The lucrative purchases of England’s Ben Stokes and Tymal Mills in this year’s IPL auction will be regarded as just reward and acknowledgement of both the country’s vastly improved T20 form and method.
Stokes became the most expensive foreign player in the league’s history but the combined 24.5 crores (Dhs1.3bn) spent on the England duo pales in significance to the 4.4 crores (Dh4.4m) spent on Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan and Chirag Suri.
When you factor in the glitz and glamour of the IPL and its status as the elite Twenty20 tournament in the world in terms of both riches and the quality of its product, you can begin to understand the emphasis that has been placed on origin of passports.
But, in three knocks on the hammer by Bargain Hunt’s Richard Madley, the ceiling on Associate Nation cricket was cracked, potentially shattered.
The purchases of Suri (Gujarat Lions – 10 lakh), Nabi (30 lakh) and Rashid (4 crore – both Sunrisers Hyderabad) means those three players now become the first Associate Nation cricketers after Ryan ten Doeschate to earn IPL contracts.
It is testament to the growth of the Associate game that three of six players that entered the auction were actually picked up by franchises and the most promising sign yet that they are being noticed.
Finally, these players have been rewarded for vast improvements on the pitch, their affordability proving one, but not the sole, reason for their selection.
Take Nabi and Rashid, for example. The pair have been superb recently, ending the last World T20 in India as the top two wicket-takers in the tournament, albeit playing more games than the full member nations because of qualifying.
Further evidence came in the latest Bangladesh Premier League, in which Nabi took 19 wickets in 15 matches, Rashid 13 in eight.
Add in both players’ ability with the bat and you’re looking at two of the biggest bargains in the entire auction.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise then that they were snapped up, but it still does; even more so when you consider Suri was also snapped up by the Gujarat Lions.
The 22-year-old has not featured for the UAE since last December, being left out of their Desert T20 squad and pushed to the fringes of the squad and a UAE domestic cricket scene that is a world away from the IPL.
But here he is, the Delhi-born UAE youngster now a fully-fledged part of an IPL side that contains Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum and Jason Roy.
It is by joining this list that Suri has the chance to do something no other UAE player has been able to and give cricket in this country exposure outside of rare appearances at global competitions.
Finally, the UAE has someone for young players to look up to and look forward to watching on TV, someone they can relate to and hopefully see as a cause for inspiration.
It is something that Afghanistan’s stars have already been able to do and IPL franchises will no doubt look to Rashid and Nabi as assets to both their playing squads and commercial departments.
You need look no further than the swathes of Afghanistan fans that turned out for the Desert T20 in the UAE to see the popularity of the sport, even outside of the country.
Their rise gave Afghanistan hope and in the likes of Nabi, Rashid, Mohammad Shahzad, Dawlat Zadran and captain Asghar Stanikzai (the latter trio were unsold in this auction) they have genuine stars of the game already inspiring the country’s cricket mad youth.
Afghanistan has well and truly led the way across all fronts for Associate Nations in recent years and both the UAE and Suri are now sampling a little of those delights.
Hopefully, this can be the start of something fantastic for cricket within the smaller borders of its reach, the latest battle won by Associate Nations proving they are willing and able to punch above their weight.
The biggest draw of the IPL auction was England all-rounder Ben Stokes who was bought by the Rising Pune Supergiants for INR 1450 lakh which is a record for a foreign player at any IPL auction.
There was a lot of demand for English players, with left-arm pacer Tymal Mills fetching INR 1200 lakh. Mills will star alongside the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers at the Royal Challengers Bangalore this season.
All-rounders and fast bowlers were among the popular picks with South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada, New Zealand’s Trent Boult, Australia’s Pat Cummins and England’s Chris Woakes all going for huge sums of money.
For the first time in IPL history, Afghanistan and UAE players were picked at the auction. Afghanistan duo of Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan will represent defending champions SunRisers Hyderabad while UAE’s Chirag Suri will turn out for the Gujarat Lions.
The biggest surprise was that Imran Tahir, the number one bowler in the world in both ODIs and T20Is currently, went unsold.
Here is the list of all the players who were sold at the IPL 2017 auction.
|Player||Team||Price - in INR|
|Martin Guptill||KXIP||50L [Dh274k]|
|Eoin Morgan||KXIP||200L [Dh1.1m]|
|Jason Roy||GL||100L [Dh550k]|
|Saurabh Tiwary||MI||30L [Dh165k]|
|Pawan Negi||RCB||100L [Dh550k]|
|Angelo Mathews||DD||200L [Dh1.1m]|
|Ben Stokes||RPS||1450L [Dh7.9m]|
|Corey Anderson||DD||100L [Dh550k]|
|Chris Jordan||SRH||50L [Dh274k]|
|Nicholas Pooran||MI||30L [Dh165k]|
|Nathan Coulter-Nile||KKR||350L [Dh1.9m]|
|Kagiso Rabada||DD||500L [Dh2.7m]|
|Trent Boult||KKR||500L [Dh2.7m]|
|Tymal Mills||RCB||1200L [Dh6.6m]|
|Pat Cummins||DD||450L [Dh2.5m]|
|Mitchell Johnson||MI||200L [Dh1.1m]|
|Ankeet Bawane||DD||10L [Dh55k]|
|Tanmay Agarwal||SRH||10L [Dh55k]|
|Aksh Deep Nath||GL||10L [Dh55k]|
|Mohammad Nabi||SRH||30L [Dh165k]|
|K Gowtham||MI||200L [Dh1.1m]|
|Rahul Tewatia||KXIP||25L [Dh137k]|
|Praveen Dubey||RCB||10L [Dh55k]|
|Aditya Tare||DD||25L [Dh137k]|
|Eklavya Dwivedi||SRH||75L [412k]|
|Aniket Choudhary||RCB||200L [Dh1.1m]|
|T Natarajan||KXIP||300L [Dh1.6m]|
|Nathu Singh||GL||50L [Dh274k]|
|Navdeep Saini||DD||10L [Dh55k]|
|Basil Thampy||GL||85L [Dh467k]|
|M Ashwin||DD||100L [Dh550k]|
|Tejas Singh Baroka||GL||10L [Dh55k]|
|Rashid Khan||SRH||400L [Dh2.2m]|
|Pravin Tambe||SRH||10L [Dh55k]|
|Chris Woakes||KKR||420L [Dh2.3m]|
|Karn Sharma||MI||320L [Dh1.8m]|
|Rishi Dhawan||KKR||55L [Dh302k]|
|Matt Henry||KXIP||50L [Dh274k]|
|Billy Stanlake||RCB||30L [Dh165k]|
|Jaydev Unadkat||RPS||30L [Dh165k]|
|Ben Laughlin||SRH||30L [Dh165k]|
|Varun Aaron||KXIP||280L [Dh1.5m]|
|Manpreet Gony||GL||60L [Dh329k]|
|Mohammed Siraj||SRH||260L [Dh1.4m]|
|Rahul Chahar||RPS||10L [Dh55k]|
|Saurabh Kumar||RPS||10L [Dh55k]|
|Asela Gunaratne||MI||30L [Dh165k]|
|Daniel Christian||RPS||100L [Dh550k]|
|Rovman Powell||KKR||30L [Dh165k]|
|Darren Sammy||KXIP||30L [Dh165k]|
|Rinku Singh||KXIP||10L [Dh55k]|
|Munaf Patel||GL||30L [Dh165k]|
|Shashank Singh||DD||10L [Dh55k]|
|Milind Tandon||RPS||10L [Dh55k]|
|Kulwant Khejroliya||MI||10L [Dh55k]|
|Chirag Suri||GL||10L [Dh55k]|
|R Sanjay Yadav||KKR||10L [Dh55k]|
|Shelley Shaurya||GL||10L [Dh55k]|
|Shubham Agarwal||GL||10L [Dh55k]|
|Ishank Jaggi||KKR||10L [Dh55k]|
|Rahul Tripathi||RPS||10L [Dh55k]|
|Pratham Singh||GL||10L [Dh55k]|
|Lockie Ferguson||RPS||50L [Dh274k]|
|Manoj Tiwary||RPS||50L [Dh274k]|
|Darren Bravo||KKR||50L [Dh274k]|
|Sayan Ghosh||KKR||10L [Dh55k]|
The 22-year-old went for his base price of 10 lakhs and will now rub shoulders with the likes of Lions skipper and India international Suresh Raina and former New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum.
His purchase means Suri has become the first UAE player to be selected and the former Under-19 international is thrilled to test himself in the elite competition.
“This is my biggest achievement so far. It’s one of the biggest things that’s happened in my life and something I’m looking forward to,” Suri told Sport360.
“I was watching the auction all day from 08:00 with my mother and father and am just grateful for them.
“It’s going to be a privilege to be playing with Suresh Raina and all these world-class players and for me it will be an opportunity to learn more.”