2017 IPL Auction – The Winners and Losers

The 2017 IPL Auction has taken place in Bengaluru and our IPL specialist Aaditya Narayan is back with his thoughts on the winners and losers.

2017 IPL Auction

Another year, and February means the madness is back in India. The madness where players become commodities. The auction for the tenth edition of the Indian Premier League went largely on expected lines, but did throw up a few surprises.

The auction was preceded by some drama on Sunday as the Rising Pune Supergiants replaced MS Dhoni with Steven Smith as their captain. It didn’t stop there, as the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mitchell Starc parted ways, leaving the Virat Kohli-led side in a desperate hunt for a quality fast bowler.

With that much pre-auction action, the event itself had a billing to live up to and it did. There were some teams whose plans were sound and others whose plans seemed unfathomable. But all that is a part of the drama in the circus that is the IPL.

I take a look at the biggest gainers and losers from the 2017 IPL Auction.

Winners

The Englishmen!

I read a tweet this morning which said, “We used give our money for their mills. 200 years on, we still are.

That was always expected to be the main narrative of this IPL auction. For the first time, the big stars of English cricket had thrown their names in the hat in such a number.

What followed was that the IPL got a new highest paid foreigner and a new highest paid fast bowler. While it was expected that Ben Stokes would be the most expensive purchase at this auction, not many people would have anticipated a some of Rs. 14.5 crores ($2.18million approx.) to be doled out for his services.

The Rising Pune Supergiants won themselves the services of a player who is undoubtedly the best fast-bowling all-rounder in the world today.

And then there was Tymal Mills. His base price was a measly Rs. 50 lakh. Eventually, he was sold for 24 times that price – Rs 12 crores($1.8million approx.) – to the Royal Challengers Bangalore. They got their replacement for Starc.

Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy and Chris Jordan were also sold in the auction – in addition to Sam Billings and Jos Buttler who were retained by the Delhi Daredevils and the Mumbai Indians respectively.

It will be interesting to see the dynamic that plays out when the tournament begins though. All the English players, barring Mills, are expected to be absent for the knockout stages of the tournament as they play an ODI series against South Africa in their build-up to June’s ICC Champions Trophy.

Ben Stokes IPL Auction

England’s Ben Stokes was signed by Rising Pune Supergiants for an overseas player record $2.18million approx.

Fast Bowlers

That was the flavour of the auction. All the five highest paid players from this auction were fast bowlers. In addition to Stokes and Mills, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins and Trent Boult were also in for a heavy payday, as most franchises looked to strengthen that department in their squads.

Rabada and Cummins were bought by the Delhi Daredevils, but it is highly unlikely that both of them will find a place in the starting XI. Delhi will almost certainly play Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy, which leaves two more spots. In addition to Cummins and Rabada, Delhi also have Billings, Corey Anderson and Angelo Mathews.

Given that their batting is slightly brittle, and the presence of Mohammad Shami in the side, it is very likely that only one of them will play.

Boult was purchased by the Kolkata Knight Riders as their replacement for Morne Morkel. With Andre Russell banned, there was a gaping hole in that department for Kolkata.

But quite possibly the best purchase from this lot came from the Sunrisers Hyderabad, with the defending champions buying Chris Jordan. Jordan bowled beautifully in the recent T20 series against India, and showed that he has gained some more control over what he wants to do and the execution of his skills.

What makes it better for the Sunrisers is that they got Jordan at his base price – Rs. 50 lakh – which was also Mills’s base price.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Kolkata went into the auction with 13 available players. They ended it with 22. And they did not just make up the numbers for the sake of it.

There was a clear plan to what Kolkata wanted to do. The presence of Gautam Gambhir, Manish Pandey, Robin Uthappa and Suryakumar Yadav meant that their batting core group was in place.

With Russell and Morkel gone, and Sunil Narine’s form wavering, the bowling department needed a lot of work. And they did just that.

The additions of Chris Woakes, Boult, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Rovman Powell showed that there was a clear plan. The plan was too add fast bowlers and fast-bowling all-rounders.

In the quest to strengthen their bowling, they did not buy a single spinner. Why? Because it was not necessary. In addition to Narine, they have got Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla, who have served them well over the years.

They did not get too involved in the early stages in the auction, when the mad bidding for Stokes and Mills was on, but Kolkata had a plan and did not get carried away by what happened around them in the auction room.

Sunrisers Hyderabad

It was a big day for the Sunrisers. They are the defending champions and will head into IPL-10 determined to prove that last year was no flash in the pan.

There were a few things that they had to iron out, and they did. They let Boult and Morgan go after the end of the last season. They added Jordan, Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan, who are more than capable of filling that gap.

Their middle-order batting was a concern last year, with David Warner almost single-handedly carrying that batting line-up to the title.

But they have placed their trust in their Indian youngsters and it doesn’t seem too misplaced. Both Deepak Hooda and Vijay Shankar had fantastic seasons in domestic cricket, in all forms of the game. Both of them are well capable of making the step up in this IPL.

Also, Yuvraj Singh’s recent form has been so good that it must have reassured Tom Moody and co. that the middle-order is in good hands.

Another area that Sunrisers had to strengthen was their spin department. Their only recognized spinner from last year, Karn Sharma was let go of, and there was work to do.

But with the Afghans, Nabi and Rashid Khan being bought, that gap too, seems to have been plugged.

Oh, and they added a touch of local flavour to their squad too, as local lads, Mohammad Siraj and Tanmay Agarwal were bought.

Overall, Sunrisers look a very formidable unit, and they are very well-placed to make history replace itself.

Uncapped Indians

Every year, there is a KC Cariappa or a Murugan Ashwin who pops up in the auction. That uncapped Indian player who cashes in with a big payday.

This year, there were four. Tamil Nadu’s Thangarasu Natarajan, Hyderabad’s Mohammad Siraj, Karnataka’s Krishnappa Gowtham and Rajasthan’s Aniket Choudhary.

True to the overall nature of the auction, all of them are bowlers – three of them fast bowlers. Aniket and Natarajan are left-arm pacers who were big wicket-takers in the recently concluded Ranji Trophy.

Gowtham made a big impression in tour game against Australia for India A, the day before the auction as he made a quickfire 65.

The Associate Players

Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan and UAE’s Chirag Suri had their big day in the sun.

The Sunrisers got Nabi and Rashid, while the Gujarat Lions got Suri.

It was wonderful to see as these players have proved on several occasions that they are ready to play on a bigger stage, particularly Nabi.

Now, the next challenge will be for them to force their way into the playing XI and stay there for the rest of the season.

Mohammad Nabi IPL Afghanistan

Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi heading to Sunrisers Hyderabad for IPL 2017

Losers

Rising Pune Supergiants

They did make the most expensive purchase of the auction, signing Stokes, but from then on, it was all downhill for Pune.

They desperately needed to strengthen their fast-bowling department. With the number of high-quality foreign batsmen they have, they needed Indian fast bowlers.

The likes of Pankaj Singh or Irfan Pathan could have fit the bill for Pune, in addition to them signing Jaydev Unadkat.

Their other signings, Manoj Tiwary, Lockie Ferguson, Saurabh Kumar, Milind Tandon and Rahul Chahar don’t seem to have any chance of featuring in the XI.

Pune made a statement that they meant business by relieving Dhoni off his captaincy duties, but their auction day was disastrous.

It seems that they will place their faith in the young Indian pacers. Unadkat, Ishwar Pandey, Ashoke Dinda and Jaskaran Singh will fight for what looks to be two places.

Stokes, Ravi Ashwin and Adam Zampa will have to carry a huge part of the burden for Pune with the ball. But, placing this much pressure on them was something the franchise could have avoided.

Instead of signing Dan Christian for the money that they did, Pune could have looked at a specialist bowler. Maybe, an Imran Tahir wouldn’t have done them too much harm, despite the fact that they already have two quality spinners in Ashwin and Zampa.

International Spinners

Pragyan Ojha, Ish Sodhi, Lakshan Sandakan were all unsold in the auction, but perhaps the biggest surprise was the ignorance of Imran Tahir by all the franchises.

Tahir is the no. 1 ODI and T20 bowler right now, and it must have been extremely difficult for the franchises to ignore him, but it is still a perplexing decision.

Another factor that must be considered is that players like Karn Sharma, Pravin Tambe and Rashid Khan were bought – and with all due respect to them, they are nowhere near as good a leg-spinner as Tahir.

But, were those spinners, particularly Tahir, the losers? Or were the franchises the actual losers for missing out on such quality players.

Imran Tahir IPL 2017

There was shock that none of the IPL franchises took a punt on Imran Tahir, currently the world’s number 1 ODI and T20 bowler.

Mumbai Indians

Mumbai didn’t qualify for the playoffs last year, and it was imperative for them to strengthen their squad.

Two departments that needed to be strengthened were the spin department and the middle-order where they needed one reliable Indian batsman.

But, Mumbai went ahead and bought Mitchell Johnson, despite already having Lasith Malinga, Tim Southee and Mitch McClenaghan in their squad.

Also, they did buy players to strengthen the above-mentioned departments but are the really the quality that is required?

Saurabh Tiwary and Karn Sharma were signed by the two-time champions, but if recent IPL performances are to go by, both have been very underwhelming.

With their squad, Mumbai will need their big guns, the likes of Rohit Sharma, Buttler and Malinga to step up and step up big time.

 

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