IPL’s original plan for level-playing field finally comes to fruition in auction
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IPL’s original plan for level-playing field finally comes to fruition in auction

The goal of ensuring a level-playing field has finally come true at the start of the new decade of Indian Premier league (IPL). And that was the dominant thought at the end of the mega auction.

cricket Updated: Jan 28, 2018 22:50 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Bangaloe
IPl auction 2018,Indian Premier League,Chennai Super Kings
Preity Zinta, co-owner of Kings XI Punjab, and Indian Premier League chairman Rajeev Shukla (L) and Ranjit Barthakur, Rajasthan Royals CEO on the sidleine of the IPL auction 2018.(AFP)

When Lalit Modi put in place the Indian Premier League, he took care to establish a formula where the tournament stayed competitive and didn’t become the domain of the richer clubs, like the European football leagues where you can count before the season who will be among the top five. (IPL AUCTION 2018 DAY 2 HIGHLIGHTS)

Modi put a salary cap and had a limit on the spending purse, but the formula didn’t succeed for the first 10 years. The goal of ensuring a level-playing field has finally come true at the start of the new decade of IPL. And that was the dominant thought at the end of the mega auction.

READ | IPL considering draft system to ensure player continuity in teams

Not losing out

On Sunday, after the curtain came down on the two-day event, some franchises would be left thinking they could have spent their purse better. But at the end of the day, they knew the difference was not much among the eight teams.

As widely expected, teams will be more competitive this time. There were two reasons: first, the availability of a wider talent pool, and more importantly, the budget teams for the first time participated whole-heartedly in the auction.

No one held back. For the first 10 years, Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI were the two who were always content to play second fiddle to the likes of Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore. The two grabbed the headlines this weekend. It was on the power of the new broadcast deal that the two made the headlines.

READ | IPL auction 2018: Jaydev Unadkat steals the show, Chris Gayle gets lifeline

Making CSK wait

CSK are past masters of this game, but for once they were struggling to get their man on Sunday as Kings XI and RR, powered by the expected windfall from the central pool revenue share, bid aggressively.

The Chennai team’s first buy of the day was in the fourth set of the morning, when they got Shardul Thakur for Rs2.6 crore, and were left with the most sum (Rs6.5cr) at the end of the auction.

But teams like CSK, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore had started the auction with a big advantage, having retained their best players. Their job was to build a team around their core group and they managed that. To add to MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja, they have packed the side with experienced hands like Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Shane Watson.

READ | Jaydev Unadkat, seen as priceless asset, trumps Mitchell Starc as biggest bowler buy in IPL auction 2018

KKR’s player ploy

Kolkata Knight Riders have stuck to getting a certain style of players, the more explosive kind, to suit the changed conditions at the Eden Gardens. In Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson and young Kamlesh Nagarkoti, they have the personnel to form a lively track.

The Kolkata team’s main concern is the lack of a clear-cut captaincy candidate. CEO Venky Mysore defended it by giving the example of Rohit Sharma’s success. “We may be creating a new captain. You take lessons from what has happened with other teams. For example when Rohit Sharma was made captain (of Mumbai Indians), look at what has happened to him. I think we’ll come up with a solution.”

Delhi has built their team around young batting stars Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer and India Under-19 captain Prithvi Shaw. Skipper Gaiutam Gambhir should add experience and Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult and Mohammed Shami give them pace power.

Sunrisers Hyderabad had made early inroads on the opening day and have a settled look. Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah give Mumbai Indians the nucleus, and though they didn’t have big gains in the early rounds of the auction, they finally managed a few buys that gives them the balance.

RCB have added enough quality to support Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers, with the likes of Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock, Mandeep Singh and Parthiv Patel. They have packed enough bowling options too with four good spin options led by Yazvendra Chahal, and the all-rounders.

From the initial look of the squads, it’s going to be a closely fought tournament.

First Published: Jan 28, 2018 21:58 IST