Not going big-bang, as usual

Karun Nair at 75 lakhs was a steal.-K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

In the six years of the Indian Premier League’s existence, obscenely high amounts for players have been common-place. In the last big auction in 2011, 15 became millionaires. But now, teams seem a lot mature. This year, except for Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Karthik, big money buys were hard to spot. “Every franchise showed a mature strategy. You will find it hard to pick out a silly bid across the board,” was the refrain.

However, even in those times of big-bang purchases, the Rajasthan Royals were a subdued lot. So have they been in the latest auction. Given the fact that Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Shane Watson, Stuart Binny and James Faulkner were retained, their focus would have been on a few foreign reinforcements and a bunch of uncapped Indians.

On the first day of the auction, they went after the foreigners. Steven Smith, Tim Southee, Kane Richardson and Ben Cutting were picked up. Brad Hodge was bought back. Cutting’s selection at 80 lakhs might especially turn out to be a shrewd move for a fast bowler and more than capable lower order batsman. Abhishek Nayar was the only Indian, a surprising pick considering his not so impressive T20 record.

Indians, bowlers in particular, were to be bought on the second day and this, even after the auctions, remains a bit of a grey area. In the aftermath of the spot-fixing scandal, RR’s Indian bowlers — S. Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan and Siddarth Trivedi — were all suspended. It was imperative for them to be replaced. Iqbal Abdullah, Dhaval Kulkarni, Rajat Bhatia et al have come in but it remains to be seen if they are adequate enough. Karnataka’s impressive batsman Karun Nair at 75 lakhs was a steal. The hope is for other moves to turn out as astute, especially for a team mentored by Rahul Dravid.

THE TEAM

Players retained: Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Shane Watson, James Faulkner and Stuart Binny.

Players bought: Steven Smith (Rs. 4 crore), Brad Hodge (2.4), Rajat Bhatia (1.7), Tim Southee (1.2), Dhawal Kulkarni (1.1), Abhishek Nayar (1), Kane Richardson (1), Ben Cutting (Rs. 80 lakh), Karun Nair (75), Unmukt Chand (65), Iqbal Abdullah (65), Deepak Hooda (40), Dishant Yagnik (30), Kevon Cooper (30), Vikramjeet Malik (20), Ankit Nagendra Sharma (10), Rahul Tewatia (10), Ankush Bains (10), Amit Mishra (10), Pravin Tambe (10).

N. Sudarshan