In a bizarre day of auctioning where upto 37 players were sold, Australian big-hitter Glen Maxwell topped the list with Mumbai Indians forking out a cool million dollars for his services in IPL-6.
While it was not a surprise that many young Australian domestic players attracted the highest bids at the auction, there were bigger names on the international circuit that went unsold. Team managements seem to have done their homework over the year, and the trend of going with specialist T20 domestic names is a far cry from the first-ever IPL auction 6 years ago where only big international names attracted attention. Much research has been done over time, with names like Kane Richardson (Aus), Chris Morris (SA) and Sachithra Senanayake (SL) being snagged with greater pomp than those like Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke. Clearly, T20 is a young game, and IPL teams seem to have realized that big names do not necessarily make for best investments- especially after a disastrous Champion’s League 2012 where none of the 4 IPL participants made it to the semi-finals. They are now taking a leaf out of the books of other lesser-known T20 teams from all over the world like Warriors, New South Wales and South Australia- where team formation is given much more importance than individual big names/reputations.
Teen Mystery spinner Senanayake
Still, Ambani-owned Mumbai Indians must not have been noticing these trends, with them going for the bigger names mercilessly- Maxwell, Hughes, Oram and Ponting- that took up a large portion of their 12.5 million spending cap. Clearly, efforts have been made to bolster their bumbling middle-order, with names like Dinesh Kartik and Rohit Sharma not being consistent enough in the 2012 season. Their most interesting move was buying little-known Australian bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile, who plays for the Perth Scorchers along with Ricky Ponting. Some things don’t change, though, with Rajasthan Royals still short of players- just 21 compared to the limit of 33. They used only half their purse, along with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI.
Mumbai’s Nayar to Pune
Pune went on a relentless spending spree, buying the most expensive Indian of the auction- Abhishek Nayar for 675000, Sri Lanka’s Ajantha Mendis for 725000, Australian quick Kane Richardson for 700000 and Michael Clarke for his base price of 400000. Bangalore concentrated more on bolstering their bowling department with buys like Dan Christian, Ravi Rampaul, Jaidev Unadkat (another surprise for 525000), Moises Henriques and RP Singh.
Players like Aaron Finch, Darren Bravo and most surprisingly, Martin Guptill and Vernon Philander went unsold- while Delhi Daredevils concentrated on bolstering their one-man bowling department to give Morne Morkel company, by buying Johan Botha and Jeevan Mendis. Knight Riders, the defending champions, didn’t bother buying more than two players- with recent South African hero Ryan McLaren and Senanayake being their only signings. SuperKings bought Australian Ben Laughlin, Akila Dananjaya, Chris Morris and Dirk Nannes, while Darren Sammy was snapped up by Sunrisers Hyderabad- who could just be the X-factor needed by the team that often languishes at the bottom, and can consider itself lucky to still have a team playing in 2013.
Most though, will still be looking forward to watching only one thing- Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar partnering eachother in the same team, a few years after Tendulkar walked out with Jayasuriya to open the innings. Tendulkar, recently retired from ODI cricket, and Ponting from all forms- will be interesting to look at, simply because Tendulkar has gone through no lesser than 13 opening partners over the last few seasons. And with both of them not playing the ODI Champions Trophy in June, one wonders if Mumbai Indians have missed a trick by turning their team into a retirement home.