Auction strategy comes of age

The franchise owners preferred to invest in domestic players who have either shown a glimpse of their talent in the IPL or are future prospects.

Mumbai Indians spent more than six crore to acquire wicket-keeper-batsman Ishan Kishan.   -  Rajeev Bhatt

The trend in a majority of the previous Indian Premier League (IPL) player auctions used to be that of reputation mattering more than the skill. However, over the last two days, as the eight IPL franchises spent a cumulative sum — more than India's mission Chandrayaan — it emerged as if the teams have got wiser when it comes to spending big bucks on the players.

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It reflected in the fact that veterans like Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Gautam Gambhir who seem to be in the twilight of their cricket sojourns fetched a combined tally of less than seven crore. Similarly, Chris Gayle had to wait for the final few minutes of the auction to attract a bid. Whereas, Lasith Malinga, the highest wicket-taker in the IPL history, found no takers in what was only his second auction appearance.

Similarly, India's fading stars like Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar were not even shortlisted for the accelerated auction. Even the Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ishant Sharma, not for the first time, remained unsold.

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Instead, the franchise owners preferred to invest in domestic players who have either shown a glimpse of their talent in the IPL or are future prospects. Kolkata Knight Riders, for instance, went all the way for current Under-19 World Cuppers Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi; Mumbai Indians spent more than six crore to acquire wicket-keeper-batsman Ishan Kishan and Rajasthan Royals in a stark contrast to its history loosened its purse and dolled out huge sums to sign offie K. Gowtham and dashing batsman Rahul Tripathi.

That the uncapped players fetched higher price tags was largely due to the IPL authorities' decision to list them on the first day of the auction. But the fact that the franchises preferred the younger blood over ageing stars is an indication of skills and fitness starting to outweigh glorious past.

IPL squads in a nutshell

CountryAuctionBuys Retained
India11312125
Australia1729
South Africa8210
England808
West Indies729
New Zealand707
Afghanistan404
Bangladesh202
Sri Lanka 202
Nepal101

 

Total 169 18 187

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