Mega IPL auction looms, Starc mulls return

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Australia's bevy of stars throwing their hat into the ring for the IPL 'mega auction' could include Mitchell Starc, who is weighing up his first stint in the lucrative league since 2015.

Starc, widely regarded as one of the best white-ball bowlers in the world, has repeatedly opted out of the world's premier Twenty20 competition to enjoy time at home.

The left-armer is yet to make a final call on this year's IPL but made it clear on Wednesday he is strongly considering a return.

This year's auction is expected to take place in mid-February.

The gala event will be even bigger than usual and is tipped to result in some record-breaking salaries, as the IPL has added franchises based in Lucknow and Ahmedabad.

"I've got two days to get my paperwork in. That might be something I do today before training," Starc told reporters.

"I haven't put my name down just yet but I've got a couple more days to decide on that.

"That's certainly on the table, regardless of what the schedule has got coming up. I haven't been for six years or so.

"With obviously a heavy weighting towards T20s over the last period of time and the World Cup coming up later this year, that's one to take into consideration as well."

The IPL's expansion resulted in the vast majority of players being moved on from their franchises.

Glenn Maxwell, who will return to Royal Challengers Bangalore after a productive campaign with the bat, was the only Australian retained by their IPL club.

David Warner memorably fell out with Sunrisers Hyderabad after being axed, having previously been the face and captain of the franchise on a contract worth $A2.3 million.

This year's IPL will follow Australia's three-Test tour of Pakistan, falling during the players' annual-leave period and raising the spectre of bubble fatigue.

Cricket Australia (CA) gave its blessing for some stars to sit out last year's T20 tours of the West Indies and Bangladesh then play the second phase of the IPL.

But they were unique circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the plan helping Australia secure their first T20 World Cup title.

Meanwhile, Starc noted players were still digesting the security briefing they recently received about the proposed trip to Pakistan.

"It gives time for all players to process that information," he said.

"Obviously we've got a Test match this week to play in and perform in. Then we'll move onto what happens next."

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