Former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan believes that Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will look to acquire the services of opener Mayank Agarwal in the upcoming Player Auction, scheduled to be held in Kochi on Friday.
Notably, Agarwal was named as the captain of Punjab Kings (PBKS) for the last edition of the cash-rich league and was retained by the franchise for a whopping Rs 12 crores.
Agarwal joined the Punjab team in 2018 and forged a strong opening pairing with KL Rahul, who was captain of the side till 2021.
But a promotion to leadership didn’t lead to a truckload of runs with the bat for the right-hander in IPL 2022. Agarwal scored just 196 runs in 13 matches at an average of 16.33. On the leadership front, he didn’t fare well as Punjab ended the season at sixth place in the ten-team points table.
In November, Agarwal was released by the side after the announcement came of Shikhar Dhawan replacing him as captain of Punjab Kings. With Hyderabad also letting go of Kane Williamson and Nicholas Pooran, they are also in need of a top-order batter who can also captain the side.
“SRH will go after Mayank Agarwal because they need a kind of abrasive opener as well. They don’t have Kane Williamson right now who led them for many years as an experienced player and who used to open the innings as well.”
“Mayank Agarwal is the kind of guy who has led a side, who plays quite freely as well, very fearless, very selfless. They might be thinking of him going forward as a leader as well. So, let’s see what’s going to happen, but definitely, they are going to look for that kind of introduction in that auction,” said Pathan on ‘Game Plan – Auction Special’ show on Star Sports.
Going into the auction, Hyderabad have the most money in their purse amongst all ten IPL teams, at INR 42.25 crores. They are followed by Punjab, who have second-most money with INR 32.2 crores. Pathan also feels that there will be a bidding war for Australia leg-spinner Adam Zampa between Hyderabad and Punjab.
“Definitely, both Punjab Kings as well as SRH, they’re going to show their masses at the auction because, look, one things for sure that when we don’t have a settled unit, when you don’t have a proper playing eleven which Punjab and SRH don’t have, that means they have a big bank balance and that means they need to be very smart.”
“They need to be aggressive as well in these auctions because they have the muscle power and I think Adam Zampa, they will go after him from the word go.”
Both Hyderabad and Punjab had failed to reach the IPL 2022 playoffs. While Hyderabad finished at eighth place with 12 points, Punjab were at sixth place with 14 points.