Indian Premier League (IPL) auction comes more often than not with packages full of surprises. It is that season in cricket when amateur Indian cricketers, hailing from modest backgrounds, are riding their luck to become millionaires while some of the most promising international players find themselves in heaps of misery for being unwanted.
Bluntly stating, IPL auction is an event that garners lots of attention from investors and businesspeople in the region, making it, more or less, a money market. Players are merely products that can reap huge chunks of profit for an organization that is willing to take a chance on them. Again this year, we saw some of the biggest surprises regarding sales of international and local boys.
It is one thing to buy an expert player with huge chunks of cash. But IPL auction this season sent out a message that the franchises are willing to bet millions on emerging talents who have shown their mettle on some level. Some of the players, with base prices as low as a few thousand Indian Rupees, cost millions. Negi, being the best example of this, was sold for 8.5 crores while his draft started at Rs. 30 lakh. Delhi Daredevils snapped a similar deal for Karun Nair, who cost them four crores beginning with a base price of only ten lakhs.
The ultimate shocker was the purchase of Murugan Ashwin, who has never played in IPL before. The new spinner, Ashwin, has played a total of six domestic T20s. But this didn’t put the slightest of doubts in Pune’s owners who drafted him with a price tag of 4.5 crores.
PACE BOWLERS TO BUILD THEIR PARADISE:
Indian pitches are traditionally supportive of spin bowling, and we have seen how good Indian batsmen are with the spin. But the franchise owners did not hold back while investing in pacemen.
Gujrat Lions threw 2.3 crores at South African pacer, Dale Steyn. Kings XI Punjab, on the other hand, spent 6.5 crores on Mohit Sharma. Another local rising bowler, Nathu Singh, desperately wanted by Delhi Daredevils, was finally picked by Mumbai Indians for Rs. 3.2 crores.
PAWAN NEGI, THE MOST EXPENSIVE INDIAN:
Base price set at 30 lakh, Negi, who has not played a single T20 international, was sold to Delhi Daredevils for 8.5 crores. The promising slow left-arm orthodox bowler plays for Delhi in Ranji Trophy and is capped for his first T20 international in the series against Srilanka next week. It is the highest sum paid for any Indian player in this year’s outrageous auction.
OVERPRICING OVERLAID STRATEGY:
If you are an Indian player drafted at IPL auction, the chances are that your bidding price will be higher than a foreign player with a similar track record. Sunrisers Hyderabad bought Yuvraj Singh for Rs. 7 crores. There is a lot of strategic questioning as to what Sunrisers thought when they bid such a hefty amount for a player who just went through chemotherapy and hadn’t played much cricket recently. On the other hand, Ashish Nehra was sold for Rs. 5 crores as compared to Steyn, drafted for 2.3 crores. Nehra more than twice as costly as Steyn? Well, IPL franchises must answer for such ambiguities since fans would want to hear their plans which caused them to consider such rash bids.
HARD LUCK FOR GUPTILL:
Guptill, in the recent series against Pakistan, has shown that he is still in epic form for limited overs cricket and well capable of demolishing any bowling attack. Being one of the six cricketers to score a double ton in ODI, Guptill is the only batsman who has done so in a knockout match at World Cup. Unfortunately enough for him, his current form and record were not good enough for IPL franchises.
Guptill remains unsold and will be watching IPL from the stands while hoping that a player may drop out from a team to give him some space.