Indian Premier League 2022 gets ready for a power-packed season with two new teams - Lucknow and Ahmedabad. With the new additions the cash-rich league will now become a ten-team tournament allowing more players to showcase their talent. The mega auction is to be held on February 12 and 13 in Bengaluru and the IPL Governing Council has asked the Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises to name three players each through drafts by January 22.
On Monday, Ahmedabad IPL franchise picked Hardik Pandya, Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill.
KL Rahul, who will be leading India in the ODI series in South Africa in the absence of skipper Rohit Sharma, has been picked by the Lucknow IPL franchise. Apart from KL Rahul, Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and Indian leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi have also been picked.
According to source, the Lucknow franchise will go into the mega auction with a purse of INR 60 crore - Rahul cost them INR 15 crore, Stoinis INR 11 crore, and Bishnoi INR 4 crore. It is learned that Rahul will also captain the franchise.
KL Rahul has been the most consistent batsman in the league since IPL 2018. He had already made his intentions clear of not continuing with Punjab Kings last year due to which he was not retained by the franchise. The 29-year-old captained Punjab Kings in the last two seasons.
Rahul made his IPL debut in 2013 with Royal Challengers Bangalore. In 2014 he played for Sunrisers Hyderabad. In 2016, Bangalore brought him back to their team by trade. In 2018, Punjab bought Rahul for Rs 11 crore.
As for Stoinis, Lucknow will be his fourth IPL franchise. He had started his IPL career in 2015 with Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals). After that he also played for Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore. In 2020, Delhi bought him back for Rs 4.8 crore. In 27 matches played for Delhi, 32-year-old Stoinis has scored 441 runs at a strike rate of 142.71. Apart from this, he also took 15 wickets.
Bishnoi, who impressed all with his performance in the 2020 Under-19 World Cup in South Africa, where he finished as the leading wicket-taker, was one of the most sought-after uncapped players ahead of this year's IPL auction. Several franchises have been keen on included him to their squad. That included Punjab, who had won the bidding war for him with Mumbai Indians in the 2020 auction to bag him for INR 2 crore. He became Punjab's highest wicket-taker in his first season itself. He took 12 wickets in 14 matches. At the same time, in the 2021 IPL, the leg-spinner grabbed 12 wickets in 9 matches. His economy rate in this league is 6.95.