The seventh edition of the league is around the corner, with the first major reshuffle on the cards for all teams since 2011. There are no Pune Warriors or Kochi Tuskers, and the field is down to the original 8 teams that began 6 years ago.
Day 1 of the Auction, contrary to popular belief, was much anticipated simply because of the recent outburst of dynamic new players onto the world scene. Names that weren’t ever heard of 12 months ago are set to become Indian household names over the next 2 months.
70 players were bought on day 1 with just over Rs. 212 crore ($35 million) spent, a far cry from the 2011 day 1 auction- where $51 million was spent. However, this was the main day of the auction- before day 2 where uncapped players are bought, and which arguably requires much more strategy than the T20 wham-bam strategies on day 1. Like the first 5 overs of a T20 match, day 1 was all about the BIG names, and about who could score most of them with least damage.
There were, of course, clear winners and losers as far as team selections were concerned. Some team managements came into the auction without much of a plan, while some stuck to their trademark mentalities, displayed aplenty over the years.
Let us take a look at some of the main picks of the day:
For a guy who has just been dropped from the national ODI squad, pocketing a cool 14 crore in 5 minutes can’t have been a bad day’s work. Yuvraj Singh, formerly captain for Pune Warriors and KXIP, became the biggest buy of the league during the 16-player marquee auction right at the beginning. This was no surprise, considering his T20 exploits over the years. Many believe he still has it in him, and Bangalore now have the most pulsating batting lineup in T20 history- Gayle, Kohli, AB, Yuvraj are the top 4. It doesn’t matter who bowls, does it?
WTF of the day
KP was a good pick, but the Daredevils came in with the most bizarre picks of the day. 2 wicketkeeper batsmen in the form of Karthik (12.5 crore, incidentally the second richest of the year) and De Kock, India’s tormentor.
Einstein of the day
3 Australians and Virender Sehwag
. Bailey, Johnson, Maxwell (!), the men of the moment, will unite in one T20 team to put KXIP back into contention after one of the smartest buying strategies ever witnessed on opening day. KXIP still have a the maximum amount of money left to spend on day 2, and look to have the most balanced team already.
Not to mention a smart pick of Cheteshwar Pujara, a selection that could well push the Indian test specialist to the next World Cup in a year. Saha will be their keeper, another bright pick.
Unsold XI of the Day
Some shock picks were made, with guys like the Pathan brothers and Saurabh Tiwary falling from millionaires to less than half their previous prices this year, but the real shocks were the giants NOT picked. Here’s the best of them, a mighty team on their own:
Jayawardene, Ross Taylor (?), David Hussey, Angelo Mathews, Cameron White (a real shock, considering his recent form for the Aussie T20 team), Alex Hales, Ryder, Franklin, Shaun Tate, Mendis and Azhar Mahmood.
Other popular match winners like Munaf Patel, Brett Lee, Guptill, Robin Peterson, Dilshan, Luke Wright, RP Singh, Oram, Philander, Parnell, Bollinger etc. were ignored too.
Spin In the Tale
Spinners like Lyon, Herath, Tahir, Randiv, Dananjaya, Mendis, Brag Hogg, Peterson, Benn, Powar, Kartik were ignored, proving that T20 is very much a batsman’s game on Indian pitches. Unless you’re Amit Mishra or Narine.
, the man of the match in the 2012 T20 World Cup Final (also the innings of that year), was snubbed after his lukewarm season with the Pune Warriors.
No Country For Old Men
Forgotten gems like Hemang Badani, Kaif, Simon Jones, Jaffer, Nannes, Adrian Barath, Justin Ontong, VRV Singh, Nicky Boje (!), Jerome Taylor, Neil McKenzie popped up, before being predictably ignored.
Upcoming stars like Pat Cummins, Jackson Bird, Darren Bravo
, Chris Lynn, Kusal Perera, James Muirhead, Tsotsobe, Ramdin and Dean Elgar were notable snubs by team owners that still rely on proven names.
Kevin Peiterson, recently retired by the ECB, was the only ENGLISH (technically) player to be selected for the IPL on day 1. The current crop of Bell, Bopara, Hales, Wright, Keiswetter and Dernbach were ignored. Morgan remains the other English player to be a favorite tomorrow with a base price of 1.5 crore.
Day 2 will see young uncapped names like Baba Aparijith, Juneja, Chand, Zol, Bisla, KL Rahul, Pandey, CM Gautam, Abdullah, Rajat Bhatia, Cooper, Rishi Dhawan, Rasool, Menaria, Ten Doeschate, Shreyas Gopal, Tambe, Teja go under the hammer to form a major (local) part of the league squads.