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England's captain Ben Stokes will be the most-sought after player during the player auction for IPL 2023, to be held in Kochi on December 23. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: World Cup-winning England captain Ben Stokes and his teammate Sam Curran will be the centre of attraction during the 2023 Indian Premier League player auction, to take pace in Kochi on December 23.

The star England all-rounder, who had asked to be released by Rajasthan Royals to focus on mental health and well-being last year after being bought for a record price of rupees 125 million, must have had his value skyrocket after being an inspirational skipper for England, leading the Three Lions to nine victories in 10 Tests.

Sunrisers' radar

The England skipper will be firmly on the Sunrisers Hyderabad radar, as the Sun TV-owned franchise has the maximum purchasing power after offloading former skipper Kane Williamson and Nicholas Pooran. So Stokes’ leadership qualities will make him the perfect choice for the franchise.

For Stokes, this IPL will be the perfect way to test his fitness as he plans to play in the 50-over World Cup to be held in India in 2023.

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England all-rounder Sam Curran, the Player of the Tournament in the recently concluded Twenty20 World Cup, is another top choice for the teams. Image Credit: AP

Special rapport with Dhoni

Chennai Super Kings will be eager to regain the services of another England all-rounder Sam Curran, since the retirement of Dwayne Bravo has left a huge void for a fast-bowling all-rounder to fill in the role.

Curran produced an impressive show in the recently concluded Twenty20 World Cup with his left-arm pace bowling and has the ability to use the bat for some quick runs towards the end. The additional factor that endears the England all-rounder, who won the Player of the Series award in the Twenty20 World Cup, to the Super Kings is that he has a huge respect for skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who will be playing his swansong season in the next edition.

How much of purse each team have for the auction. Image Credit:

Even England whiteball skipper Jos Buttler praised the role of Dhoni in sharpening Curran’s game after a valiant unbeaten 95 in the third and final ODI against India in Pune in March last year.

“I’m sure Sam would want to talk to MS about tonight’s innings. I’m sure there were shades of the way that he (MS Dhoni) would have liked to take the game down if he was in that situation. He’s a great person for Sam to have a conversation with when he meets up MS (in the IPL),” Buttler had said. “We know what an amazing cricketer, finisher MS Dhoni is. A brilliant learning curve for all our players to share dressing rooms with guys like MS’ stature in the game. I’m very excited for them,” he added.

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New Zealand whiteball skipper Kane Williamson and West Indian Nicholas Pooran are among the 132 overseas players in fray for the auction. Image Credit: Courtesy: Sportzpics for IPL

Huge interest

Some of the other big names in the fray are star Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, Australian all-rounder Cameron Green and New Zealand captain Williamson and Pooran. The next edition of the IPL will be back to the home and away format and that means the wickets will have plenty of wear and tear as the tournament progresses. Chris Jordan, Rilee Rossouw, and Rassie van der Dussen are the other international stars who must have evinced huge interest from several teams.

A total of 405 cricketers will go under the hammer on Friday, after the initial list of 991 was trimmed down with an additional request of 36 players from the teams. Out of them, are 273 Indians and 132 overseas players with four from associate nations.