Caribbean superstar Chris Gayle defied convention throughout his playing career. However, the 42-year-old is putting his money on expected horses for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 mini-auction. Back in India as a part of Viacom18's expert panel, Gayle predicted that English all-rounder Sam Curran's heroics in the recently-concluded T20 World Cup will fetch big bucks in Kochi today.
"I will pick Sam Curran. He is younger than others. IPL tends to look at the future and how many years down the road he can get them," Gayle said during a media interaction on Thursday.
The dynamics of the mini-auction are such that there is a huge disparity in the amount available amongst franchises. Similarly, their player requirements vary drastically too. In that context, Gayle expects teams to break the bank for the in-focus all-rounder trio of Curran, Ben Stokes and Cameron Green.
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"It is a possibility that there might be a record-breaking auction. You might not be too surprised if you see some guys go over the R 16-17 crore barrier," Gayle remarked.
However, the two-time IPL Orange Cap winner is pragmatic regarding Stokes's fortunes in the auction. He outlined the English Test skipper as a potential captaincy candidate for certain teams. But Gayle cautioned that Stokes hasn't performed optimally throughout his IPL career despite his huge potential.
"He wasn't a part of the IPL last time, so I am sure with the buzz that is happening this time around, he is hot bread!" Gayle said. He added, "We still have to see Ben Stokes produce the goods in the IPL. Stats play a part, if you really check the stats; we haven't really got it [Stokes' performances]. We have got it in bits and pieces. We need consistency with the big bucks!"