JOHANNESBURG: Mitchell Starc’s brilliant run of form is likely to have Indian Premier League franchises circling and could net the left-armer a $500,000-plus pay day in the next 18 months.
Starc is likely to be one of the most sought-after players at next year’s IPL auction, should he decide to nominate, but it’s in 2014 when he could really cash in. That is when the IPL will hold its next big player auction, when all players, apart from those deemed ”icons”, return to the market.
Starc, the Champions League’s leading wicket-taker heading into the semi-finals, has been one of the revelations of the tournament, which has become a rich source of talent for IPL recruiters.
West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard burst to prominence in the event in 2009 and was bought several months later for $US750,000 by Mumbai Indians after a bidding war.
Sunil Narine was last year’s rags-to-riches story, fetching $US700,000 from Kolkata after starring for Trinidad and Tobago at the Champions League a year ago.
The man responsible for assembling the Kolkata playing roster, which won this year’s IPL title, has been impressed by what he has seen of Starc in recent weeks.
”Everyone is on the lookout for good international fast bowling because there aren’t that many brilliant ones around,” said Kolkata’s team director, Joy Bhattacharya. ”Starc is a left-hander, which is always an added bonus. What happens in the IPL is a lot of Indian batsmen who wouldn’t have seen a lot of high quality international pace, and [being] left-handed makes it slightly more difficult. He has the height and bounce.”
IPL rules also enhance Starc’s prospects because each team must contain seven Indian players and ”Indian domestic players will not be used to the bounce and swing that Starc obtains”, Bhattacharya said.
He would not comment on Starc’s market value, but the signing of then-unheralded Dan Christian for $US900,000 last year shows how a player’s price could skyrocket should they attract interest from multiple clubs.
IPL berths will be limited next year, Bhattacharya said, as franchises will buy players only to replace those unavailable, but Starc will be hot property in 2014.
Bhattacharya said a player who was deemed suitable for Indian pitches and consistently performed at high standards would have great value.
Starc showed his worth on the subcontinent in the World Twenty20, where only Sri Lankan Ajantha Mendis and Shane Watson claimed more wickets.
Starc is unlikely to be available for the Sixers’ Big Bash League title defence this summer as he is tipped to feature heavily in Australia’s Test and ODI campaigns.
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