The nominees for the IPL millionaire club are...

Who will attract the highest bid at the IPL auction? (0:57)

Big hitters, strike bowlers and allrounders who can do it all... Who will be the most sought after by the franchises this time? (0:57)

A total of 578 players, including 16 marquee names, will go under the hammer starting January 27 at the IPL auction. The two-day auction will allow teams to assemble entire squads, but also to create a set of six-eight players that will form the backbone of the franchise. A few of the players up for grabs are clear match-winners, and, although franchises have already retained their main players, team owners will be keen to grab at least one more star. But who will earn the biggest price tag?

Ben Stokes

Base Price: INR 2 crore (US$315,000 approx)

Not many cricketers in the world can absorb pressure quite like Ben Stokes, be it bowling the final over of the innings or facing the final ball. Stokes has shown he has the temperament, the smartness and the strength to deliver. By finishing as the Most Valuable Player in his maiden IPL last year representing Rising Pune Supergiant, Stokes does not need any auditions. The only question that will bother prospective buyers is whether buying Stokes is a risky investment, considering the England allrounder is facing a charge of affray; the IPL has said it will allow a replacement for him only if he is unavailable for the entire tournament. That said, if more than one team goes for him - which is still highly likely - the bank vaults will need to be broken again.


Batting: IPL strike-rate of 142.98, average of 31.60

Since January 2016: Stokes strikes at 144.8 v pace and 149 v spin. His strike-rate in the last five overs is 170.9. Career strike-rate against left-arm spin: 159.2 and average 80.66; against legspin: strike-rate of 144, average of 13.5

Bowling: IPL - 12 wickets at 26.33, economy rate of 7.18 and strike rate of 22

Since January 2016: Stokes' economy rate in the last five overs in all T20 cricket has been 9.25. In the Powerplay, it has been 8.52

Mitchell Starc

Base Price: INR 2 crore ($315,000 approx)

Currently the world's best left-arm fast bowler, Mitchell Starc does not need to carry a business card in his pocket. Speed, trajectory, swing, angles, deception, aura - all these factors make Starc a dangerous pace bowler. To the chagrin of the batsman, Starc invariably executes his plans five times out of six every over regardless of what stage of the innings he bowls in. Starc remains one of the most potent death-overs specialists going around with his accurate yorkers, surprising bouncers and dangerous change-ups.


In the Powerplay: 40 wickets at 26.82, an economy rate of 6.64 and a strike rate of 24.22

At the death: 68 wickets at 12.07, an economy rate of 8.22 and a strike-rate of 8.80

In the IPL: 34 wickets at 20.38, economy rate of 7.16 and a strike rate of 17 (in 27 matches)

Rashid Khan

Base Price: INR 2 crore ($315,000 approx)

A wristspinner who bowls legbreaks and googlies without spinning them much. Batsmen, including those from India, have found it hard to read the Afghanistan legspinner, who played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2017. Rashid's biggest weapon is his deceptive pace. The speed with which he delivers his two variations - with a similar wrist action - leaves batsmen gasping not just for space but also for time. Even if they do manage to read him, they do so very late and therefore cannot line him up. And even though he is not a big spinner of the ball, Rashid manages to create enough deviation, so the chances of a leading edge are great.


Against left-hand batsmen: Economy rate of 5.69, strike rate of 18.9

Against right-hand batsmen: Economy rate of 5.91, strike rate of 15.7

Rashid's economy across the 20 overs: Overs one to six: 6.64. Overs seven to 15: 5.49. Overs 16 to 20: 6.52

Dinesh Karthik

Base price: INR 2 crore ($315,000 approx)

One of better No. 4 batsmen among the Indians, Dinesh Karthik has one of the best strike rates (130.45) and has consistently performed across the tournament's editions. Karthik has scored over 300 runs in four of the last five seasons, can bat in any position in the middle order, and has the ability to accelerate. He doubles up as the wicketkeeper and that allows teams to play an extra bowler, if they so wish. Along with Parthiv Patel, Karthik possesses massive experience on the domestic circuit among keepers in the tournament, with both men having led their home states in the past decade. Karthik has been one of the most sought-after players in previous auctions as well. It will not come as a surprise if Karthik attracts fierce bidding once again.


Last season: 361 runs, averaging 36.10 with a strike rate of 139.38 (his most successful IPL season)

Dismissals by a keeper in the IPL: Leads the pack with 106 scalps. MS Dhoni is second on 102

Yuzvendra Chahal

Base price: INR 2 crore ($315,000 approx)

The Chinnaswamy Stadium is one of the smallest stadiums in the IPL. It is also a pitch that has usually favoured fast bowlers. Yet, Yuzvendra Chahal has shown courage to challenge batsmen by tempting them to step out here against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Whether hit for a single or a six, he has consistently challenged batsmen by daring to flight the ball. That allows Chahal to rake wickets in. Importantly, he has managed to win matches for RCB singlehandedly. The numbers suggest that Chahal poses some danger in the middle overs.


Wickets in the middle overs: 49 in 54 matches at an average of 21.24 and a strike rate of 17.3. He has taken the most wickets among all spinners in the middle overs over the last four IPL editions, and has the best bowling figures for India (6 for 25) in T20Is

Washington Sundar

Base price: INR 1.5 crore ($235,000 approx)

Washington Sundar was hired by Supergiant last season to fill in for the injured R Ashwin. Sundar just did not just replace Ashwin effectively, but is likely to be in the race to become one of the most expensive buys this time around, with scouts already calling him a star in the making. The 18-year-old Sundar is an offspinner like Ashwin. His biggest strength is the revs he imparts on the ball. Sundar poses a threat in the Powerplay overs and, in addition, he has also developed into an effective batsman. For his state team, Tamil Nadu, he has begun to open the batting.


Powerplay overs in IPL 2017: An economy rate of 6.55 in nine innings

Tamil Nadu Premier League 2017: With the bat: 459 runs at an average of 76.5 (nine innings) with a strike-rate of 154.54; with the ball: 15 wickets at an average of 12.73 with an economy rate of 6.16

Krunal Pandya

Base price: INR 40 lakh ($62,820 approx)

Remember the league match between RCB and Mumbai Indians last April? Mumbai were chasing 143 and, at 33 for 5, were in big trouble. However, in the company of Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya carried out a heist that stunned the hosts. He repeated a similar, mature act to shore up Mumbai's total in the final and then picked up three wickets to win the Player-of-the-Final award. Krunal might not be as flamboyant with the bat like his brother Hardik, but he possesses a strong temperament with enough firepower to be a solid middle-order batsman in T20s. Combine that with his tidy left-arm spin and athletic fielding, and you realise why Krunal is as dangerous as Hardik.


Last two IPL seasons: Krunal is the only cricketer to aggregate more than 400 runs and over 15 wickets across the last two IPL seasons. Also has the third-best economy rate in the middle overs (7.17), after Rashid (6.35) and Sunil Narine (6.90)

Batting: IPL career strike-rate of 158.41, averaging 36.92