IPL auction: Punjab have the most money, CSK have to fill a void

IPL auction: Punjab have the most money, CSK have to fill a void

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Seam-bowling allrounders and released superstars will be in high demand when as many as 292 players go under the hammer at the glitzy IPL auction in Chennai on Thursday, even as eight franchises look to bolster their 25-man squads in a bid to find the winning combination for the upcoming season.

Seam-bowling allrounders a premium

The value of a seam-bowling allrounder in the IPL cannot be overstated. They are like a blue-chip stocks. Take the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for example. Bulk of their success was due to the presence of Shane Watson. The allrounder has been a key figure in CSK’s engine room. If he is not giving his franchise blistering starts upfront or breaking partnerships with his useful medium-pacers, one would see him standing in the slips and pitching in with suggestions to his captain MS Dhoni. Watson’s retirement from all formats of the sport last year has created a void.

But a lot of franchises would not take a punt on some of the young and untested all-rounders like Kylie Jamieson and Cameron Green. A franchise official elaborated on how it could be difficult for a newcomer in the subcontinent. “A lot depends on the auction dynamics, how things are panning out on the floor,” he said.

Scramble for superstars

Following a disappointing IPL 2020, a season in which they finished bottom of the points table, Rajasthan Royals released their captain Steve Smith. On the face of it, this looked like a pragmatic move. In 14 matches, the former Australian captain accrued 311 runs at a middling average of 131, an indication of his travails. Does that mean Smith is out of the Royals’ radar when he goes under the hammer at a base price of Rs 2 crore? Not quite. The Royals are playing it smart because they would try in earnest to get Smith back at a much lower price than the inflated Rs 12 crore they had shelled out for him.

Similarly, his Australian team-mate Glenn Maxwell was released by Punjab Kings following an abysmal season where he could muster only 108 runs from 13 matches. However, his blistering stroke-play against India in the limited-overs leg in the Australian summer last year was a reminder of his potential in this format. There’s little doubt that like Royals, Punjab would also go all out for Maxwell who comes to this auction at a base price of Rs 2 crore, a low from his last year’s price-tag of Rs 10.75 crore.

Punting on newbies

Almost every year, some little-known Indian players become big auction buys. At the 2020 IPL auction, Rajasthan Royals forked out Rs 2.40 crore for Yashasvi Jaiswal, chiefly based on his Vijay Hazare Trophy double hundred against Jharkhand. The teenager played three matches in the last year’s IPL and scored 40 runs. Similarly, it won’t be a surprise if a franchise breaks the bank on Kerala’s Mohammed Azharuddeen, who has become popular after his 54-ball 137 not out against Mumbai in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy last month. As a source said: “Two-three franchises have big purses to play with.” Kings XI Punjab have a purse of Rs 53.20 crore available at the auction followed by Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rs 35.90 crore and Rajasthan Royals with Rs 34.85 crore.

Arjun’s USP

It is learnt, Arjun Tendulkar might attract more than one bids. The 21-year-old is good enough to play for the senior Mumbai team as a left-arm medium pacer. But as Sachin Tendulkar’s son, Arjun carries “a certain brand value”, for the team he could play for in the coming IPL.

Different ball game

The IPL is a format where T Natarajan is valuable because of his skill-sets, while James Anderson is considered a misfit. England’s Dawid Malan might have attained the highest rating points in the ICC T20Is player rankings, but facing Ashwin or Rashid Khan or Yuzvendra Chahal on a slow-turner in India will be a different ball game altogether. “This is not a full auction and huge fireworks are unlikely. Based on teams’ requirements, it still might throw up a few surprises,” a franchise official concluded.


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