The Indian Premier League 2017 players’ auction in Bengaluru generated a lot of interest amongst cricketers and IPL fans. While England cricketers ruled the roost with the likes of Ben Stokes, Tymal Mills, Chris Woakes and Eoin Morgan earning crores, young Indian cricketers such as T Natarajan and Mohammad Siraj also bagged a large chunk of money.
While some teams missed out on players as they could not match the high price, every team had their moments when they successfully landed the cricketers they wanted. Here’s what the much-talked about buys can bring to the table for the teams which shelled out the money at the IPL players auction 2017.
1) Rising Pune Supergiants (Ben Stokes) : He was the hottest property as the auction approached and the way teams went nuts chasing him. Stokes, as everyone predicted, earned the big moolah as Rising Pune Supergiants splurged Rs. 14.5 crore to have the England all-rounder’s services.
Livewire in the field, big-hitter of the cricket ball and more than handful as a pacer, Stokes, the all-rounder, will provide a much-needed balance to the Rising Pune Supergiants which it lacked in the previous season. The England all-rounder, who bats at 4 down in T20s, can be a perfect partner for MS Dhoni as the team will like to go hammer and tongs in the final overs of the game. With the likes of Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith taking care of top order, Stokes, with his ability to alter his game and also to go berserk at the first possible opportunity, will be of great help for the side which suffered in IPL 9 due to their top-heavy batting line-up.
2) Royal Challengers Bangalore (Tymal Mills) : Royal Challengers Bangalore were done in by Mitchell Starc’s decision to discontinue his association with the team a day before the auction. Although it is premature to judge how having Tymal replacing Starc will work for the team, RCB have done their bit to have a like-for-like replacement for the Australian.
While one cannot rule out RCB coach Daniel Vettori’s role in Tymal getting picked (the duo had worked together at the Brisbane Heat), his recent showing against India in the Twenty20 series must have played a part in his selection in the side led by Indian skipper Virat Kohli. Although RCB have the batting fire power as they have Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Shane Watson and Sarfraz Khan in their ranks, Tymal’s inclusion, in addition to the RCB’s decision to buy Aniket Chaudhary for Rs. 2 crore, who recently had been a net bowler for Team India as they prepared a gameplan to tackle Starc in the upcoming four-match Test series, can be a case of the team trying their best to overcome their bowling woes; an area of concern.
3) Sunrisers Hyderabad (Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi and Mohammad Siraj) : While Mohammad Nabi became the first cricketer from Afghanistan to get picked by an IPL team; it was a 19-year-old Rashid Khan for whom Sunrisers Hyderabad, the defending champions, spent Rs. 4 crore. The Afghanistan duo will strengthen Sunrisers spin-bowling department.
However, with David Warner and Mustafizur Rahman are certain to fill in two out of four slots for non-Indian cricketers in the playing XI, Rashid, the leg-spinner and Nabi, off-spinning all-rounder who was bought for Rs. 30 lakh, will have to fight it out between themselves and with Moises Henriques and Ben Cutting to grab the final two spots in the team.
Mohammad Siraj, who played majority of his cricket with tennis ball before turning 20, was another buy which attracted a lot of attention. The 22-year-old right-arm medium pacer, whose gradual rise through the ranks which saw him make it to Rest of India and India A sides, was bought for Rs. 2.6 crore. Siraj, who was born to an autorickshaw driver and lives in a one-bedroom house in Hyderabad, will now share the stage with the likes of Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and will be mentored by VVS Laxman and Muttiah Muralitharan. From the team’s point of view, Siraj’s addition will strengthen their pace-bowling attack, which already has Mustafizur, Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, even further.
4) Delhi Daredevils (Kagiso Rabada) : Kagiso Rabada was one of the most sought after pacer coming into the auction and Delhi Daredevils made sure to fetch him, shelling Rs. 5 crore. The South African, whose stock as one of the finest modern day pacers is on the upswing, will add a much-needed firepower to Delhi Daredevils bowling attack. If Mohammed Shami, who is recuperating from knee issues, gets fit, it will be a daunting task for the opposition to tackle two of the finest exponents of pace bowling. While it is likely that Rabada will leave IPL early to represent his national side, he and Shami alongside Pat Cummins, who was bought for Rs. 4.5 crore, Chris Morris, Zaheer Khan (if fit) and Amit Mishra, will give a much-needed boost to Delhi’s ambition to win the IPL for the first time.
5) Kolkata Knight Riders (Trent Boult and Chris Woakes) : With Shakib Al Hasan and Sunil Narine taking care of spin-bowling department and Umesh Yadav in their ranks as the Indian pacer, Kolkata Knight Riders have more or less settled on their bowling attack by buying Trent Boult and Chris Woakes at the auction. While Boult, who was released by Sunrisers Hyderabad, cost KKR Rs. 5 crore, for Woakes the Shah Rukh Khan-co-owned side spent Rs. 4.2 crore.
The KKR management also landed Nathan Coulter-Nile for Rs. 3.5 crore and with prospects of Woakes likely to leave for England duties before the culmination of the IPL, Coulter-Nile’s presence in the squad gives the Gautam Gambhir-led side a cushion in the pace-bowling unit.
6) Gujarat Lions (Jason Roy) : No team picked Jason Roy in the first round of auction, but franchisees recalled his name as the second round of auction began. The Keshav Bansal-owned Gujarat Lions snapped up the England opener for his base price of Rs.1 crore. Roy, who has been an England regular in the coloured clothing over last 18 months, is currently doing a fine job playing for Pakistan Super League franchise Lahore Qalandars, where he is team’s leading run-getter in 5 games played so far and is at number three in the overall list.
Gujarat Lions, who already have the likes of Aaron Finch, Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum in their ranks, will have to do a bit of shuffling in the batting order if they want to accommodate Roy in the playing XI. While Roy had struggled against spin during the ODI and T20 series against India, his explosive hitting will be too hard to ignore for the Suresh Raina-led team.
7) Mumbai Indians (Karn Sharma) : While he could not impress much in the limited opportunities he was presented to play for Team India, Karn Sharma has done reasonably well in IPL. While Sunrisers Hyderabad offloaded him after a rather below-par season last year, Mumbai Indians, who were in a need of leg-spinner, bought him for Rs. 3.2 crore. However, this won’t guarantee Karn a confirmed place in the playing XI.
With the Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai side having the likes of Harbhajan Singh, Shreyas Gopal, J Suchith and Krunal Pandya – a spin-bowling all-rounder and Krishnappa Gowtham, who Mumbai Indians bought in auction for Rs. 2 crore, in the side, Karn will have to fight it out to be Harbhajan’s spin-bowling partner in the side, unless Mumbai Indians decide to go with two specialist spinners.
8) Kings XI Punjab (T Natarajan, Varun Aaron and Eoin Morgan) : Like Mohammad Siraj, who was picked by Sunrisers Hyderabad, T Natarajan took the tennis-ball cricket route to success. Natarajan, who had to remodel his action, was bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs. 3 crore. KXIP, who already have Mohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma and Varun Aaron, whom they bought in the auction for Rs. 2.8 crore, in the side, will like to have Natarajan, who bowls left-arm, in the team to bring in the variation in the bowling attack.
The left-arm medium pacer was a revelation of sorts in the Tamil Nadu Premier League last year as he hurled six yorkers in an over and defended 12 runs while playing for Dindigul Dragons against the eventual tournament champions Tuti Patriots. Natarajan had scalped 10 wickets in 7 games he played in TNPL that year. If that was not enough, he was pivotal to Tamil Nadu’s run to the Ranji Trophy semifinal in 2016-17. Natarajan claimed 24 wickets in that season, and successfully partnered Aswin Crist (35 wickets) and K Vignesh (37 wickets) in Tamil Nadu’s run to the final four.
Although Natarajan was one of the star buys for KXIP, Eoin Morgan’s inclusion (for Rs.2 crore) in the side can sort leadership issues KXIP had last year. While Morgan, the batsman, will add a firepower to KXIP’s middle-order which boasts of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller and has Murali Vijay and Shaun Marsh at the top, Morgan, who leads England in ODIs and T20s, may also captain the side as it chases its first ever IPL triumph.
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