IPL 2024 – Rajasthan Royals trade Devdutt Padikkal for Lucknow Super Giants’ Avesh Khan in a straight swap

Fast bowler Avesh Khan is set to make a move to Rajasthan Royals from Lucknow Super Giants, who will acquire top-order batter Devdutt Padikkal in a straight trade swap ahead of IPL 2024. ESPNcricinfo has learned that the franchises and players agreed on the trade in the past week with the BCCI set to put a stamp on the swap this week.

Avesh, who is part of the India squad for the T20I series against Australia starting Thursday, was bought by Super Giants in the mega auction in 2022 for INR 10 crore (US$ 1.2 million approx.). Royals, meanwhile paid INR 7.75 crore (US$ 945,000 approx.) for Padikkal. Both the players were retained by the respective franchises this year.

Despite bright starts to their IPL careers, both players had a lean time of it in 2023.

It was especially disappointing for Padikkal, who, despite playing every match for his team in 2022 (17) and 11 games in 2023, struggled to fulfil the top-order role Royals had assigned to him. In 28 matches in these two seasons, Padikkal scored 637 runs at an average of 23.59 and a strike rate of 125.88 with just three half-centuries. Overall, Padikkal has scored 2768 runs in 92 IPL games at 33.34 with 17 fifties and three centuries striking at 133.52.

Super Giants will be the third franchise for Padikkal, who started his IPL journey with his hometown franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore where he spent two seasons (2020 and 21).

For Avesh, too, Royals will be the third franchise after he debuted at Delhi Capitals: in 2021, he was the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament with 24 wickets at 18.75. After Capitals released him ahead of the mega auction, Super Giants bid fiercely to buy Avesh in a four-way bidding war. He finished the 2022 season as Super Giants’ highest wicket-taker, helping them make the playoffs in their inaugural IPL season.

However, on the slow and underprepared pitches in Lucknow, Avesh struggled in 2023. Failing to finish his full quota of four overs in five of the nine games he played, Avesh finished the 2023 season with just eight wickets at 35.37, going at an economy of 9.75.

Avesh, who turns 27 in December, will be hungry to reclaim his confidence at Royals, whose Indian fast-bowling pack includes Prasidh Krishna, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen, Sandeep Sharma and KM Asif.

“Avesh has proved his mettle in recent years to be one of the top Indian pacers in the country,” Kumar Sangakkara, Royals’ director of cricket, said in a statement. “He has the ability to both swing and seam the ball, and is an effective asset at both the start of the innings and towards the end. He has a lot of variations in his armour which will be extremely valuable in the different conditions that we play in across the country. He will prove to be a valuable addition to our pace-bowling department and we are looking forward to having him contribute to the team’s successes.”

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