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Afghans add to the IPL flavour as cricketers from England, Sri Lanka miss out

Afghan cricketers, led by spinner Rashid Khan, received significant interest during the IPL auction, but many cricketers from England and Sri Lanka were snubbed

cricket Updated: Jan 29, 2018 16:41 IST
IPL auction,IPL 2018 auction,IPL 2018
Rashid Khan (R) was retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad for IPL 2018 through the right-to-match option.(BCCI)

Even though all-rounder Ben Stokes grabbed the headlines with a final bid of Rs. 12.5 crore for him, the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction remained a bit of a dampener for the cricketers from England. (IPL 2018: FULL PLAYER LIST & SALARIES)

For a change, there was a sizeable number of England players who had put their names up for auctions, but the franchises just bid for eight players and 16 remained unsold. Even the England captains, Test skipper Joe Root as well as limited overs skipper Eoin Morgan, could find no takers. Root was in the auction for the first time and - alongside England team-mate Ben Stokes - was one of 16 ‘marquee’ players.

Asked to explain the lack of interest in the England players, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) CEO Venky Mysore said: “My sense is, historically they’ve never been part of the IPL. Familiarity issue probably. You do have an issue with availability. They won’t be available for the last ten days and they won’t be available next season for the Word Cup. They also have very high base prices.”

Among the subcontinental teams, the talking point was the confidence shown in the talent from Afghanistan with four of the players attracting strong bids. In fact, Rashid Khan’s price went through the roof and Sunrisers Hyderabad got him for RS. 9 crore. In comparison, Sri Lankans had no takers. Even their star player, Angelo Mathews, found himself completely ignored.

Barring Akila Dananjaya, who was picked by the Mumbai Indians in the last list of the auction, there is going to be no other Sri Lankan presence in the IPL. He was sold at his base price. How Sri Lankan players’ stocks have fallen in the T20 league was evident when even Nepal had one cricketer picked up.

There was a lukewarm response towards the West Indians too, with Chris Gayle surviving the embarrassment of going unsold only in the final list.

As for the Sri Lankans, the poor performances against India seem to have worked against them.

There was a time when almost every franchise had a couple of Sri Lankan players. There were Lasith Malinga, Sanath Jayasuirya, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakarra, all-rounders Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, Ajantha Mendis.

Muttiah Muralitharan had said last year it is not that franchises don’t want Sri Lankan players, but at the moment the quality of players is not there.

First Published: Jan 29, 2018 10:39 IST