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Predicting Lucknow's XI after the 2022 IPL auction

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26th December, 2021

A lot of reports have indicated that the three players who will potentially be picked pre-auction would be KL Rahul, Ishan Kishan and Rashid Khan. We have gone on this assumption too.

1. KL Rahul (c)
The Indian white-ball vice-captain is now seen as one of the best T20 players around the world – his non-retention at Punjab was seen as solely due to Lucknow potentially offering more money than Punjab could have. It is likely he will be the captain and be the main backbone of the side.

Alternatives: N/A as he is assumed to be a pre-auction pick.

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2. Ishan Kishan (wk)
Young and versatile, Kishan’s non-retention at Mumbai also raised a few eyebrows (though, there were a lot of options there). With Lucknow hunting for young Indian batsmen like most IPl franchises would, Kishan’s pick is a bit of a no-brainer and like Rohit Sharma at Mumbai or Ravindra Jadeja at Chennai, he can be seen as a long-term horse for Lucknow.

Alternatives: N/A as he is assumed to be a pre-auction pick.

3. Suresh Raina (vc)
Back in 2008, when Suresh Raina was picked for CSK, there were a lot of talk about a lack of Uttar Pradesh based team and his inclusion in CSK was seen as one of the best purchases in the tournament. Raina would then deputise for MS Dhoni and also lead the Gujarat Lions when they were on the interim before becoming one of the highest run scorers in IPL history.


Even though he’s retired, with his experience and leadership skills, he will be sought after.

Alternatives: Nitesh Rana and Saurabh Tiwary.

4. Shimron Heytmer
A lack of quality domestic middle-order batsmen is a plague that happens to be affecting Indian cricket in general. Where primary middle-order batsmen like Suryakumar Yadav or Shreyas Iyer are already taken, sides would then aim to get quality overseas players who excel at those positions.

Shimron Heytmer has had more success in the games he did play for the Delhi Capitals and playing at No.4 will allow Heytmer to really show his potential.

Alternatives: Steve Smith and Joe Root.

5. Mohammed Nabi
The Afghani captain was always arguably underplayed at the Sunrisers, much to the ire of Afghani fans. However, with Lucknow probably picking Rashid Khan, it would not be a long shot to assume they will encourage the purchase of Mohammed Nabi, who can be a solid all-round option for the Lucknow franchise.


Alternatives: Shakib al Hasan and Liam Livingstone.

6. Shahrukh Khan
A lot has been spoken about Shahrukh Khan as a probable long-term finisher on the Indian domestic circuits. He is likely to create a good bidding war but a newer team like Lucknow would love to experiment with young India finishers as they like to build their teams for the long term.

Alternatives: Krunal Pandya and Rahul Tewatia.

7. Rashid Khan
One of the best T20 bowlers around the world, his non-retention at Sunrisers raised many eyebrows. The reason was said to be Lucknow offering more money to him, which if true would see Rashid being picked pre-auction. Nonetheless, having him would be a boon for any team regardless of their franchise affiliation.

Rashid Khan

Rashid Khan (Photo by Matthew Lewis-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

Alternatives: N/A as he is assumed to be a pre-auction pick.

8. Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Along with Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar was one of the main guns of the Sunrisers’ bowling attack, winning the purple cap twice in a row. Though he lost his form last year, he will look to come back and with Uttar Pradesh being his home state, he will get more support and confidence to play for a team based there.


Alternatives: Deepak Chahar.

9. Murugan Ashwin
The other Ashwin has usually warmed the bench but did perform well whenever given the opportunities. A quality Indian domestic spinner to back Rashid and Nabi would give Lucknow a deadly spin attack on any pitch.

Alternatives: Ravi Bishnoi.

10. Mitchell Starc
Mitchell Starc has tried to keep out of the IPL in recent years but with his form arguably coming back, he will try to maximise his talents. A bowler like him would provide the extra pace, experience and fear needed for any bowling attack.

A bowler of his calibre would be an essential for a newer team like Lucknow as they aim to establish their identity.

Alternatives: Kagiso Rabada, Josh Hazlewood and James Anderson.

11. Ishant Sharma
Ishant Sharma has always been seen as a red-ball player in recent times. But in the games he did play for the Capitals in recent years, he proved to be an excellent bowler in the opening options as he is able to provide that Test match line and length that can be good for limited overs power play.


With more bowling options, his inclusion would make sense, along with his experience, which can calm other Indian bowlers in the side.

Alternatives: Umesh Yadav and Jaydeb Unadket.