Australian left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Starc has confirmed his return to the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2024, marking his comeback to the lucrative T20 tournament after an absence of eight years. Starc, known for his ability to swing the ball at high speeds, last participated in the IPL in 2015. In 2018, he had signed up for the IPL mega auction with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) but was unable to play due to an injury.Since then, Starc had stayed away from the IPL, focusing on his international cricket commitments and participating in domestic tournaments in Australia. However, with the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in mind, he has made the decision to return to the IPL.
Starc expressed his intention, saying, “Look, it’s been eight years. I’m definitely going back next year. Among other things, it’s a great lead-up to the T20 World Cup. So, it’s a good opportunity to see if anyone’s interested in the IPL, which then leads into the T20 World Cup. And it’s somewhat of a quiet winter next year, in comparison to this winter, so I think it’s a perfect opportunity to put my name in.”
Known for his match-winning performances and ability to deliver crucial wickets, Starc is considered one of the top bowlers in the cricketing world. His left-arm pace has the potential to be a game-changer for any IPL franchise. Some teams might even consider releasing a marquee player from their squad to accommodate Mitchell Starc.
In light of Starc’s return, there are several foreign players in IPL franchises who may face the risk of being released to make room for the Australian speedster. Here are three such players:
Ben Stokes made his IPL return in the 2023 season after being absent since 2021. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) signed the England Test captain for a hefty ₹16.25 crore. Unfortunately, Stokes played only two matches for CSK as he was plagued by injuries. Considering his plans for surgery and a potential lengthy recovery period, CSK may decide to release him ahead of IPL 2024.
The Mumbai Indians, five-time IPL champions, invested ₹8 crore in Jofra Archer’s services during the 2022 IPL Mega Auction. However, Archer’s availability has been limited, having played only five matches for MI and taking just two wickets. With Archer currently sidelined due to injuries, Mumbai Indians might contemplate releasing him to bolster their budget and make a bid for Starc, forming a potent fast-bowling duo alongside Jasprit Bumrah.
In a surprising move, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) acquired New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson for ₹10 crore during a trade window. However, Ferguson spent most of the 2023 IPL season on the bench, featuring in just three matches and taking a solitary wicket. Given KKR’s previous interest in Mitchell Starc during the 2018 IPL auction, they might consider bringing the Australian speedster back into their squad. Releasing Lockie Ferguson could free up funds for KKR and enable them to strengthen their team in the upcoming IPL season.
Mitchell Starc’s eagerly anticipated return to the IPL in 2024 has the potential to reshape team dynamics, with some franchises possibly releasing key players to accommodate the formidable Australian fast bowler. Starc’s comeback adds excitement and intrigue to the IPL, as teams look to optimize their squads for the forthcoming season.