Apart from Rahul, Lucknow also signed the Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and the uncapped Indian spinner Ravi Bishnoi for INR 9.2 crore and INR 4 crore, respectively.
Rahul finished his four seasons with Punjab Kings as the team’s leading run-scorer. He smashed 2548 runs at an average of 56.62, which included 25 fifty-plus scores – two of which were hundreds – in only 55 innings.
Lucknow will be Stoinis’ fourth IPL franchise. He began his career with the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) in 2015, and he returned to the side in 2020 after being bought for INR 4.8 crore. Since then, Stoinis has played 27 games for the Delhi Capitals and has scored 441 runs at a strike rate of 142.71. He also took 15 wickets for the team.
Ravi Bishnoi quickly rose to the position of the lead spinner for Punjab. He took 12 wickets in 14 matches in his first season and 12 wickets in nine matches in 2021. He has an overall economic rate of 6.95.
Sanjiv Goenka, the owner of the IPL’s Lucknow franchise, praised the team’s to-be captain, KL Rahul, stating that he is maturing as a player and can be a phenomenal leader in the IPL.
Talking to the official broadcaster of the IPL, Sanjiv Goenka said, “Yes, KL will be the captain. I have been very impressed not only by KL’s batting and wicketkeeping abilities but also his leadership skills. He is evolving, he is growing, he is maturing as a player, as a leader, and he is somebody I would’ve wanted to lead the team.“
Further on Stoinis and Bishnoi, Goenka commented, “Marcus is a great finisher, a good bowler, and a phenomenal fielder. Ravi brings a unique dimension to the spin department and is an exceptional fielder. So we looked for players who could do more than just one thing; players who would be with the franchise for several years.”
He added, “There were multiple things. We were looking at not only building a team for one or two seasons, as we did in the case of Pune but actually, building the foundation for a team, which will compete successfully for many years. We were also looking for players with more than one facet, so not singular-dimension players.”
The Lucknow team has appointed Andy Flower, the former Zimbabwe captain and England coach, as head coach, and Gautam Gambhir, the former Indian batsman and two-time IPL winning captain, as a mentor.
A total of 1,214 players (896 Indian and 318 from other countries) have registered to participate in the mega auction. There will be 270 capped players, 903 uncapped players, and 41 associate players on the list.
The Lucknow-based IPL team will enter the IPL 2022 mega-auction with a remaining purse of INR 59.89 crore.