IPL Auction 2019: The Crorepati Signings That Defy Logic
At various points in time during the 2019 IPL auction on Tuesday, 18 December, several individuals must have experienced a gamut of emotions. Anxiety – waiting for their name to be called up, thrill – watching the franchises fighting to lift the paddles to secure their services for the season, joy – when the auctioneer put the hammer down confirming the player being signed up by a certain franchise, or disappointment – when players did not find a team who wanted their services, or when they did not get signed up for a fee they were expecting.
Yes, that’s just what players go through when the IPL Player Auction takes place. Players give it their best on the field all the time, throw in their names in the IPL Auction register, and wait – while the franchise owners, the team coaches and support staff strategise, figure out their needs and then decide which player to chase at the Auction.
As has happened every year, several players – unknown hitherto – became household names overnight and found their names alongside ‘Breaking News’ on television screens.
Along the same lines, a few players – who were expected to miss the bus – found takers, despite them not doing anything significant to merit a paddle-raise. Here’s looking at a few such players, who can be termed ‘surprise signings’.
The Chennai Super Kings forked out INR 5 Crores for the 30-year-old pacer Mohit Sharma, who was the team’s highest wicket-taker in IPL 2014. Last season, Mohit turned up for Kings XI Punjab; after acceptable returns in his first outing of the season, his returns in the remainder of the season read: 8 matches, 5 wickets, 57.80 average, 11.25 economy rate.
Now, Mohit has the reputation of being an extremely hard-working bowler and can do plenty of damage with the ball when he finds his rhythm. But has he done anything since the last IPL to indicate he is in any kind of rhythm to merit such a huge price at the auction?
There is no denying that Ishant Sharma is bowling the best he ever has. But that form has only been seen in the longer formats – Test cricket, Ranji Trophy, etc. The Delhi Capitals franchise dished out INR 1.1 Crore to sign up the lanky pacer. Ricky Ponting, the Delhi Capitals coach – who was on commentary duties for the first two Test matches in Australia – has first-hand witnessed how good Ishant has been with the red ball.
Ishant perhaps found that rhythm that has led to him becoming India’s pace spearhead in Test matches on the tour of Sri Lanka in 2015. While his red ball numbers are outstanding, his white ball numbers – particularly in the shortest format – aren’t great.
The Mumbai Indians doled out INR 3.4 Crore to secure the services of the Punjab medium pacer Barinder Sran, who has so far played 6 ODIs & 2 T20Is for India. Given the build of the MI squad, they desperately needed to bolster their Indian fast bowling attack. However, does that explain them going after the 26-year-old Sran, who was released by Kings XI Punjab, and has done very little of note in the last few months?
A player who made stellar contributions to India’s wins in the World T20 2007 and World Cup 2011, Yuvraj Singh was signed up by the Mumbai Indians for INR 1.0 Crore. If one were to go by form as the only factor, Yuvraj Singh shouldn’t have landed a contract at Tuesday’s auction. Here’s why:
Was MI’s decision to sign up Yuvraj Singh based on cricketing logic alone, or were there other factors at work?
Kings XI Punjab signed up Sarfaraz Khan for INR 25 Lacs. The 21-year-old’s selection is really puzzling:
- He was listed in the all-rounder’s category, when he has bowled only 18 deliveries in 78 matches at the senior level and is yet to pick up a wicket,
- He has not played ONE senior level competitive cricket match since the completion of last IPL; his last senior-level competitive match was against Rajasthan Royals on 19 May 2018,
- He was released by Royal Challengers Bangalore, who had retained him prior to last season.