Australian opener Ben McDermott and West Indies all-rounder Romario Shepherd are banking on their recent impressive performances to bag a maiden IPL deal, having gone unsold in the previous seasons of the lucrative T20 league. McDermott wrapped up an impressive Big Bash League season that saw him being voted as the Player of the Tournament on Monday, while also earning a recall to the Australia T20 side for the Sri Lanka series next month.
The 27-year-old was also the BBL’s highest run scorer with 577 at a strike rate of 153.86. McDermott, who has played 17 T20Is and two ODIs for Australia, has never featured in the IPL. He went unsold last season. “There’s not too much I can do now, it’s all up to those people in charge,” McDermott was quoted. “I’m excited. It’s always an exciting time just to watch, last year I remember Riley Meredith getting picked up for the big bucks and sitting there watching him in our hotel rooms in quarantine in New Zealand.”
Last year, the Australian pace duo of Riley Meredith (Rs 8 crore) and Jhye Richardson (Rs 14 crore) had landed hefty contracts with Punjab Kings after a successful BBL season. Shepherd, on the other hand, blasted an unbeaten 44 off 28 balls to take West Indies within one run of England’s total in second T20 International in Bridgetown on Sunday. The 27-year-old smashed five maximums and a four under pressure while also taking a wicket earlier in the game.
“I try to focus on what is at hand right now and try and put my all in here,” Shepherd, who has entered February’s auction with a Rs 75 lakh base price. “Eventually, if an IPL contract comes, that would be great for me. I’m not saying that I don’t think about it – I do think about it, but I try not to think about it during a game, I just focus on wherever the game is and trying to get ourselves out of a situation,” he added.
Shepherd is one of the 41 players from the Caribbean who have registered for the mega auction. “It’s a great platform. For any youngster, it’s their dream to go to the IPL and I’m no different. I’m trying my best to get myself in there, but at the same time trying to win a series here. “It’s something that I’ve dreamed about for a very long time. My name was in the [auction] for the last three years, so this year, I’m looking forward to it,” he added.
The IPL is expanding to a 10 team tournament this year. With two new teams — Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises — coming in, a two-day mega auction is slated to be held in Bengaluru on February 12 and 13.
The league is set to begin in the last week of March.