On a day when 94 players were sold for a total of Rs 136 crore* at the IPL 2016 auction in Bangalore, it was a bunch of Indian uncapped players who drew the most attraction and a good chunk of the cash too. Top among them – and one of four men who walked away with a contract worth a million dollars or more – was Pawan Negi, a left-arm spinner who can tonk the ball down the order, who was sold for Rs 8.5 crore to Delhi Daredevils. South African allrounder Chris Morris was the other surprise million-dollar man, fetching Rs 7 crore, also from Daredevils.
Australian allrounder Shane Watson bagged the biggest deal of the day, bought for Rs 9.5 crore by Royal Challengers Bangalore, while India’s Yuvraj Singh secured his third-straight million-dollar bid at an IPL auction. However the Rs 7 crore Sunrisers Hyderabad bid for Yuvraj was far less than what he fetched at the last two auctions – Rs 16 crore last year, and Rs 14 crore the year before that. He looked like he might actually go unsold this time round after setting his base price at Rs 2 crore, but at the last moment he got a bid from Mumbai Indians, followed by Royal Challengers Bangalore, before being snapped up by Sunrisers.
Morris’ value exploded to seven times that of his base price of Rs 50 lakh in a three-way fight. Rising Pune Supergiants were involved in the opening rounds of bidding for him, before Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders went neck and neck. As bidding halted just one bid away from the million-dollar mark, Daredevils entered the fray, and no one challenged them.
For Negi, the auction capped a great two days in which he was also named in India’s squad for the World T20.
Another big surprise was seam-bowling West Indies allrounder Carlos Brathwaite, who had impressed with quickfire fifties down the order and his enthusiasm on the recent Test series in Australia. He got a winning bid of 4.2 crore from Delhi Daredevils, 14 times his base price of Rs 30 lakh.
There were big surprises among the unsold players too: the in-form New Zealand and Australia batsmen Martin Guptill and Usman Khawaja. Two big Test names, Cheteshwar Pujara and Hashim Amla, also went unsold too, but a bit more surprisingly, there were no bids for Mahela Jayawardene or Michael Hussey either. West Indies allrounder Darren Sammy did not attract a bid either.
Australia opener Aaron Finch went unsold in the first round of bidding, but was bought by Gujarat Lions (the Rajkot franchise) for Rs 1 crore towards the end of the day, in a second round of bidding organised for players who were unsold the first time.
Karnataka batsman Karun Nair was expected to be one of the big buys among the uncapped players, and so it was soon after the lunch break with Daredevils, Supergiants and Lions all bidding for him and bumping his price up to Rs 4 crore from a base price of Rs 10 lakh. Baroda allrounder Deepak Hooda’s price went up from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 4.2 crore, secured by Sunrisers after a long round of bidding. Rajasthan fast bowler Nathu Singh also earned big, getting Rs 3.2 crore from Mumbai Indians, from a base price of Rs 10 lakh. Mumbai Indians had made the winning bid after a long back-and-forth between Daredevils and Royal Challengers.
Tamil Nadu legspinner M Ashwin was the most sought after slow bowler on a day when spinners were generally ignored by the franchises; he sold for Rs 4.5 crore to Supergiants from an opening bid of Rs 10 lakh – a whopping 45 times his base price, the day’s biggest multiple from the base price. Ashwin had done well in the recently concluded domestic T20 competition, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he bagged 10 wickets in six games at 12.70 apiece, with an economy rate of 5.52.
Seventeen-year-old India Under-19 captain Ishan Kishan was picked up by Lions for Rs 35 lakh. His U-19 team-mate Rishabh Pant was fought for by Supergiants, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers and Daredevils, bumping his base price up from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1.9 crore before Daredevils snapped him up. A wicketkeeper-batsman, Pant is in fine form in the ongoing U-19 World Cup. The very last player to be bought at the auction, and also the youngest, was 16-year-old spin allrounder Mahipal Lomror, who went to Daredevils for Rs 10 lakh.
Kerala’s Sanju Samson was the first wicketkeeper to go under the hammer and he looked like he might not get a bid but a late call from Daredevils – the franchise’s first of the day – triggered a fight between them and Lions. Daredevils won, picking Samson up for Rs 4.2 crore – his base price was Rs 2 crore.
The bidding for England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler was much-anticipated, and he went to Mumbai Indians for Rs 3.8 crore after setting his price at Rs 1.5 crore.
Knight Riders were quite active when it came to the fast bowlers, winning Australia’s John Hastings for Rs 1.3 crore, before engaging in a tug-of-war with Lions for Praveen Kumar. Lions won this bid though, paying Rs 3.5 crore for him, seven times his base price of Rs 50 lakh.
Knight Riders were at it again when Mohit Sharma came up for bidding, but Kings XI Punjab – who had as yet not secured a single player on the day – aggressively outbid them. Sunrisers tried a late swoop, but Kings XI would have none of it, picking him up for Rs 6.5 crore (base price 1.5 crore). He was the 45th player to be auctioned, and their first buy.
All 11 spinners lined up in the morning round of bidding went unsold, including India’s Pragyan Ojha and Rahul Sharma, the in-form Australian Nathan Lyon and Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis. West Indies legspinner Samuel Badree was bought the second time his name came up, by Royal Challengers, for Rs 50 lakh.
None of the Sri Lankans who came up in the morning rounds were bought: Mendis, Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thisara Perera and Sachchitra Senanayake. It took till the final hour of the auction for a Sri Lankan to get a bid, and it went to Thisara, who was bought at his base price of Rs 1 crore by Supergiants when his name was called up a second time.
The first and only Bangladesh buy of the day happened with Mustafizur Rahman (base price Rs 50 lakh) going to Sunrisers for Rs 1.4 crore.
Another big gainer among the uncapped players was Uttar Pradesh wicketkeeper Eklavya Dwivedi, who went to Lions for Rs 1 crore (base price Rs 20 lakh). Mumbai wicketkeeper-batsman Aditya Tare’s base price also multiplied several times over, as he went for Rs 1.2 crore to Sunrisers after setting a base price of Rs 20 lakh. Legspinner Pravin Tambe became the first specialist spinner to be bought on the day, for Rs 20 lakh to Lions. Royal Challengers picked up ambidextrous Vidarbha spinner Akshay Karnewar for his base price of Rs 10 lakh.
Allrounder Krunal Pandya – brother of Hardik Pandya who had debuted for India in the just-concluded T20s against Australia and was retained by Mumbai Indians before the auction – was bought by Mumbai Indians after a bidding war with Daredevils that bumped his price up to Rs 2 crore (base price Rs 10 lakh).
Among the least known players to be bought on the day were allrounder Kishore Kamath (Rs 1.4 crore, by Mumbai Indians) and 20-year-old left-arm spinner Shivil Kaushik (Rs 10 lakh, by Lions) – the highest level of cricket these two have played till date is the Karnataka Premier League, both for Hubli Tigers. (Courtesy Cricinfo)