In an intriguing IPL auction, there were plenty of interesting winners and losers as teams splurge cash on overseas bowlers and all-rounders.
The player auction in Chennai did throw surprises as teams spent big money on experienced and exciting young talent. Since it was a mini-auction for IPL 2021, most capped Indian players were not on the market, and the focus was largely shifted on overseas players and uncapped players.
It was also a record-breaking auction in terms of spending on individual players. Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals, and Royal Challengers Bangalore did the majority of the spending due to big purse. After digesting all the events from Thursday, here are the winners and losers of the IPL 2021 auction.
Rajasthan Royals had a big purse of Rs 37 crores, so they had to make big moves after releasing Steve Smith. They did overpay for Chris Morris, but the South African all-rounder is going to bring more balance to the team with bat and ball. Jofra Archer will have much more support in the bowling department as he was often the lone ranger with the ball for Royals last season. Morris delivered consistently with the ball for RCB last season, taking 11 wickets in nine matches with a good economy rate. With the acquisition of Shivam Dube, Rajasthan also strengthened the middle-order batting unit. The signings of Mustafizur Rahman and Liam Livingstone will add more quality depth to the squad.
Glenn Maxwell was in fine form for Australia during the limited-overs series against India in November and December. The good performances came at the back of a torrid IPL with Kings XI Punjab. He has been inconsistent in the IPL over the years despite having the natural talent of turning games in his team’s favour with the bat. Despite this inconsistency, Maxwell ended up getting another bumper contract as RCB signed him for Rs 14.25 crores.
Mumbai Indians didn’t need any big signings during this auction as they had largely retained the last year’s title-winning squad. They clearly targeted Morris, but the bidding war went beyond their purse strength. Mumbai needed two overseas pacers to bolster the squad and they got Nathan Coulter-Nile and Adam Milne for a combined Rs 8.2 crores. They had released Coulter-Nile due to his hefty fee of Rs 8 crores, so they did well to end up with two good bowlers for that amount. The late acquisition of Jimmy Neesham for Rs 50 lakhs was also a smart move from Mumbai. Overall, a pretty solid auction for the defending champions.
Sunrisers Hyderabad had a purse strength of Rs 10.75 crores going into the auction. They needed to fill four slots in the team. A cautious approach was understandable, but they still couldn’t get going in the auction for important players including homegrown talent such as Shahrukh Khan. SRH eventually ended up spending Rs 2 crores on Kedhar Jadhav to fill the slots. They did make an impressive buy in Mujeeb Ur Rahman for Rs 1.50 crores, but overall an underwhelming auction that ended up with a balance of Rs 6.75 crores in the purse.
Alex Hales and Jason Roy
English internationals Alex Hales and Jason Roy are some of the most destructive batsmen in the world, but they were unsold during the IPL 2021 auction. Roy would have been eager to get more playing time in the subcontinent ahead of the T-20 World Cup in India during the second half of 2021. Meanwhile, Hales is still not in contention for England selection due to previous controversies. A good IPL tournament would have helped Hales to make a return to the English team. Both English batsmen will be disappointed to not feature in IPL for different reasons.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Royal Challengers Bangalore is not exactly known for making smart buys. IPL 2021 auction turned out to be another missed opportunity for the franchise. The gamble of releasing Morris to get him for a cheaper fee backfired massively. Meanwhile, Glenn Maxwell is an even bigger gamble as he has been inconsistent in IPL for years. The Indian batting still looks weak apart from Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli, while the bowling will be relying on Kyle Jamieson to come good. It was yet another chaotic auction for RCB. Time will tell whether their gambles will pay off.