Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Karthik were once again the big winners at this week’s Indian Premier League auction – but the day will perhaps be best remembered for those who missed out rather than signed.
Ex-Indian stars Yuvraj and Karthik, who were bought for 14 crore (£1.43m) and 12.5 crore (£1.3m) by Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils respectively last year, hit the jackpot on a relatively-quiet session of bidding for the 2015 season on Monday (16).
Delhi splashed out 16 crore (£1.6m) for Yuvraj’s services while Bangalore paid 10.5 crore to secure Karthik’s signing. Delhi were also involved in the third biggest deal of the window, signing Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews for 7.5 crore.
Other major movers included veteran pace ace Zaheer Khan (Delhi, 4 crore), New Zealand seamer Trent Boult (Sunrisers Hyderabad, 3.8 crore), Indian spin king Amit Mishra (Delhi, 3.5 crore) and South African slugger Aaron Finch (Mumbai Indians, 3.2 crore).
Kings XI Punjab paid three crore for Indian opener Murali Vijay, and West Indies star Darren Sammy (2.8 crore) and South Africa all-rounder David Wiese (2 crore) both joined Bangalore, but those who were snubbed read like a Who’s Who of world cricket.
South Africa’s Hashim Amla, third in the Test batting rankings and second in the one-day list, led the list of high-profile absences alongside Sri Lankan legends Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
West Indies quartet Marlon Samuels, Darren Bravo, Dinesh Ramdin and Ravi Rampaul also failed to attract any bids, as did New Zealand’s Ross Taylor, Luke Ronchi, Grant Elliott and Richard Levi.
Like last season, Sri Lanka players proved to be unpopular. As well as the their big three, current World Cup members Lahiri Thirimanne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Kusal Perera, Ajantha and Jeevan Mendis, and Sachithra Senanayake miss out too.
There was no takers for England pair Michael Carberry and Alex Hales, South Africa’s Wayne Parnell and Robin Peterson, and Australia veterans Peter Siddle, Brad Hodge, Brett Hilfenhaus, Nathan Lyon and Doug Bollinger.
Some of India’s top names lost out; Cheteshwar Pujara, Munaf Patel, Abhinav Mukund, Lakshmipathy Balaji and RP Singh the biggest. All in all, over 100 players didn’t make the cut.
Lasting nearly eight hours, the auction saw eight franchises buy 67 players at a cost of 87.6 crore, featuring 23 international stars.
Once again the man every franchise wants, Yuvraj, who originally only had a base price of two crore, is getting used to major money moves – so much so he was asleep when former side Bangalore fought it out with eventual suitors Delhi for his signature!
“I was sleeping when the auction was going on. I came to know of this only when some guests came to my house and told me about the good news,” he admitted later.
“The best part is I am going to play under (ex-India coach Gary) Kirsten. I had my best years under him and hopefully I can repeat that with Delhi.”
Kirsten said he was delighted to get the deal over the line and was looking forward to seeing the World Cup winner in action.
“You want to know that through the season you have various combinations to fall back on. We learned from last year that if we want a player we need to push hard for him,” he said.
“Hence we were prepared to go all the way with Yuvraj. He can add good value to the side.”
Asked who will lead the Daredevils following the acquisition of Mathews, Kirsten added. “We haven’t made a decision. Mathews does come into the mix as captain.
“We had looked for players that we feel can be senior players in their international side, leaders in their own right, and Angelo will add to that.”
There were more some success stories next to the massive deals. English trio Kevin Pietersen (2 crore, £205,000), Eoin Morgan (1.5 crore, £156,000) and Ravi Bopara (1 crore, £100,000) will all play in Hyderabad in 2015, alongside New Zealand batting maestro Kane Williamson (60 lakh).
Indian bowler Praveen Kumar (2.2 crore) is another Sunrisers addition; in total the team snapped up 10 new players after slashing their wage bill.
Traditionally batting-heavy Bangalore invested in their bowling attack, adding Australia’s Sean Abbott (1 crore) and New Zealand’s Adam Milne (70 lakh) to their ranks.
Indian left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha was bought by Mumbai for 50 lakh, defending ch-amps Kolkata Knight Riders picked up veteran Brad Hogg (50 lakh), and another experienced Aussie, Michael Hussey, went to Chennai (1.5 crore).
There was several potential bargains in the auction alongside Pietersen’s and Morgan’s paltry fees. Ojha and Abott could turn out to be great business, as could Mumbai’s 30 lakh deal to bring in New Zealand pace man Mitchell McClenaghan. Delhi’s swoop for South African all-rounder Albie Morkel for a similar fee seems like money well spent.
Zaheer and new boys Shreyas Iyer and KC Cariappa were involved in arguably the three most striking deals of the day.
Zaheer saw his financial and career fortunes change in a minute. He failed to command a single bid in the first round of auctions, but a post-lunch bidding war between Delhi and Mumbai saw him join the Daredevils for four 4 crore.
The two franchises also battled it out for 20-year-old youngster Shreyas Iyer, who made a big impression in his debut season in domestic cricket for Mumbai. With a base price of just 10 lakh, Delhi came out on top again, stumping up some 2.6 crore for the big-hitting batsmen.
But even that news was nothing compared to that which saw mystery spinner KC Carippa join Kolkata for an amazing 2.4 crore without any top-flight experience.
Likened to by Ricky Ponting as an ‘Indian Sunil Narine’, Cariappa, 20, had only played under-19 cricket for Karnataka before taking 11 wickets, including India’s Manish Pandey’s, in the Karnataka Premier T20 League.
After impressing in trials with the team last year, Cariappa now commands a bigger fee than Pietersen, Morgan and Hussey. “I don’t know what to say. It is really a dream come true,” he said afterwards. “I was confident of being picked for my base price of 10 lakh but never thought of the crores. I just hope I get to play in the 11.
He added: “I don’t care about the money for now. I hope I get to play for Karnataka soon. My parents have sacrificed a lot for me. With the money I get, I want to buy a house for them.”
Sarfaraz Naushad Khan, 17, became the youngest player to be bought at the auction when Bangalore signed him for 50 lakh.
Delhi also bolstered their bowling ranks by picking up India-born Australian Gurinder Sandhu for 1.7 crore.
Sandhu, who made his limited-overs debut for Australia in the recent tri-series, also showed good form in the recent Big Bash competition.
A total of 122 cricketers, including 78 Indians and 44 overseas players, were retained by the franchises.
The IPL will take place from April 8 until May 24. The first match will see 2014 champion Kolkata take on 2013 winners Mumbai.