The fact that it was a ‘mini-auction’ seemed to have helped keep prices down on Saturday. As teams looked more at finding the right combination than just splurging on big names, there were no bids of more than Rs 9.50 crore.
Most franchises have already retained their premier choices and it was a matter of filling the gaps. While that was the intention, IPL auctions have been bereft of logic in quite a few cases. A few teams did follow this theory, but the majority kept economics ahead of pomp.
Defending champions Mumbai Indians were the most economical, spending the least among the bunch at Rs 52.95 crore. Mumbai, aided by the rich experience of Sundar Raman, who once was the man running the IPL, retained 19 players ahead of the auction, the most by a team. Their focus was on filling the roles left vacant by those released.
The wicketkeeper-batsman was one area where Mumbai remained under-strength, with an inconsistent Parthiv Patel and Aditya Tare their only options.
(For complete breakdown of the auction, read here)
The Ricky Ponting-led side released Tare and brought in Englishman Jos Buttler for Rs 3.80 crore. The 25-year-old has been in roaring form, scoring back-to-back centuries in ODIs, the latest coming three days back when he scored a 73-ball ton that paved the way for England’s win over South Africa.
England cricket director Andrew Strauss’ decision to allow more players to be a part of the IPL means Buttler will be available for the entire season.
Mumbai’s decision to buy Tim Southee can also be termed a smart move. The New Zealand pacer was a standout performer in the 2015 World Cup. Presently injured, a fit Southee, who was purchased for Rs 2.50 crore, could prove a vital cog.
Mumbai also put out Rs 3.20 crore for the little-known Nathu Singh. The pacer has been touted a special talent with chief selector Sandeep Patil and under-19 coach Rahul Dravid spotting a spark. In all, Mumbai managed to spend Rs 14.40 crore, the lowest in the auction and came away with some smart buys.
In terms of value for money, Gujarat Lions too had a good day, considering this was their first time at an IPL auction. The Rajkot-based side kept the purse strings tight, but still bought over 19 players, in addition to the five they got in during the draft.
At Rs 55.65 crore, they were the fourth-lowest spenders in the auction. They picked up many big names at only a little over their base price. They bought Australian Aaron Finch at his base price of Rs 1 crore. Gujarat also snapped up South Africa pacer Dale Steyn at Rs 2.30 crore, just a little over his base price of Rs 1.50 crore. Keeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik also came their way for Rs 2.30 crore (base price Rs 2 crore).
Gujarat managed to retain Rs 10.35 crore from their budget, Rs 5.15 crore more than Pune.
Kings XI Punjab also made some smart bids. They picked medium-pacer Mohit Sharma, on whom they spent Rs 6.50 crore. Going into the auction, Kings XI lacked good medium-pacers and the two big purchases they made were Mohit and South Africa pacer Kyle Abbott (Rs 2.10 crore).
Kings XI were joint second-lowest spenders (Rs 53.75 crore) alongside Kolkata Knight Riders. Unlike KKR, who kept spending to the minimum during the auction, Kings XI bid smartly on necessary expenses.
Sunrisers Hyderabad did make some noteworthy buys, but ended up packing their side with bowling options.