Seeing more than 350 players going under the hammer is exciting. It really thrills me out when I see bids being placed and players from across the globe going under the hammer (the auction hammer, I mean). The auction for the 10th season of the cash-rich Indian Premiere League saw two different flavours. On one hand, players from England attracted a lot of bids. The auction saw Ben Stokes, England’s star all-rounder in white-ball cricket, being sold for INR 14.5 crore to the Rising Pune Supergiants (That’s insane). Stokes would certainly be the happiest person on earth right now. Everytime I look at his (Stokes) price tag, it baffles me.
Something similar happened with Tymal Mills as well. The 24 year-old seamer went to The Royal Challengers Bangalore for a sum of INR 12 Crores. I must say I’m rather astonished by the amount that was spent by the Bengaluru franchise for acquiring Mills. Chris Woakes, the bowling all-rounder from Warwickshire, went to the Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 4.2 crore. He’s a good bowler at the death and, he can swing it around with the willow in hand. That was an intelligent buy. The Delhi Daredevils have made quite a few signings.
The team’s focus on strengthening its stock of all-rounders is an intelligent move. The Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Matthews grabbed at INR 2 crore is a fine player for the Daredevils. He’ll surely fill-in that huge gap prevalent at the number five slot. The inclusion of Kagiso Rabada adds firepower to the otherwise depleted bowling line-up of the Daredevils. Nabbing Rabada for INR 5 crore was no surprise as he’s one of the hottest properties in world cricket right now.
The likes of Varun Aaron and T. Natarajan, both bought in excess of INR 3 crore, add to the Kings XI Punjab’s already heavy pool of Indian seam bowlers. England’s limited overs skipper Eoin Morgan was grabbed by The Kings XI Punjab for INR 2 Crore. He’s a specialist T20 player and has played in various franchise-based leagues. He should’ve fetched more. Darren Sammy, the West Indian all-rounder was also an impressive buy at INR 30 Lacs.
It was really surprising to see the likes of Jason Roy (England) and Imran Tahir (South Africa) going unsold. Imran Tahir, the top ranked bowler in ODIs and T20s at the moment couldn’t find bidders. How shocking is that?
KKR made a few interesting buys as well. The team’s need for quality seamers made them buy Trent Boult, the Kiwi seamer, for INR 5 crore. He’s a really good bowler and those steaming Yorkers of his are a delight to watch, provided you are not facing him at the striker’s end. He’ll form a lethal bowling pair with Chris Woakes if both of them get to play together.
The biggest surprise package of this year’s auction has been the duo of two young players from Afghanistan. Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi were grabbed by the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad. The inclusion of the 18-year-old Rashid Khan for a sum of INR 4 crore was a really heartening thing to see. Earlier in the day, Mohammad Nabi became the first cricket player from Afghanistan to be bought by an IPL franchise. Both these players from Afghanistan will play for the defending champions.
It was surprising to see Ishant Sharma, the tall Indian paceman failing to attract buyers. Johnny Bairstow, the wicket-keeper batsman from England failed to attract buyers. His base price of 1.50 seems to have played a spoilsport. Asela Gunarathne went to the Mumbai Indians for INR 30 Lac. He’s a good buy at that price, especially after a gem of an innings he played against the Aussies to seal the series for the Lankans.
So, the soldiers have been chosen, the battle lines have been drawn. It would be interesting to see how these players perform when they take the field in April for their respective franchises.