Former India opener Aakash Chopra has picked five overseas bowlers who will grab a big deal in the upcoming mega-auction for the 2022 season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Notably, the players’ bidding process for the fifteenth edition of the cash-rich league will take place on February 12 and 13 in Bengaluru. The season will also mark the arrival of two new franchises – Lucknow Super Giants and Ahmedabad – making the tournament a 10-team affair.

There is no doubt that every franchise will look for quality, fast bowlers in the upcoming auction, and there would be quite a few names up for grabs. But to name the five most expensive bowlers, Chopra began the proceedings by selecting Australian seamer Josh Hazlewood at number five. Chopra felt Hazlewood would be crucial with the new ball as he brings stability, and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will go after the Aussie paceman.

“At No. 5, I have kept Josh Hazlewood. Firstly, I feel the Chennai Super Kings will go after him because they want consistency and some reliability. This guy brings stability, you know what he will do with the new ball, although he may not be that good with the old ball,” said Chopra on his YouTube channel.

At number four, the cricketer-turned-commentator went with New Zealand pacer Lockie Ferguson, stating every franchise will go after him as he is a quality death bowler.

“At No. 4, I have kept Lockie Ferguson. In my opinion, he is one of the best death bowlers you have right now. I keep his name alongside Rabada, Bumrah and Jofra. The fitness issue is the only problem with him. He is your gun T20 bowler. Everyone will run after Lockie,” added Chopra.

Chopra named Sri Lanka all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga as the number three bowler in his list and the lone spinner. The 44-year-old reckoned Hasaranga has the temperament to succeed in the shortest format, and a team can easily bank on him to deliver in all three departments.

“At No. 3, I have picked someone out-of-the-box, an absolute left-field selection. If I was sitting on the auction table, I would have definitely picked this player. His name is Wanindu Hasaranga. He is your four-over bank, he is a bowler, batter and fielder. He has got the temperament to succeed in T20 cricket,” explained Chopra.

For the number two spot, the former Delhi opener picked another New Zealand talent, Trent Boult. Chopra observed that there would be a bidding war amongst franchises to get Boult, and Mumbai Indians (MI) will definitely want him back. Notably, Boult was in the MI squad in the last season but was released recently.

“At No. 2, I have Trent Boult. There will be a bidding war for him. He is on the marquee player list. Mumbai Indians would want to get him back, which is the team that would not want him. Every team will go for Trent Boult,” the Agra born predicted.

At number one, Chopra went with South African pacer Kagiso Rabada, prophesying that Rabada would be the most expensive bowler in the IPL 2022 auctions.

“At No. 1, welcome Kagiso Rabada. This auction will be like gold for him. He is going to mint money. He would be the first choice of all franchises. He will be the most expensive overseas bowler,” Chopra added further.

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