IPL Auction Strategy: Some Teams Trust Old Ways, Some Falter, Some Pivot Midway

While Chennai and Mumbai stuck to their old ways, Punjab and Delhi changed their strategies.

4 min read
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Trust Anil Kumble to summarise two days of an intense auction in two simple sentences: "It's a play of demand and supply. And this time, it was more difficult because 10 teams were competing for the same players," he said.

To handle this dynamic challenge, the teams had to discard set notions, abandon previous methods, and keep an open mind. If T20 cricket is about thinking on one's feet, the Bangalore auction demanded similar, quick footwork by the team owners and managements.


IPL Auction 2022: Delhi Chargers Had to Pivot From 'Indian Core' Format

The Delhi Chargers and Rajasthan Royals had come to the auctions with a rebooted strategy, vastly different from their set DNA. The DC had, so far, invested in top Indian talent and their changing fortunes over the last three years were largely due to their Indian arsenal, consisting of Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, R Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Axar Patel, and Avesh Khan. Till now, the DC had appeared as the most 'Indian' team in the IPL.

But with two additional teams in the competition gunning for the same pool, the DC realised that the game was up. The era of a 'strong local core' was over. They made half-hearted efforts to 'buy back' Shikhar, Shreyas, Ashwin, Avesh (also Rabada), but failed.

On seeing the writing on the wall, they changed their tack. Warner instead of Shikhar and Mandeep/Sarfaraz as replacements for Shreyas left them with no big-gun Indian batter. The bowling unit had to be refigured as well, with Rabada's departure. This time, the fast-bowling group was created around Indian bowlers – Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed, and Chetan Sakariya.


IPL Auction 2022: No Holding Back for RR This Time

The Rajasthan Royals, too, did a massive course correction this IPL auction.

Historically, they used to follow the low-cost budget airline model of buying inexpensive Indian uncapped batting talent (Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Riyan Parag) hoping they would develop and deliver. They always held back in auctions, spending prudently and saving their player purse.

This changed somewhat last season when they splurged Rs 16.25 crore on Chris Morris, a replacement for Ben Stokes. And at Bangalore, they shed their diffidence and decided to spend big. In a series of big-ticket purchases, they put Rs 10 crore on Prasidh Krishna, Rs 8.5 crore on Hetmyer, Rs 8 crore on Trent Boult, Rs 7.75 crore on Padikkal, and Rs 6.5 crore on Yuzvendra Chahal. With experienced old pro Karun Nair added to the mix, Royals, the no-frills airline, was clearly on a new flight path altogether.

Significantly, the Royals went almost the whole distance shopping for players and saved just Rs 95 lakh from their Rs 90 crore auction purse.


IPL 2022: Punjab's Best Auction Outing?

Like the Royals, the Kings Punjab, too, did a major repair job to redress problems of the previous season. They came to the Bangalore IPL auction with plenty of baggage – poor performance, a broken team, only two retained players, and no captain.

But head coach Anil Kumble should now be delighted that he fixed all the problems through some strategic moves.

No opener/captain because KL Rahul left? Shikhar Dhawan is the answer.

No death bowlers? Rabada sorts that out.

No spin bowler because Ravi Bishnoi left? Rahul Chahar is a great replacement.

No finisher? Shahrukh Khan, Liam Livingstone, and Odean Smith will provide the firepower.


IPL Auction 2022: CSK Stuck to Old Ways

While the Delhi Chargers, Rajasthan Royals, and Punjab Kings were extremely supple in strategy, the two big-guns – MI and CSK – bucked the trend and stayed loyal to their time-tested methods.

At the CSK, experience and continuity are priceless; the team works on the family value of bonding and apna khoon, apna hota hai philosophy. MS Dhoni prefers stability and calm, and that's why the CSK made no major tactical change.

Adopting a ghar waapsi strategy, they bought back their core – Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu, Dwayne Bravo, Mitchell Santner, Narayan Jagadeesan, Tushar Deshpande, and Deepak Chahar. Chahar, in fact, came at great cost – Rs 14 crore. They also collected a bunch of lesser-known players, picking ones who had two skills.

Over the years, the CSK and MSD have been inseparable, and it is the only franchise that is run by a player – not the coach or the owner. It is only MSD who can shade the brand, decide policy, decide team – and call the shots. Obviously, his methods work; the CSK is successful on the field and a commercial hit as well.

Only he can put Jadeja (Rs 16 crore) ahead of himself (Rs 12 crore) while the franchise was retaining players.

MSD, for all his celebrated calm and Mahi bhai elder-brotherly nature, has a tough streak. That explains the ruthless, emotionless dropping of Suresh Raina. Forget buying back at any cost – no bid. Game over, goodbye Raina.

While Chennai and Mumbai stuck to their old ways, Punjab and Delhi changed their strategies.

Akash Ambani and Nita Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians.

Image: BCCI

IPL Auction 2022: Mumbai Sat Back, Relaxed

The Mumbai Indians' slow to get off the blocks strategy at the auction had many surprised.

While others scrambled to buy players, the MI sat back patiently, waiting for their moment, holding their horses, so to say.

As in the past, their approach was clinical, precise – and the execution was no different from surgical strikes. They wanted Ishan Kishan back – mission accomplished by putting Rs 15.25 on the table. And they had the funds because until Ishan's name had come up in the fourth set, Mumbai had not bought a single player.

With Hardik Pandya gone and Kieron Pollard fading, the MI needed a quality finisher. Rather than punt on short-term solutions, they targeted Tim David, a sensation in leagues across the world.

The bid for Archer was typical MI – badi soch, no half measure. Jofra is the best in the business, a long-term asset, an ideal partner for Bumrah.

While other teams think of temporary band-aids for medical problems, the MI chooses to eliminate the illness.

Top team, top-class thinking.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Mumbai Indians   Delhi Capitals   IPL 2022 

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