IPL team owners will be like kids at a candy story at the mini auction in Bengaluru on Saturday. Bharat Sundaresan notes how some of the biggest names have provided the franchises with timely reminders of what they bring to the table, being in the pinkest of forms for their national teams.
Those setting off paddle wards
While the original marquee list includes 8 names, there will be a handful for whom the franchises will go hammer-and-tongs, and the zeroes will keep adding up at a T20esque run-rate.
Martin Guptill (50 lakh): With the auction set to begin during the innings break of the second ODI against Australia, Guptill will hope New Zealand bat first at Wellington. Just if anyone needs a reminder of the carnage that he can orchestrate, almost nonchalantly, with bat in hand. When you think of the many random foreign names that get picked up by the franchises, it’s rather unfathomable that the lanky right-hander has remained unsold for eight years. But the long-standing snub could explains his modest base-price.
Shane Watson (2 crore): The last time the Australian went under the hammer was during the very first auction in 2008. Ever since, he’s been Rajasthan Royals’ talisman, and was holding their reins last year before the suspension.
There were many who wrote him off but he’s regained the fancy of every franchise with a very timely 124 at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) with all of India watching.
Yuvraj Singh (2 crore): For the third year running, one of the features of the auction will be the ridiculous lengths teams go to to get Yuvraj. If RCB raised eyebrows by their 14 crore bid in 2014, Delhi took the cake paying Rs 16 crore a year later. And the six-sixes man only needed one hit over the ropes this time to set the pot stirring once more.
Jos Buttler (1.5 crore): Long before he started doing it on the big stage, Buttler was giving the puritanical English crowds a much-needed dose of cricketing blasphemy by producing shots that many in the old country hadn’t even envisaged. The ultra-aggressive right-hander, like he’s been showing in the last couple of years and especially during his thrill-a-minute ton at Bloemfontein, has transformed the England team in the shorter formats, and he looks set to single-handedly fix the long-standing turf-war between the IPL and English cricket.
Kevin Pietersen (2 crore): He might not be the KP of old in the eyes of those running the show in England. But the Ego still remains among the first names to be brought in whenever anyone around the world plans to start a T20 league. He was in outstanding form in 7 innings at the Ram Slam. Despite his previous disappointments in the IPL, he will be hot-property.
Make in India
Only 36 non-Indians will be bid for and purchased on Saturday, which means a majority of cricketers who will end the day with their pockets feeling heavier will be the home-grown ones.
Pawan Negi (30 lakh): Picked in a World Cup squad for the first-time ever a day before the auction. Negi’s stocks must have risen by a few zeroes the minute his name was announced.
Nathu Singh (10 lakh): A young tearaway, with a story to tell and a cheap price-tag will attract many bidders, and it won’t be surprising to see that 10 lakh multiply.
Akshay Karnewar (10 lakh): In a format that thrives on variety, you wonder why any team wouldn’t be keen on an ambidextrous spinner who alternates between off-spin and left-arm orthodox depending on the striker.
Pravin Tambe (10 lakh): Tambe’s fairytale IPL journey will see a new chapter when he gets bid for the first-time ever by owners some of who are almost his age if not younger.
The quest for El Dorado
Every year, there are those whose names fail to make a stir till they get announced during the auction.
Tabraiz Shamsi (10 lakh): The chinaman bowler from South Africa could well be the most Googled name at the end of the auction. He’s made news whenever he’s turned his wrists over, and was a star attraction during the CPL last year. KKR have a fetish for these mystery spinners.
Usman Khawaja (1 crore): For starters, there is no Mickey Arthur to ruin his India trips with homework assignments in the IPL. But after a season of scoring a century almost every time he walked out to bat, Khawaja is likely to be among the biggest buys this time.
Mustafizur Rahman (50 lakh): India’s tormentor-in-chief during their embarrassing series loss in Bangladesh last year might finally ensure that his passionate countryman have an IPL star of their own to gush over.
WITH each six he hit against the hapless Nepalese earlier this week—10 in all—Rishab Pant was sending franchises scurrying for their note-pads, to quickly pencil his name in. He isn’t the only one who would have turned heads during the U-19 World Cup.
Avesh Khan is tall, bowls quick and has a bright future. Mahipal Lomror is called the junior Gayle of the team, and also chips in with useful left-arm spin, while Ishan Kishan is likened by many to Virat Kohli. That RCB have chosen to retain Sarfaraz Khan is a sign of how much they value him, even if he doesn’t get a chance to set a price-tag for himself this time around.
What they have to offer:
* Washington Sundar (16) all-rounder
* Mahipal Lomror (16) all-rounder
* Avesh Khan (19) fast bowler
* Rahul Batham (17) all-rounder
* Rishab Pant (18) wicket-keeper & opener
* Ishan Kishan (17) wicket-keeper & opener
* Khaleel Ahmed (18) left-arm pacer
Local produce market
“We cater to the Gujarati community around the world,” is what the Rajkot franchise had announced boldly during the official launch of their team.
Irfan Pathan (1 crore): He had one of his best years in a long time, with 17 wickets, including a five-wicket haul, in the domestic T20s. Is used to being the poster-boy of teams.
Jaidev Unadkat (30 lakh): Though still in his mid-20s, Unadkat could finally find a home for good, quite literally, with the Lions.
Cheteshwar Pujara (50 lakh): Arguably the most successful Gujarati cricketer in the Indian team to not have an IPL contract. Pujara’s learnt his lesson from last year by cutting down on his base price.
There are those on whom franchises emptied their pockets, but realized their folly soon.
Dinesh Karthik (2 crore) bought for 12.5 crore by Delhi in 2015: Karthik has always gotten franchies to push the envelope for his services, but rarely has he really justified that price. Now 30, and with many other keepers in the mix, he is unlikely to demand anything close to an astronomical price this time around.
KC Cariappa bought for 2.4 crore by KKR in 2015: The ‘mystery’ spinner was the rags-to-riches story last year, and was expected to set the stage on fire with his bag of tricks. He played only a single game, and subsequently hardly made a splash in the domestic T20s after a decent KPL.
Dale Steyn bought for 8 crore by Deccan Chargers (then traded to Sunrisers): Steyn might still be a force to reckon with in South African colours but he was benched for a majority of Sunrisers’ previous season before being released.