Yuvraj Singh’s 16 crore bouncer overshadows IPL bid

Googly Yuvraj became the most expensive player in IPL history, post the auction
Googly Yuvraj became the most expensive player in IPL history, post the auction

On 16 February, as officials of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI, the Indian Premier League (IPL) and its eight franchisee team owners, armed with a kitty of over 140 crore, sat down to shop for international stars, garden city was transformed into cricket bazaar. Spending over 87 crore in less than six hours, the above ‘players’ put in place teams that will provide cricketing entertainment to the nation in the forthcoming ipl Season.

Leading from the front, Delhi Daredevils paid 16 crore for Yuvraj Singh, making him the most expensive player in ipl history. Although Royal Challengers Bangalore tried hard to get Yuvraj on board, going by his good form in the domestic season, they had to let go of the all-rounder after a failed bid of 14 crore.

Within minutes of the bid being sealed, Yuvraj tweeted his response — “@YUVSTRONG12 Namaste [email protected] enjoyed playing for RCB but now look forward to play under a very special guy called [email protected]_Kirsten”. Delhi Daredevils coach Gary Kirsten kept the suspense alive by not committing to whether Yuvraj will captain the team or not. Kirsten said, “He is a quality player and it’s good to have him in the team. Players like him add value and he brings in a brand new role to the team.”

The next big player to be picked up was Dinesh Karthik, former Delhi Daredevils wicketkeeper-captain, by Vijay Mallya-owned Royal Challengers Bangalore for 10.5 crore. The youngest player up for bidding, Sarfaraz Naushad Khan, 17, was also picked up by Bangalore, for Rs 50 lakh.

Amongst foreign players, Angelo Mathew, a Sri Lankan, commanded a price of 7.5 crore, when he was picked up by Delhi Daredevils after out bidding Nita Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians, who seemed quite keen to have him on board. Other foreign players were picked up at relatively lower costs. Some international stars did not find any takers.

Among these were Hashim Amla, Kumar Sangkarra, T Dilshan, Nathan McCullum, Marlon Samuels and Mahela Jayawardhane, among others.

Sunrisers Hyderabad, who finished sixth in the table last season, started with a kitty of 16.95 crore to pick up players. Sunrisers Hyderabad ended up buying former English captain Kevin Pieterson at a base price of 2 crore and current England captain Eion Morgan for a base price of 1.5 crore.

Interestingly, Sunrisers Hyderabad picked up the much younger Trent Boult from New Zealand for 3.8 crore.

VVS Laxman, mentor, Sunrisers Hyderabad said, “We want to concentrate on our batting this season and players like Kevin Pieterson and Morgan will offer us more options.”

The team, which has one of the best bowling attacks led by Dale Steyn and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, is now further strengthened by the entry of Praveen Kumar and Trent Boult. Sunrisers Hyderabad, who picked up 10 players, now appears to be a more composite side, with a balanced pace attack and some pinch-hitters in its line-up.

The diminishing role of bowlers in T20 games came to the fore when they were not as lucky as the batsmen. Many of the former Team India bowlers, like Munaf Patel, Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan, went unsold in the first round. Pragyan Ojha was lucky to be picked up by Mumbai Indians for a base price of 50 lakh. Irfan Pathan was finally notched up by Chennai Super Kings in the second round for 1.5 crore, while Zaheer was picked up in the second round by Delhi Daredevils for 4 crore.

The bidding was dominated by Delhi Daredevils, looking at rebuilding the team after a poor show last season. In all, Delhi Daredevils picked up 14 players in the auction, to emerge as the biggest buyer. Armed with a kitty of over
39 crore at the beginning of the auction, apart from Yuvraj Singh, Delhi Daredevils picked up Angelo Mathew for 7.5 crore and Mumbai player Shreyas Iyer for 2.6 crore.

Others such as Jayadev Unadkat, Amit Mishra and Gurinder Sandhu were made to come on board relatively cheaper.

Bangalore, who are looking to fill in the all-rounder slots in the team, ended up picking Darren Sammy and David Wiese for 2.8 crore. In addition, they also got Sean Abbot on board for 1 crore. Bangalore’s biggest acquisition in the auction, for 10.5 crore was Dinesh Karthik, former Delhi Daredevils captain and wicket keeper. That left critics wondering what role Karthik will play in the team, that already has a wicket keeper-batsman in Wriddhiman Saha.


The New Brigade

The names of Shreyas Iyer, Sarfaraz Naushad Khan and KC Cariappa may not ring a bell outside cricketing circles. But these youngsters will be seen in action in the forthcoming ipl-8 along with 31 other uncapped players who were fiercely bid for. While these youngsters may have found takers, several big international names were not considered by team owners. Even the names of players like Mahela Jayawardhene, Cheteshwara Pujara, Munaf Patel, Cameron White and Hashim Amla figured amongst the 283 players who went unsold.

Interestingly, 34 uncapped players were bought this season, while the tally of capped players was 33. As Brijesh Patel put it, “Past records and past glory no longer matters. What counts in the T20 format is the performance in recent weeks. Many of these lads’ performances have been monitored and the teams were willing to pay a premium for them.”

Mumbai lad Shreyas Iyer was picked up for 2.6 crore, against a base price 10 lakh, while the youngest player, Sarfaraz Naushad, went for 50 lakh. The big change in fortune was for 20-year-old KC Cariappa, a leg spinner who worked as support staff for Kolkata Knight Riders last season. Kolkata Knight Riders managed to get the young lad from Coorg for 2.4 crore. Cariappa said, “I am very excited. I have no idea how this kind of thing suddenly happened,” he said. “I thought they were interested in me and so would go for my base price of 10 lakh. I was not sure about Delhi also bidding.”


Mumbai Indians picked up Aaron Finch at 3.2 crore, Pragyan Ojha for 50 lakh and Mitchell McClenaghan for 30 lakh. The auction saw Anant Ambani take the centrestage of Mumbai Indians’ decision making. Flanked by Ricky Ponting and mother Nita Ambani, young Anant called the shots in making 10 buys in the day.

Meanwhile, Shilpa and Raj Kundra were conspicuous by their absence at the auction. Rahul Dravid, who led the Rajasthan Royals bidding team, made concerted efforts to pick up some young players. It may be recalled that in the first edition of the ipl, too, the Rajasthan Royals had gone in with a relatively younger team and put up a spectacular show. Rajasthan Royals had picked up Christopher Morris for 1.40 crore and four other uncapped Indian bowlers, at a total cost of 2.10 crore. Rajasthan Royals still have 10.65 crore remaining in their kitty.

Kolkata Knight Riders were most subdued in the bidding, initially content with a wait and watch policy. The team then picked up James Neesham and Brad Hogg for 50 lakh each. They finally successfully bid for seven players, including KC Cariappa for 2.4 crore, who, till last season, worked as an assistant to the team videoanalyst. Cariappa’s rise from support staff to player seems nothing short of meteoric.

The eighth edition of the ipl will see 60 T20 games being played, starting with the opening game at Eden Gardens, Kolkata on 8 April.

The matches will be played across 12 venues, with the final match slated for 24 May at Eden Gardens.

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