IPL-10 Player Auc­tion: Ready Reck­oner

The Economic Times - - Sports & Economy - Sau­rabh So­mani

The In­dian Premier League auc­tions, which take place just a year be­fore a big churn, have in­vari­ably been of the calm-be­foret he - s t o r m va r i e t y. It hap­pened in 2010 and 2013, and to­day, when the eight fran­chises gather in Ban­ga­lore, the pat­tern looks set to re­peat.

That is, of course, rel­a­tively speak­ing. After all, by any nor­mal yard­stick, a gath­er­ing of the rich and pow­er­ful who will spend up­wards of ₹ 120 crore to bag the ser­vices of some of cricket’s best tal­ents can hardly be de­scribed as a calm af­fair. Each of the eight fran­chises will be look­ing at this auc­tion as one that could be rel­e­vant purely in the short-term. There is still no clar­ity on what will hap­pen next sea­son in terms of player re­ten­tion, so no fran­chise will be tak­ing a punt on a player think­ing, ‘He could be a good prospect for us next year or a cou­ple of years later’.

THE HOT PICKS

If you were a bet­ting man, putting money down on Ben Stokes at­tract­ing the high­est bid of the auc­tion would seem likeasafeop­tion.TheEng­lan­dall­rounder has the bat­ting chops, the bowl­ing abil­ity and that X-fac­tor to be able to not just turn a match around sin­gle-handed but also put bums on seats. Among the in­ter­na­tional play­ers, the ones who are likely to be in de­mand along with Stokes areTy­malMills,Kag­isoRabada,Ishant Sharma, Ja­son Roy, Trent Boult, Colin de Grand­homme and Im­ran Tahir. The likes of Corey An­der­son, Jonny Bairstow, Mitchell Sant­ner and Ir­fan Pathan should also at­tract a fair bit of at­ten­tion, though given how auc­tion dy­nam­ics work, don’t be sur­prised even if one or more of th­ese names end up with­out a fran­chise.

THE DO­MES­TIC IN­DI­ANS IN FO­CUS

That the auc­tion was de­layed by a cou­ple of weeks was a bless­ing in dis­guise be­cause it al­lowed for the completion of the Syed Mush­taq Ali Tro­phy. That is one of the fac­tors that led to, for ex­am­ple, Ishank Jaggi be­ing in­cluded in this year’s auc­tion after 204 runs scored at an av­er­age of 68.00 and a strike rate of 163.20, mostly with cul­tured stroke­play rather than slogs.

It was sur­pris­ing that Manoj Ti­wary didn’t find a buyer last sea­son, but the Ben­gal bats­man showed good bat­ting form. Among other bats­men who made an im­pres­sion were Ma­hesh Rawat, Ankit Bawne, Tan­may Agar­wal, Vishnu Vinod, Aditya Tare, Pa­van Desh­pande and Aman­deep Khare.

Among bowlers and all­rounders, you would ex­pect Pragyan Ojha — also un­sold last year — Mo­ham­mad Si­raj, K Gowtham,Ru­julBhatt,MananSharma, MSDhoni­wa­sonSun­dayre­movedas cap­tain of Ris­ing Pune Su­per­giants and re­placed by Aus­tralian Steve Smith, end­ing his in­nings as skip­per in both in­ter­na­tional and fran­chise cricket. Dhoni, who had stepped down as In­dia’s lim­ited-overs cap­tain to snap his in­ter­na­tional run as skip­per ear­lier this year, will, how­ever, con­tinue to be a part of the Pune fran­chise as a player. “Dhoni has not stepped­down.We’veap­point­edSteve Smith as the skip­per for the up­com­ing sea­son. Frankly speak­ing, we didn’t have a good last sea­son and we wanted some­one young to lead the side and re­vamp it ahead of the up­com­ing sea­son,” RPS owner Sanjiv Goenka said. “I have the high­est re­gard for MS Dhoni as a leader and a per­son. Dhoni con­tin­ues to be an in­te­gral mem­ber of our team. He is sup­port­ive of the de­ci­sion keep­ing the fran­chise’s best in­ter­ests in mind,” Goenka added. One thing teams will have to keep in mind is that the English and South African play­ers will be leav­ing the tour­na­ment early. How much peo­ple are will­ing to shell out for some­one who might pro­vide a lot of value but will be gone at the busi­ness end of the tour­na­ment is any­body’s guess. That’s where some­one like Mills scores, in that he is an ex­clu­sive T20 player – and a pretty good one too.

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