Some big international names as well as some highly-rated local talents were up for grabs in the Indian Premier League [IPL] auction in Bengaluru on Monday.
A few teams did good business and made some smart buys, while others seemed to have been caught on the back foot and although most teams seemed content, there were a few surprising names that were left unsold and could have bolstered any side without too much of a hole in the pocket.
Putting all this into perspective, here are five key talking points from the IPL 2017 auction.
While this was obvious given that it wasn’t the mega auction we’re used to and most teams were out to fill a few gaps rather than rebuild their entire squads, each franchise contrasting strategies in the auction.
For instance, Kolkata Knight Riders wanted to bank big in the bowling department and went all out for the signatures of Trent Boult, Chris Woakes and Nathan Coulter-Nile. They turned out to be the only side that looks bowling heavy and chosen to put faith in their Indian batsmen rather than foreign imports.
Kings XI Punjab were more tilted towards players available at low cost and, with the exception of Varun Aaron, pulled out of many bids despite having the most money available in the bank.
Delhi, on the other hand, were in for more all-rounders despite having plenty of them already in the squad.
The Sunrisers didn’t go for big names and were looking at utility players which was evident in the purchase of the two Afghanistan players.
The Gujarat Lions preferred Indian talent, while Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rising Pune Supergiants went after the big names, splashing the cash on international stars.
DOING YOUR HOMEWORK
While few of the star names broke the bank, there were quite a few local Indian players that made it big in the auction.
Tamil Nadu paceman T Nagarajan was rewarded for his performances in the domestic circuit. Mohammed Siraj too reaped the benefits of impressing for Hyderabad.
SOME FLAWED TACTICS
While the IPL allows for teams to have a squad of anywhere between 16-27 players, not many of them get a chance to play and the core team mostly comprises of a set of 16-18 players.
Given these players are going to be at their current teams for just the one year with the retention policy still not clear, a lot of players will simply occupy seats on the bench. The teams could have done away with filling up their squads with 27 players and instead gone bigger on players they desperately needed.
A fully fit Corey Anderson > Ben Stokes in T20 #value— Scott Styris (@scottbstyris) February 20, 2017
Gujarat Lions missed out on a spinner, while DD added too many all-rounders without much need. KKR banked mainly on bowlers when their batting could have done with some reinforcement.
All-in-all there are a lot of teams without too much balance in their squads.
TOP STARS UNSOLD
While teams splashed out on a few select players, there were quite a few names that remained unsold despite them possessing some real quality.
Despite a dearth of Indian fast bowlers, Ishant Sharma, RP Singh and Irfan Pathan remained unsold.
Among the international players, No1 ranked T20I bowler Imran Tahir couldn’t find a suitor at INR 50 lakh while the Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan bagged INR 4 crore.
West Indians Marlon Samuels and Evin Lewis who are big T20 players too couldn’t find a team. And this is when a lot of teams needed reinforcements in those departments.
A few other names that many thought would get bids but missed out were Ross Taylor, Brad Hogg, Alex Hales, Prithvi Shaw, Manvinder Bisla and Michael Klinger among a few others.
FEEL GOOD STORY FOR AFGHANISTAN CRICKET
In the midst of some crazy bids and also some bargain buys, there was history made. Just as the clock struck 11.15 am IST, auctioneer Richard Madley called out Mohammad Nabi’s name. No previous Afghanistan player had found a suitor in the IPL and this was to be a historic moment.
With a base price of INR 30 lakh, SRH decided to go for the all-rounder and having been successful with the bid, not only did they create history but also made one of the bargains of the season.
Nabi became the first Afghanistan player to be bought in the IPL and was soon followed by countryman Rashid Khan who too will ply his trade for the David Warner-led outfit.
This year’s Indian Premier League will be graced, for the first time ever, by a UAE player; Chirag Suri.
That’s right, a UAE international will be mixing it with the big boys on Twenty20 cricket’s grandest stage.
And for those not familiar with Suri, we profile the UAE star bound for the IPL.
Are you looking forward to watching him in action?
IS HE EMIRATI?
No, Suri is actually a Delhi native but moved to the UAE in Grade Six aged six-years-old.
Now 22, Suri lives in Dubai with his family who headed to the UAE back in 2001, his dad establishing the RMF family firm that specialises in marble, granite and timber supplies.
WHICH SCHOOL DID HE GO TO?
When Suri arrived in Dubai, he first went to Dubai Modern High School in Nad Al Sheba.
He then moved next door to Repton School three years later in year nine.
WHAT CLUB DOES HE PLAY FOR?
Suri turns out for Sharjah Club, where he has enjoyed a stellar year with the bat.
WHAT DOES HE DO WHEN HE’S NOT PLAYING CRICKET?
Still in education, Suri studies at Heriot-Watt University in Dubai.
He graduates in November of this year from a BBA in Business and Administration.
WHEN DID HE MAKE HIS UAE DEBUT?
Suri’s full international debut came against Kenya as an 18-year-old in the UAE’s World Cup Qualifying campaign in New Zealand in the Super Sixes stage.
An under-19 World Cup followed, giving Suri the chance to be a future star across all formats.
Since then, it has been a trickier time for the cricketer on the international stage, where he has played just two more official UAE games.
WHAT KIND OF PLAYER IS HE?
Essentially, an elegant stroke-maker with resolute defence and sound technique.
Suri has long been seen as the UAE’s most promising four-day player and his game certainly lends to the longer formats.
As proven by a number of international players, however, a good technique can bring success in any aspect of the game.
WHO BOUGHT HIM AT THE AUCTION?
The Gujarat Lions took a punt on Suri, where he will join the likes of Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, Jason Roy and Aaron Finch.
That is some company to keep!
HOW MUCH DID HE COST?
An absolute bargain, Suri cost the Lions 10 lakhs (Dh55,000).
They should recoup that money in shirts bought in the UAE alone!
As is the case every year, some really big names went unsold in the Indian Premier League [IPL] auction on Monday.
What one must remember is that teams have very few slots to fill, so world-class players getting snubbed is more down to that rather than the ability of a particular player.
What did you make of the auction?
Ishant has showed some encouraging form for India in Test cricket lately, but found no takers this IPL. His very average economy rate may have played a part.
The No1 ranked bowler in T20 internationals, the South African was surprisingly not picked. He is the second fastest bowler to pick up 50 T20I wickets and has an excellent economy rate of 6.38.
Can't understand how Imran Tahir has gone unsold at the IPL. He is an asset to any team - and not just for his celebrations.— Firdose Moonda (@FirdoseM) February 20, 2017
Despite making a stunning 171 in an ODI late last year against Pakistan, the England opener and the ninth ranked batsman in T20Is, found himself out of favour with the IPL franchisees.
Once the blue-eyed boy of Indian cricket, Pathan will miss out on IPL action this year [unless roped in as a replacement later]. In 2011, he received a bid of $1.9 million from Delhi. It really is a wake-up call for the Gujarat player.
The man who played a vital role in two West Indies ICC World T20 wins did not receive any bid. Samuels hasn’t done anything of note since the 85 not out against England in the 2016 World T20 final.