IPL 2019 review: Shreyas Gopal best bargain buy, Ben Stokes most expensive dud of season

Ajit Vijaykumar 16:47 13/05/2019
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The 12th edition of the Indian Premier League was an incredible season to say the least. Last-over finishes, super overs, ‘Mankading’, and the title decided off the final ball… it had it all.

As the teams that made the cut and those who failed take stock of the season, we look at players who provided the most bang for the buck and also those who performed nowhere near the salary they earned.

For analysis of best bargain buys, only those with a salary of less than $150,000 were considered while those commanding over $1 million were taken into consideration while looking into biggest duds.

Also players like KXIP’s Varun Chakravarthy and CSK’s Dwayne Bravo who had serious injury issues were not considered.

For comparison, the IPL’s most expensive players – Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Rohit Sharma – net over $2million.

Best bargain buys

1. Shreyas Gopal (Rajasthan Royals)

Salary: $29,000. Matches: 14. Wickets: 20.

Comfortably the most ‘valuable’ player of not only IPL 2019 but also among all-time best. The leg-spinner turned into a trump card for Rajasthan early on, dismissing RCB star batsmen Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers both home and away. An economy of 7.2 was incredible. Plus looked more than capable with the bat. A dream buy if there ever was one. Finished fourth among top wicket takers.

2. Imran Tahir (Chennai Super Kings)

Salary: $140,000. Matches: 17, Wickets: 26

The resounding success of IPL 2019. The 40-year-old leggie keeps getting better with age and aided by the supremely helpful track in Chennai, put in a monster season. At one tenth the price of many star names, Tahir had the biggest impact of the season as he took his team right to the cusp of IPL title.

Not only was he the highest wicket taker of the season, his economy of 6.6 was brilliant as well. Should demand a raise next season one way or the other.

3. Deepak Chahar (Chennai Super Kings)

Salary: $110,000. Matches: 17, Wickets: 22

Another bowler on the list – which is understandable since it’s a batsman’s game and hence they get the most money. Costing just $110,000, the right arm seamer became the go to bowler for MS Dhoni after frontline seamers Lungi Ngidi, David Willey and later Bravo became unavailable.

At the start of the season, batsmen simply played out his overs in the powerplay overs and even after the opposition started to go after him, Chahar managed an economy of 7.4 to go with the third-best wickets tally.

Most expensive duds

Ben Stokes. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Ben Stokes. Image: BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

1. Ben Stokes (Rajasthan Royals)

Salary: $1.8 million. Matches: 9, Runs: 123 Wickets: 6. Economy: 11.2.

Sadly, a disastrous season for the Englishman. Among the top five costliest players in the league, Stokes failed with the bat and ball. Not only did runs and wickets desert him, his economy rate was the worst among frontline bowlers.

After a tough 2017/2018 following the infamous Bristol bar brawl and with the 2019 World Cup on the horizon, a lot was expected from the Englishman. But it couldn’t have been a worse outing for him and Rajasthan, who were relying heavily on him. Luckily, he was called back to England for World Cup preparations early.

2. Andrew Tye (KXIP)

Salary: $1 million. Matches: 6. Wickets: 3. Economy: 10.5

Aussie quick Tye was the No1 bowler of 2018 with 24 scalps. But in one year, the Kings XI seamer has had an alarming dip in form. The master of the knuckle ball was carted around in the six matches at an economy of over 10.

Probably the million dollar tag this season got to him, as has happened to Rajasthan seamer Jaydev Unadkat among others over the years. But for a T20 specialist to fail at such a scale jeopardises his opportunities in subsequent seasons.

3. Kedar Jadhav (Chennai Super Kings)

Salary: $1.1 million. Matches: 14. Runs: 162.

The jack-of-all-trades turned out to be a master of none this year. Wasn’t bowled at all this season – probably to shield him ahead of the World Cup. That meant he only had his batting to fall back on and that failed miserably on some tough wickets at the start of the season. MS Dhoni bailed his team out with the bat time and again, which meant at least Jadhav didn’t face the pressure of failure like Stokes.

Hurt his shoulder and was ruled out of the playoffs, which capped a miserable outing. Not good news for a key India player ahead of the World Cup.

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