn’t helped either. The likes Shahid Afridi, Herchelle Gibbs and Shoaib Akhtar were the non-performers from season one who have been out on the block.

With the buyers conscious of the fact that one can only play four overseas players of the 10 that each squad is permitted to have. And having to bench most of their star performers makes no sense and that has led to the shift in focus to acquiring uncapped players.

“I think other than Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, every other country is playing some international cricket during the IPL,” says Jeet Banerjee, Associate, Kolkata Knight Riders. “So you don’t get a player from those nations for a full season. Hence the attraction for uncapped players.”

Many feel that apart from one or two there won’t be much trading as the focus now shifts to the players auction due on February 6 where the likes of Kevin Peitersen and Andrew Flintoff will be up for grabs.

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