Someone has rightly said that “IPL auctions are the most tense moments for a cricketer. He may well choose not to play when the auctions are going on”. Such is the impact that IPL has managed to create in the cricketing world. It has come up as a stage which can fast track careers or go on to obliterate them for a long long time. And it’s not only India we are talking about, it has emerged as an event that determines directly on whether the player has got it in him to make it to the national side. And thus the anticipation and keenness is pretty obvious, because everyone wants a piece of the pie and imposing sums of money involved, the stakes cannot get higher. IPL biddings always remain as a moot point because of the preponderance of top quality internationals. The teams need to be prepared and have a clear idea of how they want their squad to look before taking on each other in the bidding. So in this edition of Essentially Sports we bring to you the top 11 players on whom the teams may have missed out on and how their presence could have bolstered their teams’ chances:
Martin Guptill: Well it’s all right to feel a bit baffled when being the best batsmen in 2015, scoring a double ton in the WC and taking your team to some really handy quick fire starts still doesn’t add enough value to your CV to attract the buyers. Martin Guptill was being ranked upon as one of the most touted commodities for the upcoming auctions with predictions of him costing at around 5 crore. But as it turned out, the teams weren’t interested in the New Zealand opener and the reasons are difficult to decipher. Well, Kings X1 Punjab may have been the most fruitful, had they gone for Guptill as it could have really injected them with enough muscle at the top, backed up by the likes of Miller and Maxwell.
Usman Khawaja: Another guy who is really enjoying a rich share of form, he has waited really long to get a shot at the no.3 spot, and now he is really showing his penchant for the given niche. The profusion of runs he has went on to pile up is really predisposing. Not only in the international arena, but he had an immense impact in the Big Bash league as well. Mumbai Indians looks one side who could have really adorned their side with this one addition. Imagining Khawaja in Indians, it could have been him, Corey Anderson, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga as their four foreign players. This could have really made their batting look more portent and complete, taking some load off Rohit Sharma’s shoulders.
George Bailey: Known for his smiling face, George Bailey makes sure that the opponents don’t get to emulate his wonderful smile, on days when he gets going. He is someone who has a great cricketing mind and mellifluously fits into any team’s middle order. He is a huge asset as he manages to control the tempo of the innings, with an incessant mix of rotating the strike and looking for that odd boundary ball being the main forte of his game play. And the fact that clearing the boundary is not at all a problem for the Australian, you can’t see many reasons for him remaining unsold. Gujarat Lions could have really used Bailey as a support for Raina in the middle order. That would have made the side more evenly distributed with Finch and Mccullum at the top, followed by Raina and Bailey and then they could have gone for Bravo or Faulkner as the all-rounder option.
Rilee Rossouw: Rossouw was again a selection that would raise some eye brows. Yes, it would be difficult to get him in lofty bills and adjust him in the four foreigner plans, but he could well have been someone who could give you a strong bench at an moderate price. He is strong and can really bring celerity to the run rate in those crucial middle overs. By the looks of it, Gujarat Lions wouldn’t have minded him as a backup, with their big names like Aaron Finch and Brendon Mccullum yet to completely recover from their injuries.
Marlon Samuels: If you see the Delhi DareDevils squad, one thing that’s really conspicuously missing is someone who can come out and really win them games single handedly. You don’t expect such players to perform in every game, but they bring that x-factor, that builds that momentum, brings in that freshness in the side and gives the opponent a face to think about. And Marlon Samuels could really have been this player for the Delhi side. He is renowned for being an out and out hitter of the cricket ball without thinking too much about it. And then he could be used as a part time spinner. So for a team who have not been shy in offloading copious amount of cash, a certain amount of thought work needs to be put into what the teams really needs and what type of players are really needed to pull the franchise out of such choppy waters.
Darren Sammy: If you ask me, Sunrisers Hyderabad looks like the most settled of the line ups in the current edition. It has put together a right mixture of overseas and Indian players, both in the bowling and batting department. Their 4 overseas choices look quite capable in the form of Williamson, Warner, Eoin Morgan and Trent Boult and then they have the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Shikhar Dhawan and Ashish Nehra as their Indian big shots. The only thing that takes away from it is that they could have opted for one overseas all-rounder to provide an alternative if anyone of their overseas batsman struggles to perform, and I think Darren Sammy would have gelled in perfectly. He could occupy the no.6, 7 spot and really add 10-15 runs to the total. And then you can always use him in the middle overs to keep things quiet. So, while Hyderabad wouldn’t at all be disappointed with the current lot, they could have always used an extra hand who could lead them to their maiden IPL trophy.
Mahela Jayawardene: Mahela Jaywardene is a name that doesn’t need much of an introduction in the cricketing arena. He is a man who has proved his mettle many times, and even after hanging up his boots from international cricket, the veteran continues to shine in the MCL league. Thus his addition to the unsold list came as a real surprise to many, especially seeing the form he is in. And KKR may have been the side who would have cashed in on the Sri Lankan just because of how well they fit into each other’s playing style. Mahela is someone who occupies the crease, and prises out runs from the most adverse of the wickets once he gets in, and Eden Gardens have seldom been known as a high scoring ground. The pitch is slow and always has something for the spinners. Mahela could have been the man who could have occupied the guardian’s role in the squad and stood out as someone who would look to play the maximum share of overs from one end.
S. Badrinath: S. Badrinath is a player who may look out of sorts in the T20 format, but it’s his technicality and fitness that makes him special. He is very quick between the wickets and is quite adept at the task of anchoring the innings in cases of a top order collapse. The fact that he doesn’t have a lofty base price could have been used by some of the franchises in order to boost up their squad. And provided how special he is on the field, he could always be used as someone who can fit in the squad. And for the likes of RCB, who are still looking for some of those young Indian players to yoke with their fantastic four (Gayle, Abd, Virat, Starc), Badrinath wouldn’t have been a bad option as he has the knack of quietly settling into the dressing rooms. He may well have been used to provide that much needed calmness in the middle overs for the likes of Gayle, Virat and Abd to attack from the other end.
Manoj Tiwari: He is a type of player who has always been good enough to be discussed, but still hasn’t attained parity to be someone who can be picked up consistently. His lack of international cricket has been more because of lack of place in the middle order rather than his personal performance. And this period of ups and downs has eventually resulted in him losing out on buyers in this edition of IPL auctions. He may have found himself in the Mumbai Indian squad as he along with Raydu would have suited the Indians to look menacing in the middle overs, allowing Rohit to play a bit more freely at the top. But sadly for Manoj, Mumbai owners think otherwise.
Soumya Sarkar: The Bangladeshi player may have been expecting a surprise call up to the T20 Carnival but sadly couldn’t make the cut. His expectations are justified seeing that he has had a decent year with the bat and especially against the Indians in the ODIs.The left handed south-paw is equally elegant and perilous at the top, and can really take his team to quick starts. Delhi could have opted for Soumya Sarkar as he may have been a surprise package and could have been used as an opening partner with Shreyas Iyer at the top. This would have been a gamble but by the looks of their investment this year, Delhi looks ready to throw the dice on the lesser known commodities.
Parvinder Awana : Parvinder Awana is someone who has blown hot and cold for Kings Xi Punjab in the past editions. He is a lad who can crank up decent pace but often lacks the consistency required to irk the batsmen at this level. But the reason he finds his name on this list that he may have been well suited for someone like Royal Challengers Bangalore. The only aspect of Bangalore’s high flying line up that gathers most of the flak is the lack of good Indian fast bowlers. They are not able to back up the pressure created by someone like Starc and hence go on to squander runs. Awana may not be the first choice, but he could have been a handy one. And who knows – under proper guidance and some experience of bowling with someone like Starc, he could have really given India a new fast bowler to watch out for.