Uncapped New Zealander a like-for-like swap after the Australian makes himself unavailable for the entire 2021 season
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have signed uncapped New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Finn Allen as a like-for-like replacement for Josh Philippe who has made himself “unavailable” for the entire IPL 2021.
Allen, who had initially found no takers in the auction last month, had listed his base price at INR 20 lakh – identical to that of Philippe who was snapped up by the Royal Challengers at the IPL 2020 auction. Like Philippe, Allen can open the batting and keep wickets if needed.
Allen, the 21-year-old Auckland batsman who had moved to Wellington ahead of this domestic season, had a bumper Super Smash 2020-21, his chart-topping 512 runs at a strike rate of almost 194 powering the Firebirds to the title. All up, Allen clattered 25 sixes in the tournament – the most by any player – and pulled off a variety of trick shots, including an outrageous switch-hit off New Zealand and Northern Knights’ premier spinner Mitchell Santner.
A day out of the Super Smash final, Allen had no expectations of an IPL call-up although he conceded that featuring in the IPL would be a bit of a dream come true.
“For me, there are no expectations,” Allen had told ESPNcricinfo. “It has kind of always been that way for me – I’m just going out there and enjoying what I am doing. Just trying to win the title for Wellington, and if more than that comes out of it, it would be awesome. Obviously going to the IPL would be pretty amazing – that’s almost my dream for a long time now, so yeah hopefully get lucky and get picked up. But, obviously no expectations, and if it doesn’t happen, there’s always the future.”
A day after lifting the Super Smash Trophy, Allen made it to the New Zealand T20I squad although only as cover for senior opener Martin Guptill. After Guptill cleared his fitness test, Allen linked up with Wellington again and continued his stellar form with a 50-ball hundred – the joint fastest List A ton by a New Zealander, drawing level with Peter Fulton. His maiden List A century – 128 off 59 balls – vaulted Wellington to 427 for 8 – another New Zealand List A record.
More to follow…
Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo