Amid intense bidding for all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga, Indian Premier League auctioneer Hugh Edmeades collapsed on the floor, leaving the audience in an icy silence. Shortly after the news broke that Edmeades was safe and had just suffered a bout of low blood pressure, the franchise representatives parted ways for lunch. After the short break, Royal Challengers Bangalore got Lankan, who was his mid-season replacement last year, for Rs 10.75 crore.
The debilitating moment of the day would be the Edmeades drop, while the most surprising purchase would be Hasaranga’s. The amount he got was unprecedented, though it’s a perfect buy from a franchise perspective.
The two most sought after entities in IPL auctions are heavy hitters and leg spinners. Hasaranga is both: he has a 136 strike rate with the bat and a 6.44 economy rate and a 15 average on the ball. He is touted as an all-format player, although he has been more lethal in the shorter versions. He could be to RCB what Sunil Narine has been to KKR: a cunning bowler and a strong batsman, with a lethal googly.
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) February 12, 2022
Men of his ilk are IPL gold. He explains why more proven spinners, even from India, were bought for lower amounts. yuzvendra chahal, for example, was gobbled up by Rs 6.5 crore; Rahul Chahar got Rs 5.25 crore; Ravichandran Ashwin Rs 5 crore; Kuldeep Yadav Rs 2 crore.
Adil Rashid, Imran Tahir and Adam Zampa, much more experienced than Hasaranga, was not sold. It’s another evolutionary leap in the IPL: All-purpose cricketers, even if they are small, are valued more highly than those with singular and specialized skills. Steve Smithfor example, no buyer was interested.
Less surprisingly, most of the top earners, those who crossed Rs 10 crore, are multi-taskers. Ishan Kishan, who became the fourth most expensive player in the league’s history when the Mumbai Indians rushed to snap him up, not only retains the ground but could be a starter as well. He is literally an SUV. Deepak Chahar was another big winner, not only because he is a proficient bowler, but also because he could happily swing his bat (he has a 129 strike rate). His timely 38 against the West Indies on Friday also benefited him. He may not be as devastating a bowler as kagiso rabada (Rs 9.25 crore) or trent boult (Rs 8 crore), but all those little details add up to a hefty sum.
Shardul Thakur was not cheap either, with Delhi Capitals shelling out Rs 10.75 crore. These players attracted attention that even some of the most promising young Indian batsmen did not. Devdutt PadikkalConsidering his unbridled potential, he settled for Rs 7.75 crore.
— Delhi Capitals (@DelhiCapitals) February 12, 2022
doing his homework
Franchises, therefore, have become smarter and sharper. They have also shrewdly fought the fiercest battles for young people with proven track records. The aggressive search for Kishan by the Mumbai Indians exemplifies this. Kishan, in addition to his great experience and wicket-keeping skills of his, is only 23 years old but he is very experienced and still far ahead of his cricket peak.
“Our story is just beginning.” –Ishan Kishan 💙
— Bombay Indians (@mipaltan) February 12, 2022
Shreyas Iyer is another example, as he is 27 years old and his career is about to blossom. Both are also touted as future captains. So it’s no surprise that only three of the 14 who earned more than Rs 8.50 crore are aged 30 or over. Of them, New Zealand closer Lockie Ferguson and West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder are both 30 years old, while the highest ground taker from the previous edition Harsh Patel he is 31 years old. Both Patel and Ferguson are exemplary bowlers, while Holder is among the best in the world.
— CalcuttaKnightRiders (@KKRiders) February 12, 2022
So evidently, franchises picked players with an eye toward the future rather than settling for short-term gains. The reasons are clear. A) Teams want a stable core, not one that is constantly changing. B) The next big auction could take several years, and they would have to make do with what they already have.
Not that some of the older players were uninterested, but bidding on them was less frantic. This rang especially true for hitters. None of the more than 30 batters set the stage on fire. For example, david warner, the most successful foreign batsman in the league, managed just Rs 6.25 crore; Faf du Plessis received Rs 7 crore; manish pandey 4.60 crores. Old-fashioned cricketers like Suresh Raina and David Miller was also not sold. It was terrifyingly obvious that the owners weren’t interested in keeping too many older players on their decks, as five years from now, they could be at the top of the hill in a format that’s becoming increasingly athletic. They were also ruthless: CSK did not push for Raina at Rs 2 crore, a fixture with them since the first season. nobody wanted Amit Misra (Rs 1.5 crore). Some of them could find equipment in Sunday’s auction, but their signings are not as coveted as they used to be. Only Shikhar Dhawan bucked the trend.
The franchises passionately fought to nab the young talent without limits as the day wore on. Punjab Kings shelled out Rs 9 crore for the uncapped all-rounder Shahrukh Khan; Shivam Mavi managed Rs 7.25 crore and Abhishek Sharma it was sold for Rs 6.50 crore. It was good to be young at the IPL auction on Saturday.