Another edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction came to an end on Thursday, which witnessed a lot of shocking moves from the franchises. The obvious targets of most clubs are very immediate and are not looking much into the future, which explains why they did not invest very heavily in youngsters like Rohan Kadam.
Pat Cummins ended up being the biggest winner of the day, bagging a contract worth INR 15.5 Crore. Some other fast bowlers like Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Morris and Nathan Coulter-Nile too received humongous paychecks, making up for very interesting squad permutations and combinations. We cannot say all franchises will be happy with the eventual outcome but definitely, most teams look strong on paper.
Here are the best and worst picks of each team for this edition:
1. Mumbai Indians
The four-time champions let go of 12 players and still didn’t have a lot of money with them going into this auction. They were going to be very cautious and selective, which was exactly the case. They signed six cricketers, two overseas in this edition and have a wallet of INR 1.95 Crore remaining. They’re once again a tough force to deal with.
Best pick – Chris Lynn
The first pick of the auction day, it came in as a huge surprise to the Ambanis as well that Chris Lynn came in unchallenged. They picked him up for his base price of INR 2 Crore, which sets up the tournament beautifully in their favour. They have a muscular top order capable of demolishing any bowling unit with this man’s addition and the MI fans are just waiting for their title defence to begin.
Worst pick – Nathan Coulter-Nile
After having as many as three fast bowling options among overseas cricketers, out of whom only one will be in the XI, Nathan Coulter-Nile was not a cricketer the Mumbai Indians needed. Yet, they snapped him in the auction for a whopping INR 8 Crore after getting into a bidding war with the Chennai Super Kings. Coulter-Nile might not get a single game in this edition.
2. Chennai Super Kings
The uncrowned kings of the Indian Premier League, the Chennai Super Kings lost the IPL crown off the final ball of the innings, by just one run. They have roped in some enforcements which could perhaps help them to strengthen their bid. CSK signed just four players, as many expected and spent a lot of money to bring in Piyush Chawla and Sam Curran.
Best pick – Josh Hazlewood
One of the best Test match bowlers in the world, Josh Hazlewood hasn’t been tried and tested much in the T20s. He definitely could get a few games with the CSK and that could help him rediscover the good form with the white ball. Hazlewood will not find the Indian conditions to be very supportive for the fast bowlers, but he is relatively experienced and is a great pick at his base price of INR 2 Crore.
Worst pick – Piyush Chawla
The team already had Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh and Karn Sharma as their primetime spinners, but they still went for Piyush Chawla who ended up costing more than INR 6 Crore. It could’ve made more sense had the side needed a spinner desperately, but just to add to a plethora isn’t going to help the side. Nevertheless, it could help MS Dhoni drop Imran Tahir and play a foreign pacer while playing Chawla in the XI.
3. Sunrisers Hyderabad
One of the sides which barely needed any additions to their squad, the Sunrisers Hyderabad were pretty clear that they wanted to target some youngsters and give them good contracts. In that pursuit, they travelled and ended up getting some of the most exciting young names from the Indian domestic circuit. Among the foreign names, they picked up Mitchell Marsh and Fabian Allen.
Best pick – Virat Singh
Virat Singh had a memorable campaign in the 2019 domestic circuit, scoring runs profusely in both the last limited-overs competition. The youngster from Jharkhand requires a little more attention to take his game to the next level, which is exactly what he gets with the Sunrisers. He will relish working with the likes of VVS Laxman and Trevor Bayliss.
Worst pick – Mitchell Marsh
Rising Pune Supergiant were the last team to own Mitchell Marsh and after them, this is the first time he received an IPL contract. He hasn’t been a regular feature in this tournament and it comes in as a surprise that the Sunrisers went after him. The younger of the Marsh brothers is definitely surplus to their requirements and could end up not getting a single game.
4. Rajasthan Royals
Rajasthan Royals’ co-owner Manoj Badale made it crystal clear that the club invests in players who they believe can fit into their ecosystem well and that’s one of the reasons they have gone for Jaydev Unadkat once again. They roped in 11 players in the auction, which includes 4 overseas cricketers. They got involved in some heavily bidding throughout the day and haven’t been as lucky as they would have wanted.
Best pick – Yashashvi Jaiswal
Yashasvi Jaiswal recently became the youngest cricketer to score a List-A double hundred and the tales of his development from rags to riches are already doing rounds on the internet. Jaiswal has shown outstanding technique and a great temperament for his age, making the franchises get into a bidding war to win him. The Royals will definitely back him to open at some stage of the tournament.
Worst pick – Tom Curran
Tom Curran is a fantastic talent who definitely will add great value to the side, but once again, he’s a cricketer in the side surplus to their requirement. Even in the wildest of imaginations, it is difficult to see Tom Curran getting a nod into the playing XI ahead of Jofra Archer, Andrew Tye or Oshane Thomas. It’ll be interesting to see how they utilize him.
5. Delhi Capitals
The Delhi Capitals already had a strong Indian core, which made it clear that they were going to target a lot of the overseas cricketers. They tried to rope in Chris Morris and Pat Cummins but failed in that pursuit. Nevertheless, they did win the services of Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey and Chris Woakes, who will add great value to the side instantly.
Best pick – Alex Carey
One of the best keeper-batsmen in the shortest format, Alex Carey has done exceedingly well in the last 24 months. The reward he earned was well-deserved and it might not come in as a surprise if he gets to play all the games for the Capitals. The Australian could be playing a crucial role for the side coming in the lower middle order, maybe one number behind Shimron Hetmyer.
Worst pick – Jason Roy
With Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Shikhar Dhawan already a part of the team, it made no sense for the Delhi Capitals to pick up Jason Roy in their side. Although they got him for their base price of INR 1.5 Crore, he might end up not playing a single game. They rather could’ve gone for another bowling option among the foreign bowlers.
6. Kolkata Knight Riders
The Kolkata Knight Riders produced the moment of the day when they entered the auction race for Pat Cummins out of the blue and eventually got him. They also roped in English skipper Eoin Morgan and this season’s most senior pick in Pravin Tambe. They have a very interesting mix of players, but once again, all eyes will be on the Caribbean duo of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell.
Best pick – Tom Banton
At INR 1 Crore, the young English cricketer is a bargain buy. A lot of experts were predicting a huge fight out between franchises for this young lad, which wasn’t the case eventually. Banton went unsold first and was later picked up in the accelerated process. Yet, he brings in a great opening option for Dinesh Karthik and we could witness two future stars in Tom Banton and Shubman Gill open for the side.
Worst pick – Nikhil Naik
Nikhil Naik played just one game last season for the Kolkata Knight Riders and looked all over the place. It doesn’t feel like the right-handed batsman has the temperament to make it big in this part of the cricketing world and although he came at his base price of INR 20 Lakh, he will not be adding any significant value to the club.
7. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Once again, it hasn’t been a very satisfying auction for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. They almost had Pat Cummins in their kitty before Kolkata Knight Riders came in out of the blue and stole him for a humongous INR 15.5 Crore. They roped in 8 cricketers, 6 of whom are overseas players. Shahbaz Ahmed and Pavan Deshpande are the only Indian recruits made by the side this season.
Best pick – Aaron Finch
Aaron Finch brings in tons of experience into the lineup and also will be a great help to Virat Kohli in decision making, having led the Australian unit so successfully in recent years. He is explosive at the top, but his IPL record doesn’t speak up for his true calibre. It’s not the easiest of clubs to go and perform straight away, but Finch will be under the limelight significantly throughout the tournament.
Worst pick – Kane Richardson
Not many expected Kane Richardson to get a bid this edition. The Australian pacer was a part of the World Cup squad this year and did get a few games as well, but wasn’t very impressive. He’s had a fair share of struggles in all formats recently and that is what surprised everyone to see two teams going at each other for his services. Richardson at the base price may have been a decent pick, but not at INR 4 Crore.
8. Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab have roped in 9 cricketers in this auction after starting the show with the best purse of the lot. They spent heavily on Sheldon Cottrell and Glenn Maxwell and at the end of the auction, they had INR 16.5 Crore remaining, most for any side this edition. They also appointed KL Rahul as their captain having lost out of Eoin Morgan to Kolkata Knight Riders.
Best pick – Jimmy Neesham
James Neesham is one of the best all-rounders in world cricket and with his medium pace, at the IS Bindra Stadium, he could be lethal. He can hit the ball a long distance with the bat and is capable of winning games by himself. Although he doesn’t have great experience of playing in the IPL, Neesham at INR 50 Lakh is a bargain of the highest order.
Worst pick – Chris Jordan
Did Kings XI Punjab need another all-rounder in Chris Jordan? Maybe as a backup but it is pretty clear that if a situation arises, James Neesham will be preferred ahead of the English pacer. Jordan definitely has the knack of providing some good death overs, but to spend INR 3 Crore on a player whose position in the playing XI is far from confirmed is not good enough.
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