It’s the biggest auction since the inaugural edition of the IPL with the teams looking to start fresh, but surprisingly, the razzmatazz was missing. Whether it had to do with the betting scandal and Justice Mudgal Committee report was anyone’s guess.
Cricketers the world over eagerly wait for this day, but on Wednesday most of them were left disappointed. Of the 219 who were up for auction, only 70 found buyers. A total of Rs. 212.35 crore was spent by the franchises. The unlucky will have a second chance on Thursday when the unsold players are brought back for auction.
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Except for a few big players, the furious bidding wars were absent, which could explain the reason for prices not skyrocketing.
It also needs to be taken into account that most teams have opted to retain marquee players. Then, the competition is a team less with the scrapping of the Pune Warriors.
Instead of answering questions on a big catch, the teams were asked about the Mudgal Committee’s findings and the impact of the controversy.
Only two players went for above Rs. 10-crore– Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Karthik. The Sri Lanka and England players had few takers, and one reason could be that a series is scheduled between the two nations in May, putting a question mark over their availability.
Most surprising was Ross Taylor going unsold. Taylor is a proven IPL performer and in the form of his life. The New Zealander has dominated the India attack in the ODI and Test series.
Mahela Jayawardene, captain of the Delhi Daredevils last season, also went unsold along with Tillekaratne Dilshan.
Capped India players are always in demand, but this time they suffered too. An example was the Pathan brothers, Yusuf and Irfan.
From a combined earning of around Rs. 20 crore per season in the last auction, the two have a combined worth of Rs. 5.65 crore this time. Yusuf was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs. 3.25 crore while Irfan was taken by the Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs. 2.40 crore.
In the 2011 auction, Yusuf was sold for $2.1 million and Irfan for $1.9m. Among the India capped players, S Badrinath, RP Singh, Munaf Patel, Praveen Kumar and Manpreet Gony were ignored.
Delhi Daredevils top official, TA Sekar, attributed the conservative buying to the franchises becoming wiser with experience.
“No team will buy 27 players this time, it will be roughly around 20. I was present at all the auctions and now teams have a better understanding of building squads and have specific strategies in place for the auction,” said Sekar.
Kings XI Punjab co-owner, Preity Zinta, and Royal Challengers Bangalore owner, Vijay Mallya, denied that the findings in the betting scandal had a dampening effect on the auctions.
“It happens in every sport. We would not have been sitting here if we would not have been excited about the IPL. The brand has been growing in value. It is unfortunate that there are such scams from time to time. But I think the core of IPL is sound,” said Mallya.