The much-awaited auction for the 10th season of the Indian Premier League was held today with a total of 351 players available for sale. A total of 66 players were sold including 27 overseas players. Ben Stokes at 14.5 crore was the most expensive player sold at the auction and in the process also became the second most expensive player of all time and the highest a foreigner has ever earned.
Though this auction was small as compared to the ones held after 3-4 years with a full roaster, it still helped build vital teams for team owners who look to fix things up with limited budget players available in order to be able to build a team that can put in a serious challenge for the title. It won’t be unfair to say that IPLs are won and lost in auctions.
Many teams come up with the aim of buying the same player and hence the teams don’t always get what they plan for. This auction, like many others brought disappointment for certain teams and jubilation for others. We review which team came out best and worst prepared for the edition starting on April 5.
Delhi Daredevils- For years they have been touted as the worst bidders of the lot and ever since having almost an all stars team in the first three editions, they have been miserable in their execution on auction day, ultimately making them end up with a below-par squad and terrible finishes on the table.
After doing moderately well last year in signing some of the brightest young Indian talent accompanied by some world class players, Delhi can finally claim to have got it right today. The stand out signing is that of South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada, which now adds real steel to their already impressive bowling attack. The purchase of players like Mathews and Anderson add depth and balance to their squad. These signings ensure they are well equipped to deal with the situation of the departure of their English and South African players. Now they finally have a squad that is not only versatile and filled with variety of options but also that of genuine quality that can go far in the tournament.
Apart from them, Sunrisers Hyderabad come very close to having had the best auction. The defending champions like their title win suggests, already had a very good team but evidently required certain improvements. Buying all rounders like Nabi and reinforcing the spin department with the likes of Rashid khan and Pravin Tamble add to the quality of an already impressive squad. The signings of Chris Jordan, Ben Laughlin and Eklavya Dwivedi add much needed depth in each department for the champions. Their smart and efficient buys ensure that sunrisers will remain a force to reckon with in their title defense.
Teams like Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore can be largely happy with their performance at the auction too. While Mumbai already had a settled line-up and an ambitious bid for Ben Stokes wasn’t to happen, they added what they actually needed to in the squad that was back up at certain positions. They are now well covered in each and every department with probably the strongest Indian contingent and they will no longer have sleepless nights about the fitness issues of some of their key members.
Both the Knight Riders and Royal Challengers needed to straighten their pace department and they successfully did so. KKR needing to replace the two places of Andre Russel and Morne Morkel did well in buying Trent Boult, Chris Woakes and Coulter-Nile. RCB lost Starc on the eve of auction day and replaced him with Mills at an extravagant price. While the price can be debated, there is no doubt they were successful in making their side stronger.
Gujarat Lions were one of the most balanced side in the competition and they did nothing to harm their cause. While signing of Jason Roy seems a bit odd as they already have Three swashbuckling foreign openers, one would wonder whether they gave it a thought. But they did manage to strengthen their bowling department with Indian options and that’s the way they seem to have opted.
Something similar can be said about the 2014 Runners up Kings XI Punjab. By signing the likes of Martin Guptill and Eoin Morgan, they have exceptionally strengthened their batting unit and can have even more confidence in their batting line up which was already their strength. Though they did buy Matt Henry, much like Gujarat, you do wonder whether they would have been better off spending the money of a batsman on a bowler. They too have trusted young Indian options to carry on their bowling attack but the lack of all round options unlike the Lions make them even more susceptible.
While having signed the hottest property in the auction, it might sound strange but the title of the worst auction solely belongs to Rising Pune Super Giants. While the signing of Ben Stokes is no doubt a great one and will add stupendous quality to their side. But in spending the money they did on the English All-rounder, they exhausted their balance and left too many areas that needed to be addressed after the disastrous season last year, unaddressed. Their pace bowling attack is in complete shambles at the moment and this auction hasn’t changed what they were last season, that is extremely top heavy. Come April, if they want to change their fortunes, they will have to be wholly dependent on individual brilliance to do so.