Wicketkeeping has undergone a revolution since the inception of the T20 cricket in 2007. Nowadays, the men standing behind the wickets are expected to be more than just handy batsmen as teams look for much more from this rare breed of cricketers. Hence, it was not much of a surprise that keepers gained a windfall during Saturday’s auction that precedes IPL 2018. The franchises dug deep and shelled out big money for the glovemen.
Young Sanju Samson was the biggest earner among keepers on the day after pocketing a cool sum of Rs 8 crores as Rajasthan Royals secured his services. The moment Samson’s name came out of the bag several franchises expressed interest to land the Kerala lad on their side. It came down to a battle between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals and the latter finally bagged him for Rs 8 crore. Samson had a successful season with the Royals before their suspension, scoring 941 runs in 44 matches which included seven half-centuries.
The keepers were always tipped to earn a fat deal in the IPL, regardless of whether they were foreign or domestic players. At Rs 2.8 crore Quinton de Kock was an absolute steal for the Royal Challengers Bangalore. De Kock is renowned for his attacking approach as a batter and was in great form in 2017 and hence is an extremely useful addition to the RCB side which was using KL Rahul as a stand-in keeper last season. Jos Buttler was the other foreign player who was sold for Rs 4.4 crore to Rajasthan Royals.
Unsurprisingly the domestic keepers also witnessed lucrative bids during the auction. India’s first choice wicket-keeper in Test cricket – Wriddhiman Saha (who also has an IPL century to his name) was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for 5 crores. On the other hand, the keeper with the most number of dismissals in IPL, Dinesh Karthik attracted a lot of interest before Kolkata Knight Riders bought him for Rs 7.4 crore. His name sparked a bidding war between for franchises – Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians. But a late entry by KKR saw them bag Karthik for Rs 7.4 crore.
Interestingly, Robin Uthappa was also a hot property as Mumbai and Rajasthan battled long to pick him. He was bought back by Kolkata Knight Riders, courtesy of the Right to Match (RTM) card and an amount of Rs 6.4 Crore. The last name in the pot was Ambati Rayudu who was sold to Chennai for Rs 2.20 crore.
Sadly, one notable omission on the day was veteran Indian wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel with no side showing interest in his services. This is even after he carries an experience of 119 matches behind him. Others who went unsold with are Jonny Bairstow, Naman Ojha, Sam Billings.
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