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Takeaways from the 2018 IPL Auction

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IPL_Auction_Players_PriceThe two-day Indian Premier League (IPL) mega-auction concluded on the 28th of January in Bangalore. It was one of the most talked about and most followed auctions in recent times, with fans of all the franchises glued to every moment of this action-packed event.

There were 581 players in the fold and a maximum of 182 spots available for the eight franchises, each with a purse of 80 crore. Expectedly, there were quite a few unexpected twists and a lot of bustle in this event. Here are some of the notable takeaways from the IPL auction 2018.

The tale of the unsold players:

Every year, the IPL auction snubs a number of big names. This year was no different. In fact, some of the names that were overlooked this time round were quite shocking and would have easily made the eleven of many T20I sides.

The most prominent players who were passed over were Hashim Amla, Joe Root, Martin Guptill, Shaun Marsh, Mitchell McClenaghan and Lendl Simmons. All of these players had fine IPL stints last year and enjoyed good form recently. Other notable (though not as surprising) snubs include Lasith Malinga, Dale Steyn, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma and Rajat Bhatia. Chris Gayle almost made this list, but a late Kings XI Punjab bid got him for his base price of Rs. 2 crore.

Splurge for India’s U-19 and uncapped players:

The IPL auctions have come a long way. From being completely besotted with overseas and superstar players, now franchises have become more prudent and look to build their team by stocking up on young, Indian players. This year there was a windfall for India’s U-19 and uncapped cricketers.

Indian U-19 captain Prithvi Shaw and his teammates, star batsman Shubman Gill, exciting fast bowlers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi, got crore-plus deals.

Among the uncapped Indian players, names like Krunal Pandya (Rs 8.8 crore to Mumbai Indians), Ishan Kishan (Rs 6.2 crore to Mumbai Indians), K Gowtham (Rs 6.2 crore to Rajasthan Royals), and Siddarth Kaul (Rs. 3.8 crore to Sunrisers Hyderabad) were some of the noteworthy buys.

This is extremely good news for Indian cricket and will give these young Indian talents an opportunity to exhibit their prowess to the world.

All-rounders rule:

A good all-rounder will always be the most precious player for any T20 side, so it was no surprise when franchises went all out for acquiring some of the best all-rounders in the business.

England superstar Ben Stokes went for a whopping Rs. 12.5 crore to Rajasthan Royals. Mumbai Indians crammed their squad with Hardik Pandya, Kieron Pollard, Krunal Pandya, and Ben Cutting. Shakib Al Hasan and Carlos Brathwaite were bought by Rajasthan Royals while Chennai Super Kings got the game-changer Dwayne Bravo and veteran Shane Watson. Royal Challengers Bangalore were not too far behind and got Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali.

It was clear that the franchises really wanted to go with all-rounders as they have proven to be the X-Factor in the IPL consistently over the years.

Biggest buys and best steals:

Despite the controversies surrounding him, England all-rounder Ben Stokes was the costliest buy at the IPL auction for a second year running. Apart from him, Jaydev Unadkat and Manish Pandey fetched astronomical amounts at the auction. Left-arm medium pacer Unadkat was bought for a stunning Rs. 11.5 crore by Rajasthan Royals and stylish middle-order batsman Pandey fetched Rs. 11 crore from Sunrisers Hyderabad. Indian opener KL Rahul was sold to Kings XI Punjab for a mind-boggling Rs. 11 crore.

The other notable costly buys were star T20 batsman Chris Lynn and Australian speedster Mitchell Starc, both bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs. 9.6 crore and Rs. 9.4 crore respectively. Spending Rs. 9 crore on Glenn Maxwell made sense for Kings XI Punjab, but Kolkata spending Rs. 7.4 crore for wicket-keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik raised quite a few eyebrows.

Ridiculously large amounts of money were splurged in the auction, but some valuable players were also bought for pretty decent sums. South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir was obtained for his base price of Rs 1 crore by Chennai Super Kings. Bangladesh’s star fast bowler Mustafizur Rahman was bought for just Rs. 2.2 crore by Mumbai Indians and all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan went for only Rs. 2 crore to Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Afghanistan’s rise:

Afghanistan has been making rapid strides in international cricket of late. With the abundance of talent they boast, it was not surprising that the IPL franchises lined up for them. Last year, two players from Afghanistan were picked at the auction. This year, the number doubled as all-rounder Mohammad Nabi, along with Mujeeb Zadran and Zahir Khan – both U-19 cricketers – went for a fortune.

The famous leg-spinner, Rashid khan, had already been retained by Hyderabad and Nabi went to the same team for Rs. 1 crore. 17 year-old Zadran, a canny spin bowler, was bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs. 4 crore and left-arm wristspinner Zahir was obtained by Rajasthan Royals for Rs. 60 lakh.

It was another significant moment for Afghanistan cricket and their rising stock in the IPL demonstrates how far they have come in such a short time.

The arrival of Nepal:

17-year-old spinner Sandeep Lamicchane became the first player from Nepal to join the IPL. The youngster was bagged by the Delhi Daredevils for his base price of Rs 20 lakh. Lamicchane was the second-highest wicket-taker in the 2016 U-19 World Cup, where he snared 16 wickets in 6 innings. He is known to possess a lot of varieties and bowls decent lines.

Whether the Daredevils use him or not, there is no denying that the IPL is now truly going global and giving platforms to lesser known young cricketers from all over the world.

How the teams shape up:

At the end of the two-day auction, 169 players were bought and Rs. 431 crores were spent. The eight franchises bore a fairly similar look, with the exception of Kolkata Knight Riders who seem to have great bowling options but a rather thin middle order, with no solid batsman to lead.

Most of the franchises have learnt well from the past and spent wisely in building their teams. The squads have the right blend of youngsters, with hard-hitting top-order batsmen, quality all-rounders and wicket-taking bowlers.

Chennai Super Kings has invested a lot in past experience. Most of the players in their squad are over 30; the quality, however, is of the highest pedigree. Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad look to be the most balanced of the lot with the perfect mix of batsmen, bowlers and all-rounders in their setup.

Defending champions Mumbai Indians have a solid core and bat deep, while also having good bowling options. Kings XI Punjab did some aggressive bidding but their squad does not have a proper wicket-keeper and they also seem to lack consistent batsmen and genuine wicket-taking bowlers.

Royal Challengers Bangalore has too many batting options in their star-studded squad but still seem a little brittle in the bowling department. Rajasthan Royals have also made a pretty robust unit and have a great mix of star all-rounders, solid attacking batsmen and quality fast bowlers.

In sum, this was an event full of surprises, tension and action – exactly what you would hope for from an IPL auction. This was one of the better auctions in recent times and promises an exciting tournament in the coming months.

 

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