Much before the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction got underway on Thursday, the eight franchises knew what their immediate targets were -- to fill in the gaps with some fast bowlers and power hitters, who would make an impact.
And as a result, Australian pace ace, Pat Cummins, emerged as the richest overseas player in the history of the tournament as he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for a jaw-dropping Rs 15.5 crore.
All this while, England all-rounder Ben Stokes remained the most expensive foreign buy after he was signed for Rs 14.5 crore by the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017. However, on Thursday, the Knight Riders ensured it went ‘all out’ to bring the ‘old Knight’ home and set a new record.
With a base price of Rs 2 crore, Cummins triggered a bidding war with Delhi Capitals pushing the bid to Rs 2.4 crore. However, Royal Challengers Bangalore joined in and the bid swiftly soared past Rs 5 crore, with RCB in the lead briefly at Rs 5.25 crore.
RELATED: AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS
Cummins eventually returned to KKR -- a franchise he had featured for in 2014 and 2015.
Even though the Aussie has not played the IPL since 2017, the Knight Riders team management was happy to get him back. “He was the best player in the auction. We are delighted to have him,” KKR’s head coach McCullum said.
For KKR, however, it was about getting the ‘old Knights’ back.
Ahead of the auction, the franchise CEO, Venky Mysore, indicated that the franchise is ready to welcome its former recruits and that approach was evident as it roped in Eoin Morgan. The England’s World Cup-winning captain -- who had previously played for the Knights -- fetched just Rs 5.25 crore and Knights looked excited to bring its old ward home.
However, McCullum made it clear that he won’t replace Dinesh Karthik as the captain. “He will fill that really important No. 4 batting position for us. He is going to be a fine asset coming back to Kolkata. We are really pleased to get him. He’s in the form of his life. He’ll be a fine asset coming back to Kolkata,” the new coach said.
Among West Indies players, Sheldon Cottrell was bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs. 8.5 crore, while Shimron Hetmyer went to Delhi Capitals for Rs 7.75 crore.
Defending IPL champion Mumbai Indians, surprisingly, shelled out Rs 8 crore to secure Nathan Coulter-Nile, fending off a bidding war with Chennai Super Kings.
If Knight Riders wanted to bring back its tried and tested players, it was a similar story for Kings XI Punjab. Under a new coach, Anil Kumble, and captain K.L. Rahul, the franchise went ‘all out’ to get Australian Glenn Maxwell on its roster. Coming at a base price of Rs 2 crore, Maxwell returned to the Kings for a whopping Rs 10.75 crore. Returning to mainstream cricket after a break due to mental health issues, there were apprehensions on whether he will be a preferred choice for the franchises, but his track record as a power hitter saw him fetch big money.
However, Royal Challengers Bangalore sprang in a surprise by spending Rs 10 crore on South African all-rounder Chris Morris -- who was released by Delhi Capitals this year.
Even though there were 73 slots up for grabs, the franchises decided to play it safe as a total of 62 players were bought -- of which 29 were foreigners and 33 were Indians -- for a total price of Rs 140.30 crore.
“These days, it is easy to maintain a shorter squad strength. That’s something most of the franchises are following these days and that was evident in this auction as most of the franchises kept a few slots open,” one of the franchise officials said.
While the overseas players had a field day, some of the seasoned Indian cricketers too made their presence felt. Spinner Piyush Chawla -- who was released by Kolkata Knight Riders this year -- was bought by Chennai Super Kings for Rs 6.75 crore, while Robin Uthappa went to Rajasthan Royals for Rs 3 crore.
Interestingly, Jaydev Unadkat -- who was the highest buy for the last two seasons -- went back to Rajasthan Royals for a far lower price of Rs 3 crore.
“The dynamics of the auction are to fill a few gaps. JD is one of India’s finest bowlers. He fills a very specific slot. We are very pleased to have him back,” Royals’ lead owner, Manoj Badale, said.
India’s young uncapped players -- Varun Chakravarthy, Ravi Bishnoi and Yashasvi Jaiswal -- too made big money.
A year after attracting the joint-highest bid with Unadkat for Rs 8.4 crore, Tamil Nadu mystery spinner Chakravarthy earned the highest bid among uncapped Indian players as he was bought by KKR for Rs 4 crore.
Having set himself at a base price of Rs 30 lakh, Varun attracted intense bidding between Royal Challengers Bangalore and KKR. India’s U-19 bowler, Bishnoi, was bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 2 crore -- 10 times his base price of Rs 20 lakh. Mumbaikar and 17-year-old Jaiswal went to Rajasthan Royals for Rs 2.4 crore.
However, it was surprising to see some of the international stars like Colin de Grandhomme, Alzarri Joseph failing to find any bidders.
But then, that’s what IPL auction is all about -- predictions seldom matter here!
- Pro Kabaddi League 2023 Live Updates, Bengaluru Bulls vs Haryana Steelers: Saurabh’s Bulls faces Mohit’s Steelers, UP Yoddhas vs Telugu Titans up next
- India vs England 2nd Women’s T20 Live Score: ENG-W wins toss, elects to bowl first; Titas Sadhu comes in for IND-W
- WPL 2024: Top five buys from Women’s Premier League auction - Sutherland to Kashvee
- East Bengal vs Punjab FC LIVE Score, EBFC v PFC, ISL 2023-24: Match updates and preview
- BWF Guwahati Masters: Ashwini and Tanisha steal the show; Malvika loses in singles semifinals