The Indian Premier League (IPL) auction for the upcoming edition of the IPL came to an end with Pat Cummins stealing the show as the Kolkata Knight Riders splashed out a record Rs. 15.5 crores for the Australia star in Kolkata on Thursday.
Cummins had been the subject of bids from both Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals before Knight Riders gazumped their rivals. The deal, worth roughly 2.2 million USD, makes Cummins the most expensive overseas buy in IPL history. The top-ranked Test bowler previously played in Kolkata in 2014 and 2015, along with Delhi Capitals in 2017. He missed the 2018 tournament with Mumbai Indians through injury.
Aussie pace spearhead Cummins has picked up 17 wickets, at an average of 29.35, in his 16 career IPL matches to date. He is joined at Knight Riders by England limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, whose reward for 2019 Cricket World Cup success is a much-improved deal.
Morgan, who is set to lead England again at the 2020 T20 World Cup, fetched INR 5.25 crore – more than double his wage for Kings XI Punjab in his most recent appearance in 2017. Meanwhile, Cummins was not the only quick to welcome a big contract on Thursday, as debutant Sheldon Cottrell went to Kings XI Punjab(KXIP) for INR 8.5 crore.
On the flip side, there were quite a few prominent, world-class players in extremely good form who didn’t arouse as much interest from franchises as expected. Some rather obvious buys as many experts predicted prior to players auctions didn’t go exactly as predicted. Many franchises ended up getting some players who are worth a lot more on current form and talent for a very cheap price.
Here’s taking a look at 5 steal deals from the IPL Auctions 2020:
Jimmy Neesham (KXIP)
New Zealand all-rounder James Neesham was acquired by the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Auction 2020. KXIP acquired Neesham for a meagre Rs. 50 lakhs. Neesham is Kings XI’s third major purchase after Australia all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and West Indies pacer Sheldon Cottrell.
James ‘Jimmy’ Neesham has been establishing his name as a dependable batting all-rounder in the past year and his presence was vital in New Zealand’s World Cup campaign too. His form seems to have worked as the Kings XI Punjab showed faith in him when no one else did.
His base price was Rs. 50 lakhs and the Kings XI enthusiastically placed their bid in no time. What could be considered surprising was that no other team was interested in Neesham, who can be an asset for his versatility. Neesham has played the IPL for the Delhi Capitals and the Kolkata Knight Riders previously. He has played 4 matches in the IPL (2014) but has only taken a single wicket. This stint with the Kings XI may rejuvenate Neesham’s IPL career.
The major reason for franchises not showing interest in Neesham is his lukewarm returns in the IPL so far. But KXIP and their fans won’t be complaining as they have got the explosive all-rounder who will be playing alongside the likes of KL Rahul, Chris Gayle and Glen Maxwell now.
Chris Lynn (Mumbai Indians)
Australian opening batsman Chris Lynn was bought by the Mumbai Indians at his base price of 2 crores. It came as a big shock when no other franchise showed interest in Lynn especially after his recent exploits at the Abu Dhabi T10 League where he was adjudged the Man of the series.
Lynn has represented Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) from 2014 to 2019, and he is currently the skipper for Brisbane Heat in the on-going Big Bash League (BBL). Lynn has played 163 T20s and scored 4434 runs in the format at an average of 32.36. He has a high score of 101 in this format. The Australian will add firepower to Mumbai Indians’ batting line-up with his experience and hard-hitting skills.
He has also played four One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and 18 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) for Australia. Mumbai Indians have won the IPL title in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. The Mumbai franchise have also clinched the Champions League Twenty20 title in 2011 and 2013. With Lynn in their side, their already strong and balanced squad gets even more potent.
Tom Banton (Kolkata Knight Riders)
Tom Banton has been turning heads with his performance in England’s domestic circuit. All of just 20, he was the second leading run-scorer in this season’s T20 Blast in England. Tom Banton scored 549 runs at a staggering strike-rate of 161.47. He made four half-centuries and a blistering 51-ball century against Kent. Tom Banton was prolific in 50-over cricket too, smashing 454 during Somerset’s successful Royal London Cup campaign.
Tom Banton has already started garnering attention from all over. He is currently a part of Brisbane Heat squad in the ongoing season of the Big Bash League and recently turned up for Qalandars in the Abu Dhabi T10 League.
The England starlet has now got an IPL deal too. Kolkata Knight Riders secured his services in the ongoing auction at his base price of INR 1 crore. Banton will have the guidance of his England captain Eoin Morgan at the Knight Riders. The two-time champions had signed up Morgan as their first player in the auction.
It was rather surprising to see no one else bid for him-especially the likes of Chennai Super Kings(CSK) and Rajasthan Royals(RR) who could have a dasher at the top of the order who is in blazing form off late. Anyways, KKR will be laughing all the way to the bank by getting Banton for a relatively low price of 1 crore. Everyone will be eagerly waiting for Banton to set the IPL ablaze with his batting exploits.
Isuru Udana (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
In the IPL 2020 Auction that was held in Kolkata on the 19th of December, the Bangalore-based franchise were busy right from the start of the proceedings. Though they were outbid by other teams for players such as Pat Cummins, Alex Carey and Rahul Tripathi, they made big buys in the form of Chris Morris (10 crores INR), Aaron Finch and Kane Richardson (4 crores INR each).
They bought Sri Lankan all-rounder at his base price of 50 lacs. Udana was unsold at the start of the players’ auction. His name came back in the second round of the ‘Accelerated Auction’ and he found a lone buyer in the form of RCB. A very smart move by the Virat Kohli-led side.
Udana has been a regular for Sri Lanka in the T20Is and offers a lot of variety with his slower balls and back of the hand delivery which can confuse the best of batsmen. His batting has also improved significantly in the past 12-15 months. Isuru played for MSL 2019 champions Paarl Rocks and in ten games he scored 95 runs and took 10 wickets.
For RCB he can be a good foil or backup for the likes of Pawan Negi, Moen Ali and Chris Morris. In case one of the three all-rounders fail or have a poor tournament, Udana can come into the picture. And at a base price of 50 lac, RCB have nothing to lose and everything to gain by buying Isuru Udana.
Chris Green (Kolkata Knight Riders)
A month ago, Australia’s Chris Green hit the headlines for signing the longest deal in the history of the Big Bash League (BBL). The Sydney Thunder off-spinner committed to the franchise for a whopping six seasons, speaking volumes about how he is a dependable player despite his reputation of being a modern-day globe-trotter. However, more importantly, the trust the franchise placed on Green shows why he is more than just a handy T20 player.
A crafty off-spinner capable of bowling in the powerplay overs, and a lower-order dasher, Green has become a star player in the BBL despite flying under the radar. Green’s path to cricket is unconventional- He went from playing no first-class cricket to a bit of 50-overs cricket and then turned into a full-on backpacker in the shortest format as Green opted for a freelance way before even attempting to go the usual route.
The off-spinner’s USP is his ability to restrain the big hits and rein in batsmen. An economy rate of 6.72 in this format after 75 matches justifies why he is a much-sought-after commodity in T20s. In the powerplay, that economy comes down further close to six.
His inclusion for a meagre price of 20 lacs into the KKR side makes their middle-order even more strong. They already have the likes of Nithish Rana, skipper Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell. Green adds that spin bowling all-rounder option, plus he can finish games too. His record in T20 franchise cricket so far would make him the biggest steal at the players’ auction.
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