Yuvraj Singh ready to fire for Mumbai Indians after Kings XI Punjab disappointment

Sudhir Gupta 20/12/2018
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In confident mood: Yuvraj Singh.

Veteran batsman Yuvraj Singh is eager to make amends for a disappointing stint with Kings XI Punjab when he turns out for Mumbai Indians in the 2019 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The 37-year-old could only muster a paltry 65 runs in six innings with the Punjab franchise in the 2018 edition and was subsequently released from his contract. The left-hander narrowly avoided going unsold in the recent IPL player auction at Jaipur before being purchased by Mumbai in an accelerated round later.

Yuvraj had entered the auction with an initial reserve price of approximately USD 214,000 and was ultimately sold at a reduced price of around USD 143,000.

Despite not being picked by any of the eight franchise in the first round of bidding, Yuvraj has revealed that he was confident of finding a suitor for his services.

“There was no disappointment as such. The reason is obvious. When you are putting together an IPL team, you will be looking at the youngsters. I am at the stage of my career where it could be presumed that I may be in the last stages. I had hoped that there would be buyers for me in the last round,” the 2011 World Cup winner told Mumbai Mirror.

At Mumbai, Yuvraj will be reunited with his former India team-mates Sachin Tendulkar (mentor), Zaheer Khan (director of operations) and Rohit Sharma (skipper). He believes that being around familiar faces could help his regain his best form.

“It will also be a familiar environment for me because Zak (Zaheer Khan), Sachin and Rohit are there. I have played a lot of cricket with them. I’m looking forward to playing with them again. When you have support, it motivates you to do well, it brings out the best in you,” he stated.

“Agreed, that the last season was not great. But the point was I played at different positions in four-five games. I was not given one position to bat. This year I am very keen to make the best of the opportunities that come my way,” Yuvraj continued.

Yuvraj will be joined at Mumbai by off-spinner Jayant Yadav who joined the franchise on Friday after a trade with Delhi Capitals (formerly Delhi Daredevils).

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Hazratullah Zazai and Manoj Tiwary among surprising omissions at IPL auction

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Hazratullah Zazai. Image: Afghanistan Cricket Board/ Twitter.

The IPL auction on Tuesday was limited in scope. A maximum of 70 players could be bought by the eight franchises, with just 20 slots for overseas players as a majority of the squads had been selected by the teams earlier in the year during the main auction.

Budgets were tight and some not so well-known names were in the auction pool, alongside retired stars and players released by the franchises. Even so, a few were expected to elicit interest from franchises. However, as is the case almost every year, the franchises sprang a few surprises with their decisions. Here are three players who were surprisingly overlooked.

MANOJ TIWARY

The India batsman has had a tough time holding on to his spot. When he was part of the national squad, opportunities were few and far between. In fact, in 2011 he scored an unbeaten century against the West Indies but ended up playing only two ODIs in the next three years. And now he has met with a similar fate in the IPL. The Bengal batsman was among the top performers in the 2017 IPL season for Rising Pune Supergiants. He was one of the architects of the team’s run to the final, scoring 324 runs. Also, in 2012 it was Tiwary who hit successive boundaries in a tense final over to win the IPL title for Kolkata Knight Riders.

However, in the auction for the 2019 IPL, Tiwary found no takers. He took to social media to ask the BCCI and IPL “what went wrong on my part”. And his anger seems justified as someone like Yuvraj Singh – who is well past his prime – continues to attract bids.

HAZRATULLAH ZAZAI

Hazratullah Zazai. Image - Cricket Ireland/Twitter.

Hazratullah Zazai. Image – Cricket Ireland/Twitter.

If you hit six sixes in an over in a T20, chances are T20 franchises will be after your signature. Afghanistan’s hard-hitting batsman Hazratullah Zazai hit six sixes in an over in the Afghanistan Premier League in Sharjah in October for Kabul Zwanan against Balkh Legends with a certain Chris Gayle in the opposition.

Before that, Zazai had cracked 124 from 55 balls opening the innings against Nangarhar Leopards with nine hits over the fence. And he is just 20. But his incredible six-hitting ability and superlative bat speed did not count for much as Zazai went unsold in the auction. You have got to question the reasoning behind the decision as Australia’s Ashton Turner got picked despite not having an exceptional record with the bat or ball in T20s.

ADAM ZAMPA

Adam Zampa. Image: BCCI

Adam Zampa. Image: BCCI

It is surprising that not one went for the Australian leg-spinner. Zampa had Indian batsmen in knots during the recent T20 series, picking up three wickets in two matches. He comprehensively deceived Virat Kohli, KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma in the series, which should have piqued the interest of some franchises. Zampa has an impressive record, picking up 19 wickets in 11 matches at an economy of less than eight.

But Zampa did not get any takers in 2019 auction even though leg spinners are integral to bowling in T20s in India. The only hope for Zampa is for a spot to open up before the IPL starts.

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IPL 2019: Million dollar man Varun Chakravarthy was expecting to be sold at base price

Sudhir Gupta 18/12/2018
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Varun Chakravarthy. Image - Siechem Madurai Panthers/Twitter.

There was no surprise bigger than Varun Chakravarthy in the 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction conducted at Jaipur on Tuesday.

Along with Jaydev Unadkat, Chakravarthy fetched the joint-highest sum in Tuesday’s auction with Kings XI Punjab shelling out $1.2 million for his services.

It completed an extraordinary turnaround for the mystery spinner who entered the auction with a base price of only $28,000. Just three years ago, the Tamil Nadu man was working for an architectural firm after giving up cricket at the age of 18.

Having found professional cricketing opportunities hard to come by, the now 27-year-old packed off his cricket kit to undertake a five-year course in architecture. However, cricket came calling once again for Chakravarthy at the age of 25 after he grew disillusioned with life in the corporate sector.

“I don’t know, I just built up so much pressure inside me and it blasted… I just quit. I walked in and right away said I want to stop working and I came back,” he told CricketNext about his decision to return to the sport.

“I told my parents that my mind was not there, I just wasn’t able to do it. They understood and supported me, although I didn’t know what I was going to do next. I dusted off my old kit bag which I hadn’t used for six years. I didn’t know anything else. I had to take up cricket again,” he continued.

It was the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) which catapulted Chakravarthy back into the limelight after he picked up nine wickets at an economy-rate of less than five for Siechem Madurai Panthers.

He continued that good form by finishing as the second highest wicket-taker in the recent Vijay Hazare Trophy and also made his Ranji Trophy debut for Tamil Nadu recently.

Even then, Chakravarthy did not expect to fetch such a lucrative sum in the IPL auction in his wildest dreams.

“I was following the auction and just saying ‘kadavule, kadavule’ (god, god) as the bidding went on. I thought the price was a bit too much, I didn’t expect it. I was thinking they’ll take me for my base price. I swear I was expecting only to be taken at the base price!” he revealed.

His fairytale turnaround now complete, Chakravarthy will now face the pressure of justifying his huge price tag when the IPL gets underway next year.

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