Thomas: 'Starc's exit not last-minute'

Royal Challengers Bangalore chairman Amrit Thomas denied that it was in the dark on Starc's plans until the eleventh hour. "It was planned. It was not last-minute," he said.

Amrit Thomas RCB CEO and BCCI CEO Rahul Johri

BCCI CEO Rahul Johri, right, and Royal Challengers Bangalore team chairman Amrit Thomas pose after attending a press conference during the Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction in Bangalore on Monday.   -  AP

Mitchell Starc's exit from RCB and his withdrawal from the 2017 IPL on the eve of the auction left the franchise with a big hole to fill on Monday. However, RCB chairman Amrit Thomas stated that he understood Starc's decision and that he bore the Australian no ill will. "When you have international players, you have to find a solution in the interest of the game," he said. "This was in the best interests of everybody given the kind of workload fast bowlers have. We love Starc. I hope he’ll be part of our plan as we go forward. Given the workload fast bowlers undergo, it’s hard. If we had insisted, he would’ve come in with that workload and increased the risk [of injury]. We did everything as per the regulations."

Thomas denied that RCB was in the dark on Starc's plans until the eleventh hour. "It was planned. It was not last-minute," he said.

Mumbai Indians 'not disappointed'

Mumbai Indians opened the fierce bidding for Ben Stokes and Tymal Mills but eventually missed out on both players. However, the team's owners denied that they were disappointed with the outcome. "When you enter an auction, you leave disappointment outside the room or your strategy doesn't go straight," said Akash Ambani.

"We are not disappointed. We always have back-up strategies. We're very happy with the players we have." Nita Ambani, meanwhile, was pleased to have re-signed Mitchell Johnson, a vital part of Mumbai's title-winning squad in 2013. "He did very well alongside Lasith Malinga in 2013 when we won. We're hoping he will repeat the same magic."

'Mills was a great buy'

RCB chairman Amrit Thomas was thrilled to have acquired the services of Tymal Mills after having parted ways with Mitchell Starc. "Bangalore is a small ground; it favours the batsmen. The average first innings score is 199, and second innings score is 190. We really needed bowlers with Starc not available," he noted.

"Tymal Mills was a great buy. We would have done whatever was required to get him. He's a T20 specialist in our estimate; our view is that he will be available (during England's ODI engagements)."

'Watch out for Powell': KKR chief Venky Mysore

KKR desperately needed a replacement for Andre Russell, and will have been relieved to get English all-rounder Chris Woakes. “Look at Woakes' stats; he's superb, in terms of wicket-taking, and economy rate," said Mysore. He can bowl up front and at the death. Trevor Bayliss (former KKR and current England coach) told us, 'He's very close to becoming a world class all-rounder'. Between Trent Boult and Chris Woakes, we have plugged all the holes.”

Little was known about Rovman Powell before KKR signed him for Rs 30 lakh, but Mysore hailed the 23-year-old Jamaican all-rounder's abilities. “People in Jamaica call him Junior Russell. Look out for him. We have seen him in the CPL, where we own a team, and he can do a lot with both bat and ball.”

KKR will not release Russell

Andre Russell is serving a one-year ban for a doping whereabouts violation, but the KKR management has no intention of letting him go. "He has received a sanction for what I would describe as an administrative error regarding the whereabouts clause," said KKR CEO Venky Mysore. "Unfortunately there was some slip-up and he didn’t report his whereabouts. He will remain with the squad and next year we have every intention to retain him in the squad."

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