You somehow just knew that Corey Anderson would land up in Mumbai. Long before even the Kiwi all-rounder’s name propped up at the auction. Mumbai Indians simply had to get him after all, even if it entails him spending more time warming the bench than showcasing his destructive skills in the next IPL, like Glenn Maxwell did last year.
Eventually, the defending champions paid Rs 4.5 crore for Anderson, a tad less than what they had splurged on the Australian 12 months ago.
But like they always do-remember Kieron Pollard and Richard Levi-they had roped in the most sought-after pre-auction favourite.
Like Mumbai’s obsession with preordained stars, the characteristic personas of all the eight franchises came through in the players they chased or bought on the opening day of the auction.
- Chennai Super Kings for one remained their conventional selves, abstaining from any flashy buys and instead focusing on their formula of sticking with the tried-and-tested or the proven performers. They remained loyal to their star performers from previous seasons and got back Faf du Plessis and Mohit Sharma. Even the new players introduced were those with attested credentials in T20 cricket like Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum.
- The Chennai dressing-room as always remained closed for mavericks, much unlike the Rajasthan Royals’ one.
The former champs stuck with their diktat of opting for value-for-money signings. No pick of theirs from Wednesday symbolized it more than Steve Smith.
In fact, it made you wonder why the combative Australian all-rounder wasn’t already in the Royals camp. From his never-say-never competitive edge, the lack of inhibition in terms of doing the dirty work to his effectiveness as a dangerous floater, Smith is a typical Royals cricketer. Just like their other buys, Brad Hodge and Abhishek Nayar.
- Big-spenders RCB were as unabashed as ever in showcasing their owner’s bombastic personality, nearly emptying their coffers in the bargain. Especially so when they brought in Yuvraj Singh to complement their already burgeoning arsenal of powerplayers, not to forget his marketability quotient. There are never any half-measures with Mallya, and even the fast bowlers picked on the day were tearaways.
- Kolkata Knight Riders like going with flattish spinners for their low and slow wicket at Eden Gardens, and in Shakib al Hasan and Piyush Chawla they found great allies for Sunil Narine.
- Kings XI Punjab on the other hand stuck to their faddish tendencies by spending on the previous year’s headliners like Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson or a superstar well past his prime in Virender Sehwag. With their purses seriously curtailed, it’ll now be interesting to see if the same personas come through as brazenly on Day Two.
Bharat is a principal correspondent based in Mumbai