Pragmatism the common factor

Richer by the experience, teams adopt thoughtful approach on day one that saw some serious buying

Pragmatism the common factor

 Smart spending was the central theme of the first day of the Indian Premier League auction here on Wednesday.

There were, of course, a few cases of franchises loosening their purse strings for an unlikely candidate, or a marquee player failing to attract any bid. But largely, the eight franchises spent their allotted money rather wisely, while also applying some thought in buying the players.

It reflected on the massive pay cut some of the players received during the auction ahead of the seventh edition of the IPL. The biggest cut was for Pathan brothers – Yusuf and Irfan.

Yusuf was retained by Kolkata Knight Riders using the Right to Match card after Sunrisers Hyderabad bagged him in the auction for Rs 3.25 crore, but the sum was a far cry from the cool USD 2.1 million that he bagged from Kolkata Knight Riders in the last auction in 2011.

Similarly, Irfan had attracted a whopping USD 1.9 million from Delhi Daredevils in the previous auction but the Baroda all-rounder this time went to Hyderbad for a comparatively cheap Rs 2.45 crore. Some of the other million dollar boys like Saurabh Tiwary, R Vinay Kumar, and Mahela Jayawardene too didn’t see the big bundle of cash coming their way this time.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore had bought Tiwary for an unexpected USD 1.6 million three years back, and he hardly made any impression during his stint with the RCB. Clubbed in the Rs 50 lakh base price on the day, Tiwary squeezed his way to a place in Daredevils squad for Rs 70 lakh.

Vinay, who had an impressive 2013-14 season with Karnataka, was expected to receive a better bargain than the eventual Rs 2.8 crore with the Knight Riders. Former Sri Lankan skipper Jayawardene, who was paid a staggering USD 1.4 million by Daredevils, found no takers this time, and perhaps, his limited availability due to national commitments forced the franchise to ignore the classy right-hander. Sri Lanka are scheduled to tour England in early May for five one-dayers and two Tests.

Taylor unsold

In-form New Zealander Ross Taylor going unsold came as bit of a shock while., Chennai Super Kings taking Ashish Nehra for Rs 2 crore triggered tremors in equal measure. But the likes of RP Singh, Praveen Kumar, Munaf Patel and Manpreet Gony finding themselves out in the cold offered no surprise and it also made evident that the franchises have become wiser over the years and they have been watching the performances of the players more closely.

Venky Mysore, CEO of the Knight Riders, explained it. “Over the seasons, the franchises have become wiser in the business aspect of running an IPL team. We now have better idea about what our respective franchises want, and in that sense we are quite happy about our buys today,” he said.

Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals were the two other teams who used their resources well on the day to lay the foundation for a balanced side.  The Punjab side procured Virender Sehwag, Mitchell Johnson — for whom they fought a tough battle with Mumbai Indians — and Shaun Marsh, a consistent performer in the IPL. At the end of the day, they looked to have a well-balanced side.

“Mitchell can be very effective in the kind of pitches we have at home (Mohali), and Shaun is always an asset while we all know that Sehwag is a pure match-winner. We have also retained David (Miller), so, in all, we have the nucleus of a balanced side,” said Preity Zinta, co-owner of the Punjab outfit.

There can’t be any dearth of cricketing wisdom when you have Rahul Dravid at your side, and the Royals experienced it at the auction. As is their wont, the Rajasthan franchise opted for safe ways in the auction but splurged Rs 4 crore to get Aussie all-rounder Steven Smith.

Dravid detailed the logic behind acquiring Smith. “He is really important for us because two our key players are Shane Watson and Brad Hodge.  Hodge is 39 and Watto has some injury issues, so we wanted to have a back-up for them. Smith is a class player and plays spin very well, also he is a proven leadership material.”

Spending Rs 12.5 crore for Dinesh Karthik might have surprised many, but Daredevils assistant coach TA Sekar had no doubt that the Tamil Nadu man was worth every penny. “We wanted to have Karthik because he brings in a lot of enthusiasm and, of course, he’s a captaincy material. We are not looking at this season alone, but also at next two years,” said Sekar.
DH News Service

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