Takeaways from the 2018 IPL auction

Gayle's last-minute entry

The 'Universe Boss' is back. Just about. Chris Gayle's name was first called out early on the opening day of the auction among the list of marquee players. He had no takers and that was one of the talking points. Was Gayle a spent force in the IPL? He had another chance the following day when the unsold players were called out for the second time. Once again, none of the eight teams budged. He had another lifeline later in the afternoon and as the curtains were drawing to a close at the auction, he finally found a taker in Kings XI Punjab, for his base price of Rs 2 crore. There were claps all around.

Chris Gayle

Chris Gayle  


Why was there so much hesitation about Gayle in the first place? He had a very ordinary IPL in 2017 for Royal Challengers Bangalore, scoring 200 runs in 9 games with just one fifty, at a strike-rate of 122, well below his best. Gayle found form in the Bangladesh Premier League last month, scoring two centuries in three games. However, a poor series in New Zealand followed. Clearly, franchises were not willing to raise the paddle so soon for the batsman, who is now 38. Still, an IPL without Gayle wouldn't feel the same, so it was Kings XI to the rescue.

RCB's bowlers strategy

If you can't beat the enemy, buy them. On April 23, 2017, RCB crashed to 49 all out against Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, the lowest-ever IPL score. The 10 wickets were shared between four bowlers - Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Chris Woakes and Colin de Grandhomme. All four, ironically, will now turn out for RCB from the coming season, with the owners spending a combined 16 crores on them. One of RCB's biggest weaknesses over seasons gone has been their bowling, often at odds with their power-packed batting line-up. They seem to have redressed that balance.

CSK's pace stocks

Chennai Super Kings' strategy at the auction bordered on the bizarre. After showing an unusual preference for players over the age of 30 on the opening day, they stacked their team with several uncapped, inexperienced bowlers on the second. The fixation was on spin, with the likes of Imran Tahir, Harbhajan Singh, Karn Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja and Mitchell Santner being picked. Contrast this with their fast bowling reserves. Shardul Thakur could end up leading this attack, with Lungi Ngidi and Mark Wood the only overseas specialists. Ngidi is just two Tests old. Dwayne Bravo is there as an all-rounder. Yet, their pace-bowling stocks look thin and with Rs 6.5 crore left in their purse, it was surprising they didn't pursue someone like Josh Hazlewood, who went unsold, instead of Shane Watson, now past his prime.

Who will captain KKR?

Dinesh Karthik.

Dinesh Karthik.  


While CSK maxed out with 25 players and yet had plenty of cash left, KKR in contrast emptied their pockets for only 19 players. Social media was abuzz with KKR's auction strategy. They chose not to retain their title-winning captain Gautam Gambhir, who's off to Delhi. KKR now appear to have a leadership vacuum. Three likely Indian candidates for captaincy are Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa and Vinay Kumar, who captains Karnataka. Will there be a top leadership role for their most expensive player, signing Sunil Narine?

No takers for McClenaghan, Malinga

Lasith Malinga.

Lasith Malinga.   | Photo Credit: AP


New Zealand left-arm fast bowler Mitchell McClenaghan took 19 wickets for Mumbai Indians in IPL 2017, one short of season-topper Jasprit Bumrah. Few months later, he opted out of a New Zealand central contract so he could pursue a career in T20 leagues worldwide. Despite his success last season, Mumbai showed no interest in retaining him and he ended up going unsold over the weekend. Same with Lasith Malinga. He took 11 wickets for Mumbai last season and he didn't find a buyer either. Malinga has been on the wane and he hasn't been able to deliver yorkers at a good pace consistently, like he used to. Despite these omissions, Mumbai's bowling stocks look sound.

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 10:06:15 AM |

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