[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]O[/dropcap]n a day filled with cricketing action, beginning with the Transmanian rivalry between Aus-NZ at Wellington, followed by the finals among future stars of India and Windies, continuing with the final ODI between England & South Africa at Cape Town (tied at 2-2), culminating with the India-SL T20 at Vizag (tied at 1-1), lets rewind ourselves to the so-called IPL mini auction conducted at Bengaluru last week where 94 (66 Indians & 28 overseas)amongst 351 players, were sold to 8 teams for INR 136 crores from a total purse of INR 528 crores available to the franchises on the given day.
Shane Watson was the highest paid player commanding INR 9.50 crores from RCB followed by Pawan Negi, who turned out to be the highest paid Indian player at INR 8.50 crores, ahead of the likes of Yuvraj Singh and Dinesh Karthik. The week turned out to be a double-delight for Pawan Negi, since he was given a maiden call-up to the Indian T20 side the preceding day for Ind-SL T20 series, followed by Asia Cup and World T20, which certainly multiplied his demand among franchisees at the auction.
The day was full of surprises with Martin Guptill, who many expected to be the highest-paid player for the day, going unsold followed by the likes of Usman Khwaja (red-hot form at the moment), George Bailey, Michael Hussey, Mahela Jayawardene, Darren Sammy and other prominent names going unsold. Aaron Finch, who till recently was Australia’s T20 skipper and the highest ranked international batsman in T20s, was sold for his base price to the new franchise Gujarat Lions, during the accelerator process, where the unsold players come back into the auction, on request of the franchises Their high base price certainly deterred the franchisees, while lesser-known overseas players, mainly from the hugely popular Big-Bash in Australia, like Carlos Braithwaite, Scott Boland, Adam Zampa, Peter Handscomb, Joel Paris got their maiden IPL call-ups.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]E[/dropcap]ven a few Indian experienced players like Pragyan Ojha, Manoj Tiwary, Munaf Patel, Cheteshwar Pujara were given the cold-shoulder by the franchises, while lesser known Indian players like Karnataka batsman Karun Nair (Rs.4 crore), Rajasthan fast bowler Nathu Singh (Rs.3.2 crore), Baroda all-rounder Deepak Hooda (4.2 crore) and Tamil Nadu leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin (Rs4.5 crore) went for much higher values than their base prices. Splitting the Ranji Trophy season, in order to hold the Deodhar Trophy, which is the marquee domestic one-day series and the Syed Mushtaq Ali T20, which has always been the poorer cousin of the glamorous IPL, to help in selection of Indian team for WC T20, certainly turned out to be a blessing in disguise for these lesser-known players, who with their inspired performances caught the attention of the franchises, and got their ticket into the world of IPL.
The current Under-19 World Cup players, team’s captain Ishan Kishan , vice-captain Rishab Pant, all-rounder Mahipal Lomror, pacer Khaleel Ahmed, middle-order batsman Arman Jaffer, all earned maiden IPL call-ups, with batsmen Ricky Bhui and Sarfaraz Khan, already holding IPL contracts with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore respectively.
Let’s now look at the possible XI for each of these 8 teams:
Defending Champions Mumbai Indians
Added unknown local domestic players, along with strong back-ups for the injured overseas duo of Malinga & Pollard, in form of Tim Southee & Jos Buttler.
1 Parthiv Patel (wk)/Unmukt Chand, 2 Lendl Simmons (overseas), 3 Rohit Sharma (capt), 4 Ambati Rayudu, 5 Kieron Pollard / Jos Buttler (wk, overseas), 6 Corey Anderson (overseas), 7 Hardik Pandya, 8 Harbhajan Singh, 9 Shreyas Gopal/J Suchith 10 Lasith Malinga/Mitchell McClenaghan/Tim Southee (overseas), 11 Jasprit Bumrah
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Added all-rounder options in form of Shane Watson and Stuart Binny. Back-ups available for the currently injured Mitchell Starc. Will the title be finally theirs?
1 Chris Gayle (overseas), 2 Shane Watson (overseas), 3 Virat Kohli (capt), 4 AB de Villiers (overseas), 5 Mandeep Singh/Sarfaraz Khan, 6 Kedar Jadhav (wk), 7 Stuart Binny, 8 Mitchell Starc/Adam Milne/David Weise/ Kane Richardson (overseas) 9 & 10 Two of Varun Aaron/S Aravind/Harshal Patel/Abu Nechim/ Vikramjeet Malik, 11Yuzvendra Chahal
Strong Indian additions of Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra and back-up keeper Aditya Tare. Left-arm fasting bowling options in plenty- Ashish Nehra, Trent Boult, Barinder Sran and Mustafizur Rehman
1 Shikhar Dhawan (capt), 2 David Warner (overseas), 3 Kane Williamson/Eoin Morgan (overseas), 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Deepak Hooda/Lokesh Rahul/Vijay Shankar, 6 Naman Ojha (wk), 7 Ben Cutting/Moises Henriques (overseas), 8 Karn Sharma /Parvez Rasool 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Barinder Sran 10 Trent Boult/Mustafizur Rehman (overseas), 11 Ashish Nehra
Kolkata Knight Riders
Settled outfit, adding low- profile value-for-money all-rounders
1 Robin Uthappa (wk), 2 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Shakib Al Hasan (overseas), 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Andre Russell (overseas), 8 John Hastings/Jason Holder (overseas) 9 Piyush Chawla, 10 Umesh Yadav/Jaydev Unadkat/Ankit Rajpoot, 11 Sunil Narine/Brad Hogg (overseas)
Another restructuring, going for youth-oriented side. Strong possibility of Dravid as coach indicated by addition of Ex Rajasthan Royal players
1 Quinton de Kock (wk, overseas) 2 Mayank Agarwal, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Sanju Samson, 5 JP Duminy (capt, overseas), 6 Karun Nair, 7 Pawan Negi, 8 Chris Morris (overseas), 9 Carlos Brathwaite (overseas), 10 Amit Mishra, 11 Mohammed Shami/Zaheer Khan
Kings XI Punjab
Unproven captain. Strong possibility of consecutive wooden-spoon finish
1 M Vijay, 2 Manan Vohra, 3 Shaun Marsh (overseas), 4 Glenn Maxwell (overseas), 5 David Miller (capt, overseas), 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Axar Patel, 8 Rishi Dhawan/Gurkeerat Singh, 9 Kyle Abbott/Mitchell Johnson (overseas), 10 Mohit Sharma, 11 Anureet Singh
Rising Pune Supergiants
Overseas dependent batting line-up and India dependent bowling line-up
1 Ajinkya Rahane, 2 Faf du Plessis (overseas), 3 Kevin Pietersen (overseas), 4 Steven Smith (overseas), 5 MS Dhoni (capt, wk), 6 Mitchell Marsh/Thisara Perera/Albie Morkel (overseas), 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 R Ashwin, 9 M Ashwin/Ankit Sharma/Rajat Bhatia 10 & 11 Two of Ishant Sharma/ Ishwar Pandey/R P Singh/Ashok Dinda
Plethora of All-rounders. Will struggle to fill Indian batting slot. Difficult to fit Dale Steyn into the XI.
1 Aaron Finch/Dwayne Smith (overseas), 2 Brendon McCullum (overseas), 3 Suresh Raina (capt), 4 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 5 Ishan Kishan/Paras Dogra/Jaydev Shah, 6 Dwayne Bravo (overseas), 7 Ravindra Jadeja, 8 James Faulkner (overseas), 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Dhawal Kulkarni, 11 Pravin Tambe/Sarabjit Ladda
How will Dhoni manage KP? Will RCB be finally able to break the IPL jinx? Will Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab avoid the bottom-two slots? Who will be the new discovery this IPL?
All this and much more. Let’s wait for the IPL action to begin!