By Sports Reporter
FORMER Zimbabwe national captain Brendan Taylor and star all-rounder Sikandar Raza have made the final short-list of 346 players around the world shortlisted to go under the hammer at the player auction for 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) to be held on December 18.
Four Zimbabwean players had initially positioned themselves to win places at this year IPL by registering for the tournament’s player auction ahead of next year’s edition of the lucrative tournament.
The duo of Taylor and Raza were joined batsmen Malcolm Waller and Solomon Mire and leg spinner Graeme Cremer.
However, according to reports from India only Taylor and Raza made the final shortlist after the organisers trimmed the list of aspiring players from1 003 to 346 players on Wednesday.
Raza, 32, has been in brilliant form in all formats of the game, starring with both bat and ball as he continues to establish himself as one of Zimbabwe’s top players in international cricket.
His performances have seen him feature in other T20 tournaments such as the Bangladesh Premier League, the Afghanistan Premier League and the Pakistan Super League.
Raza will look to the IPL as the next stage to showcase his talent to the global audience and will be hoping to attract bidders during the player auction.
Taylor on the other hand will also be equally confident of being signed for next year’s IPL after enjoying a remarkable return to international cricket following his rich vein of form during Zimbabwe’s recent tour of Bangladesh.
The former national team captain, who is statistically the finest players that Zimbabwe has ever produced the past decade, is not new to the IPL after he was by Sunrise Hyderabad four years ago.
This saw him becoming only the third Zimbabwean to be signed up for the prestigious star-studded league after retired legends Tatenda Taibu (Chennai Super Kings) and Raymond Price (Mumbai Indians).
Taylor however, ended up not playing a single match for Sunrise Hyderabad as the tournament coincided with his wedding to Kelly Anne Readings.
“I didn’t think I would get an IPL deal, so I thought April was safe. I am going to have to ask very nicely for two days off so I can come back and get married, otherwise maybe I won’t have a fiancée to marry anymore.
“And the honeymoon can wait. I really didn’t think I’d get anywhere near the IPL,” Taylor told ESPNcricinfo then.
The list of players shortlisted for auction includes as many as 226 players from India including veteran players such as Ashoke Dinda, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Shami and Wriddhiman Saha.
Following India, the next big representation of players in the list is from South Africa with superstar Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Colin Ingram, JJ Smuts and Robbie Frylinck among a total of 26 players who will undergo the hammer at the auction of IPL 2019.
South African representation is closely followed by the Australia. A total of 23 Australian players feature in the list.
Below is the brief overview of the number of players from each country shortlisted for the auction:
India – 226
South Africa – 26
Australia – 23
West Indies – 18
England – 18
New Zealand – 13
Afghanistan – 8
Sri Lanka – 7
Bangladesh – 2
Zimbabwe – 2
USA – 1
Ireland – 1
Netherlands – 1