by Sajed Ahmed
There’s been a lot of buzz and chatter over the IPL auctions for the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League. I have to admit that how much ever I hate T20 cricket, a lot of strategy goes into the purchasing of players and that’s what makes the IPL interesting. Like any other auction, the IPL auctions have basic rules that govern the way the auction is conducted. Every team has a finite purchasing power in the form of a pre-determined sum of money based on their player retentions. A minimum of 14 Indian and a maximum of 10 foreign players can be there in the squad. Another important facility is the right to match card. The number of right to match cards with every team depends on the number of players retained by the franchise. The right to match card allows the team to secure a player from their previous roster by matching the highest bid.
These rules play an important role when it comes to the bidding for players. Besides these rules, the other important factor that affects the selection of the team is the 4 foreign players rule. Due to the 4 foreign players rule which only allows four foreign players to be a part of the playing XI, the composition of the team and the utility of the players has to be carefully determined. For a simple example to start with, CSK lost one of their core members Albie Morkel to arch rivals RCB. To compensate that CSK tried to bid for Jacques Kallis, another South African all rounder. But unfortunately for CSK, KKR used the right to match card for King Kallis. CSK also lost their opener Murali Vijay who was picked up by DD for 5 crores. As a sign of desperation, CSK used their right to match card on Faf Du Plessis and managed to get Brandon McCullum into their lineup. Most of the teams are looking to get the maximum output off a player. Generally in a T20 game, pure batsmen or pure bowlers aren’t preferable. If we look at the list of unsold players heavyweights like Jayawardene, Gibbs and Phil Hughes couldn’t attract attention because first of all they are foreign players and besides that they are specialists in only one department. Rather than going for someone as complete in one department like Jayawardene, It is preferable to go for a little less perfect a batsman but also someone who can chip in with the ball like Steve Smith who got picked up for 4 crores by RR. The same thing goes for wicket keeping. MI did a smart move by dropping Aditya Tare, a brilliant wicket keeper but a little dull with the bat and training their well performing pure batsman, Ambati Rayudu into a wicket keeper. Though initially it seemed like a bad decision, the boldness paid off. Since there is hardly any space for a spinner into the T20 arena, talented spinners like Suraj Randiv and Syed Mohammed couldn’t find a team. It is tough to digest the fact that intimidating personalities like Dilshan, Angelo Mathews and David Hussey also didn’t attract a buyer. When it comes to the bowling department, most of the foreign fast bowlers including Brett Lee weren’t lucky. Indian wickets do not have much in store for fast bowlers. 150 kmph or 130 kmph, its almost the same. Besides, T20 demands smart bowlers, not necessarily fast bowlers. Bowlers like Shaun Tait and Tino Best who can generate some serious pace remain unsold.
Enough about the unsold players lets now take a look at the players who are going home with their pockets full. The highest was Yuvraj Singh with a mighty offer of 14 crores by RCB. With the addition of Yuvi in their lineup RCB now have one of the most intimidating batting lineups on paper. Will the overdose of aggression pay off? Time only will tell. The next on the list is the Tamil Nadu wicket keeper batsman Dinesh Karthik who gets retained by DD for 12.5 crores. With a lot of experience in domestic cricket and the IPL, Karthik is a very good buy because he can fit in any role in the batting order of DD. Considering the fact that DD couldn’t retain Viru, the move to buy Karthik is a good one. Kevin Pietersen was claimed by DD using the right to match card for SRH’s bid of 9 crores. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Kevin take up Viru’s role in the DD lineup as an opener. With Kevin’s fallout with the ECB this contract at the IPL would do great for his self-confidence and a confident Kevin Pietersen can make life miserable for any bowler.
With the whole Gurunath Meiyappan fiasco, let’s just hope that this year’s IPL would just be simple cricket, a lot of runs, a lot of wickets and obviously some funny sledging incidents as well. With a lot of money involves it is painful to see the sanctity of the sport being tarnished. Serious stuff aside, It’s time to get ready for the biggest cricket league in the world. MI have a really tough job at their hands to defend their title. Well anyway, I’m going to paint my face yellow and roar for the lions. Chennai Super Kingsku periya whistle adiyingaaaaa!