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IPL Auction 2018: Here's an 'Unsold XI' that can challenge any T20 team in world cricket

With jaw-dropping money spent on unheralded players, here's a list of XI men who surprisingly went unsold.

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Amla raises his bat after scoring a century in IPL 2017
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The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 auctions were everything one expected them to be. Big players, big money and big drama.

While Jaydev Unadkat (Rs 11.5 cr to RR) led the list of players who surprised all by his exorbitant selling price, there were also those who raised eyebrows for going unsold.

As the eight franchises take stock of their arsenal for IPL 11, here's a look at an 'Unsold Playing XI' that could give any T20 team in the world a run for their money.

In batting order

1. Martin Guptill

The New Zealand opener is known for his explosive stroke-play at the top of the order. Guptill has often struggled to put in a string of consistent performances, but with an international T20 average of 33, a strike-rate of over 130 and a base price of merely Rs 75 lakh, it's surprising to see the Kiwi not get a contract for IPL 11.

2. Alex Hales

Another marauding opener, Hales boasts of an impressive record in T20 cricket for England. The right-hander has an average of just under 33, strike-rate of over 135, seven fifties and an international hundred to his credit. Although Hales is yet to make his IPL debut, any of the eight squads in the cash-rich league would've definitely been stronger with him in their ranks.

 

3. Joe Root

Along with Virat Kohli, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson, he forms the 'Fab Four' among batsmen of the current generation. Root hasn't ever played the IPL, but an international average of nearly 40 says he's more than a decent bat in the shortest format too. With the sheer class he possesses, the Englishman could've added a lot of stability to any team.

4. Hashim Amla​

This was perhaps the biggest shocker of them all. Amla, a man who scored two centuries in IPL 2017, went unsold this time around. Franchises, obviously, have their reasons to pick players, but why a batsman of Amla's calibre would not find any takers is baffling to say the least. The veteran South African is one of the rare players to match the mighty Kohli's records in limited-overs international cricket. If an IPL average of nearly 45 along with a strike-rate of over 140 can't guarantee you a contract, it's hard to imagine what can.

5. Eoin Morgan (Captain)

Not only is Morgan known for his big-hitting prowess, he is also the England T20 captain. With his ability to find the fence consistently, the left-hander can be the ideal guy to up the ante in the middle-order. He proved that with many such knocks for Kolkata Knight Riders in seasons gone by.

 

6. Shaun Marsh

An IPL veteran, Marsh made it to the Australian national team on the back of solid performances for the Kings XI Punjab. The left-hander didn't have the best IPL last year, but his twin centuries in the recently-concluded Ashes series against England suggest he is back to top form. A base price of Rs 1.5 crore wasn't much for a guy who has an average of nearly 40 in the IPL.

7. Jonny Bairstow​ (Wicket-keeper)

Even as his team struggled big-time in the Ashes drubbing against Australia, Bairstow stood out with both bat and wicket-keeping gloves in hand. The right-hander has an aggressive game style and 2018 could've been the right year for his to make his IPL debut.

8. Ish Sodhi

One would imagine a base price of Rs 50 lakhs isn't much for the third-ranked T20 bowler in world cricket. As it turns out, though, it is. In a tournament where leg-spinners have always done exceedingly well, Sodhi going unsold is definitely a surprise.

 

9. Nathan Lyon

Arguably the best off-spinner in the world as of today, Lyon had an out-standing Ashes campaign recently. Batsmen often look at offies as ones to be knocked out of the park, but with his form, guile and class, Lyon would have surely proved to be a handful for any batter in the IPL.

10. Josh Hazlewood

Another Australian who had a phenomenal Ashes series, Hazlewood is one of the finest fast-bowlers in the world currently. Agreed, his base price at Rs 2 crore was steep, but the skill he possesses would've brought a lot of depth to any IPL squad.

11. Rajneesh Gurbani

​The IPL 2018 auctions threw up several unknown names. Franchises spent big money on rising stars. The likes of India Under-19 fast-bowler Kamlesh Nagarkoti got sold for a staggering Rs 3.2 crore. It comes as a shock then that none of the eight squads could afford a base price of Rs 20 lakhs for a young pacer who guided Vidarbha to their maiden Ranji Trophy title this season. Gurbani's absence from the cash-rich league despite his stellar Ranji campaign also highlights the reality of India's premier domestic tournament.

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