The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a pioneer in franchise cricket for over a dozen years and there is not another league that comes close to the unequaled quality of cricket, the pool of talent, and the overall glitz of the T20 League. Unlike international cricket, the squadrons in the IPL are not distributed based on nationality or geography, but a distinctive mechanism in the name of the auction.
While the performance of players on the field is paramount for a team’s success, plenty of how the team will fare relies on the tactics and strategy adopted by their respective think-tanks during the auction too. Though the auction for the IPL 2021 was planned as a two-day affair with all the teams undergoing a complete overhaul, the Coronavirus pandemic led the auction for the 14th edition to be a ‘mini’ auction where 292 players – 164 Indian, 125 foreign, 3 associate nation – went under the hammer for 61 slots.
The varied purses, different shopping demands, and non-identical number of slots meant that all the franchises were on their toes to strategize their buys to fill every possible loophole in their units, however, much like the previous auctions, there were both: some prolific, value-for-money buys and a few questionable ones.
The best and worst buys of IPL Auction 2021
1. Royal Challengers Bangalore
Best Buy: Glenn Maxwell
The Royal Challengers Bangalore broke the bank to grab the services of Glenn Maxwell. Maxwell had a shocker IPL 2020 and a rather underwhelming BBL 2021, although that did not deter RCB from spending a staggering INR 14.25 Crores to occupy his services. RCB’s over-reliance on the Virat Kohli-AB de Villiers duo has been a perennial concern and despite no dearth of ballast in their batting order, the struggle in the middle-phases last year was evident.
Not only is a lineup comprising of Kohli, De Villiers, and Maxwell the most daunting, but the addition of the Australian star will give both their mainstays some breathing space. Besides that, Maxwell adds immense value to any side with his handy off-spin and gun fielding.
Worst Buy: Kyle Jamieson
The New Zealand pacer has hogged the limelight after some consistent and match-winning performance for his team at the international level. Jamieson was one of the players to watch out for in this year’s auction, although by the end of it, he is a player being eyed for entirely different reasons. RCB went bonkers, spending a mind-boggling 15 Crore to occupy the services, making him the fourth-most expensive buy in the league’s history.
While his addition undeniably adds strength to RCB’s death bowling – a never-ending bone of contention – the price offered to a player priced at INR 75 Lakhs makes little or no sense. Therefore, if not in terms of performance, in terms of auction strategy, Jamieson is indeed RCB’s worst buy.
2. Kolkata Knight Riders
Best Buy: Shakib al Hasan
The last season for the Kolkata Knight Riders was a mixed bag and despite creating some spark, they failed to capitalize, hence their fifth-spot finish. They had the joint-lowest purse for the auction and that demanded caution and vigilance from them in wherever they decided to put their money. Roping in Shakib al Hasan for INR 3.2 Crores, Kolkata have gifted themselves an adroit all-rounder, and they now have a competent asset to look at, apart from the Caribbean all-rounder pair of Andre Russell ad Sunil Narine.
Worst buy: Harbhajan Singh
After going unsold in the first round of auctions, Harbhajan attracted a bid at his base price in the accelerated round. There is no question about the capability of the veteran spinner, who is a star in the IPL, having played a whopping 160 matches with 150 wickets to his name.
However, at 40, the old Harbhajan is long gone, and in a squad with more than a handful of spinners, including the recent-most acquisition of Shakib al Hasan, Harbhajan’s role does not look too bright. More importantly, he has stayed away from professional cricket for a long duration and even opted out of the last edition of the IPL citing reasons.
3. Chennai Super Kings
Best Buy: Moeen Ali
The Super Kings’ uncharacteristic struggle in the last edition, when they finished seventh, raised quite a few eyebrows. While the rare failure can be attributed to the absence of two of their major cogs (Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh), the Super Kings left a lot to be desired even otherwise.
They had a solitary overseas spot to fill through this auction, and they occupied Moeen Ali for INR 7 Crores. Given that they no longer have Harbhajan Singh (released) and Shane Watson (retired), Moeen’s power-hitting and finger-spin adds the much-needed balance to their squad.
Worst Buy: Krishnappa Gowtham
Krishnappa Gowtham was brought for a staggering sum of 9.25 Crore by the Chennai Super Kings: over 46 times his base price of 20 Lakh. The Karnataka all-rounder, who has 186 runs from 24 IPL matches has done little to justify such a mind-boggling expenditure by the franchise, which has also made him the most expensive uncapped Indian player in the IPL history. It remains to be seen what will be his role in a side decorated by distinguished all-rounders such as Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, and Sam Curran.
4. Mumbai Indians
Best Buy: Nathan Coulter-Nile
The five-time champions, who have won two on the bounce, had the most settled unit going into the mini-auction. With 7 slots available, of which four were overseas, the Indians’ strategy at the auction made complete sense. Having released two key pacers – James Pattinson and Nathan Coulter-Nile – before the auction, they bought back the latter for INR 5 Crore: 3 Crores lesser than what they paid for him last year. Coulter-Nile can act as a backup for Trent Boult, and should the need arise, he can prove lethal with his aggressive batting lower in the order.
Worst Buy: Arjun Tendulkar
There were ample whispers around a certain Tendulkar even before the auction’s date was finalized. Sachin Tendulkar remains to be the undisputed god of cricket and even as there is none to dispute that, quite clearly, the purchase of Arjun Tendulkar was an emotional buy by the Mumbai franchise.
This is not to bring any discredit to the youngster, who made his debut for the senior Mumbai T20 team in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and made another notable contribution (77 from just 26) in a local tournament in Mumbai recently. However, in the two T20s he played in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, Arjun picked up two wickets with a best of 1 for 33.
5. Sunrisers Hyderabad
Best buy: Mujeeb ur Rahman
Sunrisers Hyderabad had little to shop after they retained no less than 22 members of their squad that featured for them, last year. With only 10.75 Crores in the bank, they slotted in Mujeeb ur Rahman for INR 1.5 Crore to bolster their bowling cortex significantly. Given that they possessed only Rashid Khan and Shahbaz Nadeem as designated spinners, their recent acquisition is perfectly suitable for their need. Alongside his Afghanistan counterparts Mohammad Nabi and Rashid, Rahman, known for his frugal economy, will almost certainly pose a threat to the opponents.
Worst buy: Kedar Jadhav
Much like his old Chennai counterpart, Harbhajan Singh, Kedar Jadhav failed to attract any bidders to his name in the first round of the IPL auctions. Although, Sunrisers Hyderabad showed interest in the late bids, slotting him in for his base price of INR 2 Crore.
Quite notably, Jadhav received some serious flak for his lackluster performance in 2020, where he scored merely 62 runs in 8 matches at a strike rate lower than 100. After a forgettable season, he will be eager to get going with his new franchise, however, SRH’s strategy behind parking their money with Jadhav left many scratching their heads.
6. Rajasthan Royals
Best Buy: Liam Livingstone
Rajasthan Royal had a whopping purse of INR 37.85 Crore going into the auction after a wooden-spoon finish in the previous season. Ahead of the auction, Rajasthan took a few bold steps as they released their skipper Steven Smith, handing the captain’s hat to Sanju Samson. Having traded Robin Uthappa to Chennai Super Kings, and a not-so-impressive last season of Yashasvi Jaiswal meant they were in serious need of an aggressive top-order batsman. In Liam Livingstone, who is coming on the back of an impressive BBL season, they ticked off each of the boxes, that too, at a meager sum of INR 50 Lakhs.
Worst buy: Chris Morris
The Punjab Kings went hammer and tongs for Chris Morris, splashing him with money from the top to bottom. Sold to the franchise for a flabbergasting sum of INR 16.25 Crores, Morris broke Yuvraj Singh’s long-standing record of being the most expensive IPL purchase (16 Crore).
Released by the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who had an option of retaining him for 10 Crores, the idea of spending as many as 16.25 Crore on Morris is quite baffling. Morris, who scored merely 35 runs from 5 innings and took 11 wickets in 9 games in the last edition, has not been active in international cricket and the last he took the field was November 2 against the Delhi Capitals.
7. Punjab Kings
Best Buy: Dawid Malan
No other team had a purse heavier than the rechristened Punjab Kings – formerly Kings XI Punjab. After a roller-coaster last season, where they failed to qualify despite scripting an incredible redemption, they had plenty to do at the auctions. After releasing some premium players from their mix, Punjab grabbed a steal-deal at the mini-auction, roping in the number one T20I batsman, Dawid Malan, into their star-studded line of batsmen, which includes last year’s leading run-scorer, KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, and Chris Gayle.
Worst buy: Riley Meredith
In an ideal scene, Riley Meredith would not have been a bad pick. And perhaps still is not, in terms of what he can do with the ball. The express pacer from Australia had an impressive season of the Big Bash League recently, where he bagged 16 wickets at an average of 24.62, conceding runs at an economy of 7.83, despite bowling the majority of his overs in the powerplay.
Although, even he would not have expected a bid of INR 8 Crores, against a base price of INR 40 Lakhs, becoming the fifth-most expensive uncapped player in the league.
8. Delhi Capitals
Best Buy: Steven Smith
The last year’s IPL runners-up Delhi Capital boast a robust setup of Indian internationals in their batting lineup. Although, bar Ajinkya Rahane, all the remaining ones are dashers, and the addition of a controller like Steven Smith, who can also lead the side if such need arises, has added a hint of balance to their side. Even though Smith did not have a memorable last season, his level-headed approach and the experience will bode well for any team looking to beef up its middle-order.
Worst buys: Tom Curran
Despite an underwhelming IPL season last year, where the English right-arm pacer, Tom Curran, managed to scalp only three wickets from five games at a miserable average and economy rate of 69.33 and 11.45, respectively, the Delhi Capitals looked least hesitant while battling the bidding war with Sunrisers Hyderabad, eventually shelling out INR 5.25 Crores against Curran’s base price of INR 1.5 Crore.
Furthermore, the presence of as many as three premium pacers in Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Ishant Sharma, makes the call to pick Curran all the more questionable.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
SportsInfo offers cricket, soccer, kabaddi, tennis, badminton, racing, basketball and other sports news, articles, videos, live coverage & live scores, player rankings & team rankings. Also, offers minute details of any match along with live commentary.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar – The warhorse India needs the most in 2021
- Hemang Badani not pleased with Varun Chakravarthy after the spinner fails to clear fitness tests ahead of the England T20Is
- ‘Six 6s, Adelaide 36’ – Ravi Shastri shows Indian cricket’s unique connection with number 36
- ‘Let Rishabh Pant be Rishabh Pant’ – Rohit Sharma backs the left-hander to come good against England in the T20I series
- India vs England: Wasim Jaffer predicts the hosts’ probable playing eleven for first T20I