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A Deal Well Done

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The second IPL auctions have come and gone by, and have resulted in a rather unusual set of purchases. Here’s evaluating the best and worst of the lot.

No.

Player

Team

Base Price

Final Bid

Ratings

1

Owais Shah

Delhi Daredevils

1,50,000

2,75,000

4.5

2

Tyron Henderson

Rajasthan Royals

1,00,000

6,50,000

4

3

Ravi Bopara

Kings XI Punjab

1,50,000

4,50,000

4

4

Jesse Ryder

Bangalore Royal Challengers

1,00,000

1,60,000

4

5

Jerome Taylor

Kings XI Punjab

1,50,000

1,50,000

4

6

Mohammad Ashraful

Mumbai Indians

75,000

75,000

4

7

Kevin Pietersen

Bangalore Royal Challengers

13,50,000

15,50,000

3.5

8

Andrew Flintoff

Chennai Super Kings

9,50,000

15,50,000

3.5

9

Paul Collingwood

Delhi Daredevils

2,50,000

2,75,000

3.5

10

JP Duminy

Mumbai Indians

3,00,000

9,50,000

3

11

Shaun Tait

Rajasthan Royals

2,50,000

3,75,000

3

12

Kyle Mills

Mumbai Indians

1,50,000

1,50,000

3

13

Thilan Thushara

Chennai Super Kings

1,00,000

1,40,000

3

14

George Bailey

Chennai Super Kings

50,000

50,000

3

15

Mashrafe Mortaza

Kolkata Knight Riders

50,000

6,00,000

2

16

Fidel Edwards

Deccan Chargers

1,50,000

1,50,000

2

17

Dwayne Smith

Deccan Chargers

1,00,000

1,00,000

2

 

4.5 on 5 purchases                                                                                          

Owais Shah. Why 4.5? Middlesex & England both have showcased his excellent batting performances.  At $2,50,000 he is a steal, given his consistency, particularly in the T20 format. His Domestic T20 stats (Avg 29, SR 135) only go to certify his brilliant form in the season. But what makes this a really good deal is the Delhi Daredevils’ team set up. With David Warner brought in early, the team already has a good number of explosive hitters in him, Sehwag and Gambhir. Shah floats in beautifully into the middle-order as a versatile batsman capable of playing both, a cool, stable run-accumulator, and a fiery, fierce finisher. With Collingwood and AB De Villiers also in the side, this gives the Delhi Daredevils a deliciously balanced line up, even if one or two of these players have to sit out on account of 4-international-players-only rule.

4 on 5 purchases

Tyron Henderson got the attention he deserved. And who more appropriate than the Rajasthan Royals – the team who rode their road to victory almost entirely on hidden gems - to have netted him following a closely fought bidding exercise. His domestic stats suggest phenomenal potential, (Bowl SR 21, Econ 7, Bat Avg 23, SR 152, 7 fifties) though acquired smartness by the franchises following the first season meant that he couldn’t possibly have come cheap.

Ravi Bopara (Econ 7.7, SR 18, Bat Avg 22, SR 122), another expert finisher from England, was picked up by the Kings XI Punjab. Though expensive, what makes him a perfect fit for Punjab is the fact that the team lacked a strong driving force lower down the middle order, to follow up on the strong starts provided by Yuvraj and Marsh higher up the order.

Jesse Ryder, a sound domestic batsman (Avg 28, SR 144) if his current form is anything to go by, was another unheralded purchase. Having done their PR + performance purchase for the season with Pietersen, the Bangalore Royal Challengers  seemed to go for a pure-performance based purchase.

Jerome Taylor (Econ 7, SR 11, Avg 13) came to the Kings XI Punjab after the auction had officially ended. But an event that preceded this and one that followed the next day has gone toward showing this purchase up as a bit of brilliant, insightful buying.

First, in an insane session of bidding, KKR and Punjab fought fiercely for Mortaza, and much to the player’s delight, coughed up $ 6,00,000 for his services.  In the light of that, for $ 1,50,000, with similar if not better utility, Taylor certainly seems like a steal. 

The next day, he picked up 5 wickets for 11 runs against England, leading to some sleepless Knights.

Mohammad Ashraful (Avg 18, SR 176) was another player who must have shut the news during the auctions and then resumed it. For the Mumbai Indians this is a good, inexpensive, joker-in-the-pack purchase, to add to the spark  the middle/ lower middle-order already has.

3.5 on 5 purchases

Pietersen (Avg 27, SR 144), the star of the auction, went to the team which needed the brand the most (read brand more than the performance) Bangalore Royal Challengers. One way to look at it is that adding both, the brand value and the standards of performance, still doesn’t make him worth the cost. But a counterview to that is that a significant part of the brand value is because of the cost.  Either way, whatever his stats may say, Pietersen’s ability to turn a match on its head makes this a decent buy.

Andrew Flintoff (Bowl Avg 17, Econ 6.5, Bat SR 139) went to the side that has always strived for balance, the Chennai Super Kings. All about this deal suggests a fantastic purchase except the price – perhaps he is a bit too expensive.  This may be more so in light of the fact that Chennai already has several superstars, and could have done with a cheap wildcard bet or two. Having said that, ‘have money, why not spend?’ is also a valid argument.

Another Englishman in the list, Collingwood (Bat Avg 22, SR 132, Bowl SR 10.3) was a quiet capture by the Delhi Daredevils. Once again, what makes this deal worth the money is the way it smoothly compliments Delhi’s batting prowess (as was discussed earlier with Owais Shah).

3 on 5 purchases

JB Duminy (Econ 7.7, Bowl SR 17, Bat Avg 31, SR 121) did well at the right time, in the right place. He is no-doubt in form and is everywhere when on the field. But how of much of this finds its way into his IPL performance is not a certainty, not for the price.  A good player, no doubt, but almost certainly overpriced. If he works, Mumbai Indians have a good all-round team. But if he doesn’t, they may look a little foolish.

Shaun Tait (Avg 14, SR 12, Econ 7) fits the Rajasthan Royal’s requirement of a bowler. But can he substitute Tanvir who was the Royal’s true trump card last season? Difficult. Still he is a good bowler, and with Henderson, they might make up lost ground.

Kyle Mills (Avg 28, SR 19) should combine well with Zaheer Khan for the Mumbai Indians. But there are several ‘if’s. Mills has just returned from injury and hasn’t had much impact in this form of the game in domestic cricket, or for his country.

Thilan Thushara (Econ 6.8, Avg 20, Bat SR 109) and George Bailey (Avg 34, SR 156, 4 fifties) went to Chennai Super Kings. Good move as far as the bench-strength is concerned. But with so many players fighting for places, it is difficult to see either of these two players getting much action. But they are good players, particularly Bailey, and very useful back-ups for when the first choices won’t be available due to their international commitments.

2 on 5 purchases

As the amount bid rose for Mortaza (6 wkts in 9 matches, Econ 9) every few seconds, the deal went from being smart to why-so-costly to really expensive. Kolkata Knight Riders needed a bowler after losing their Pakistani pacemen and Mortaza seemed to be a smart enough bet. It wasn’t quite so simple though, as they entered into a bidding war, and seemingly lost all sense of perspective.  A useful player, but he will have to be much more than just useful to justify the spending.

Deccan Charges got hold of Fidel Edwards (Avg 45, Econ 7.7) and Dwayne Smith (Bowl Avg 20, SR 15, Bat Avg 15, SR 144). They didn’t have to fight much though. Precious few bids came these players’ way. Either Hyderabad has a smart strategy which cannot be deciphered or their home-work just never happened. Shakib-Al-Hasan, who has been hugely consistent for Bangladesh, would have been a better buy than either of the two, or perhaps both put together. It is not that Edwards and Smith are bad players, but it is just that the Deccan Chargers really needed some established, proven performers to bolster their bowling, unlike, say, a Chennai Superkings who can play around with a few shots in the dark.



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