The player auction for the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) will be held on 18 December 2018 in Jaipur. On Tuesday, 346 cricketers will to go under the hammer, and all eyes will be on the nine players with the highest reserve price. Brendon McCullum, Chris Woakes, Lasith Malinga, Shaun Marsh, Colin Ingram, Corey Anderson, Angelo Mathews, D’Arcy Short and Sam Curran have opted for the highest price bracket.

Here are five takeaways from the exclusive list:

1. It pays to be an all-rounder

Of the nine players in the highest price bracket (Rs 2 crore base price), more than a 50% are all-rounders. Anderson, Curran, Short, Mathews and Woakes can wreak havoc with both the bat and the ball and their all-round skills will be in demand when they go under the hammer on Tuesday.

2. No Indians in the highest base price

IPL rules dictate that no team can field more than four foreign players, giving Indian players ample opportunities to show their mettle against players of world renown—both foreign and their own countrymen. The list of Indians who shone in IPL and subsequently went on to make international debuts runs long. However, no local talent is in the highest base price for the next edition of the annual cricketing extravaganza. Jaydev Unadkat, who played his solitary Test eight years ago and went to Rajasthan Royals for a whopping 11.5 crore in the last auction, is the highest-priced Indian at 1.5 crore. He is followed by Mohammed Shami, Yuvraj Singh and Axar Patel who will invite first bids at 1 crore.

3. Performances against India boost price

Woakes hasn’t played a T20 international for England since 2015. In his nine domestic T20s this year, Woakes has taken a modest 12 wickets at 10 runs an over, while scoring 95 runs with the bat, yet he is among the nine players with the highest starting bid. Perhaps the 29-year-old’s stellar performance in the Lord’s Test against India earlier this year explains his high price. The all-rounder played a match-winning knock of 137 not out and took five wickets over the two innings to help his team thrash the hapless visitors.

4. Age is just a number

Of the nine players with 2 crore starting bids, 20-year-old Sam Curran is the youngest while New Zealand veteran McCullum is the oldest at 37. Curran has enjoyed a stellar breakthrough year, being the decisive player on India’s tour of England in the summer and he continued his heroics in Sri Lanka, helping the English side to a historic Test series win in the subcontinent.

McCullum set the first edition of the IPL alight as he hammered 158 not out off just 73 balls in the opening game of the nascent league in 2008. He went on to enjoy many memorable knocks in the annual tournament. The Kiwi has long retired from the international game but continues to ply his trade across T20 leagues, smashing bowlers with typical abandon. His hard hitting will give a boost to many a team’s batting total.

5. Malinga’s last hurrah?

Malinga, the highest wicket-taker in IPL history with 154, was the bowling mentor for Mumbai Indians last season but after a series of good showings this year his name is back under the hammer for the 2019 edition. His dipping yorkers and death bowling nous can still win matches.

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