With just 292 cricketer’s up for grabs, it was supposed to be a mini-auction this year for the Indian Premier League (IPL) fraternity. However, on Thursday (18 February), the whole process turned out to be quite enthralling and riveting as 57 out of the total pool of players found takers. At times we saw some intense bidding wars for a few specific names which costed the franchises big paychecks but at the end of the day most of the teams eventually got what they were looking for.
In this piece, we will highlight how Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) went about their business in this player’s auction.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Players bought: Eight
Purse spent: Rs 7.55 cr
Purse left: Rs 3.20 cr
Squad strength: 25
Players retained: Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik (WK), Tim Seifert (WK), Andre Russell, Sunil, Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakaravarthy
— KolkataKnightRiders (@KKRiders) February 19, 2021
Full list of players KKR purchased:
Shakib Al Hasan All-Rounder Rs 3,20,00,000
Harbhajan Singh Bowler Rs 2,00,00,000
Ben Cutting All-Rounder Rs 75,00,000
Karun Nair Batsman Rs 50,00,000
Pawan Negi All-Rounder Rs 50,00,000
Venkatesh Iyer All-Rounder Rs 20,00,000
Sheldon Jackson Wicket Keeper Rs 20,00,000
Vaibhav Arora Bowler Rs 20,00,000
It was more or less a stress-free auction for Venky Mysore and Co as KKR bought seven out of their eight purchases on base price. Their primary objective from this auction was to find covers for star performers like Andre Russell and Sunil Narine. Hence, the Knights spent Rs 3.2 crore to bring Shakib Al Hasan back. The all-rounder is a valued addition to this versatile KKR squad and can be a more than decent replacement for Narine, who has had a lot issues with his fitness and bowling action in recent years. Following the auction the Bangladesh all-rounder has also confirmed his availability for the entire length of IPL 14.
Getting Australia’s pace-bowling all-rounder Ben Cutting for a mere Rs 75 lakhs as a back-up for Russell was another masterstroke. His bowling will be quite effective on that bouncy Eden Gardens surface and the 34-year-old is well-known for his power-hitting down the order.
KKR added more batting options by getting Karun Nair and Sheldon Jackson on-board. However, it was quite surprising to see them not bidding for an experienced overseas opener. Remember, last season they struggled to find a permanent partner for Shubman Gill at the top. Harbhajan Singh, who went unsold in the first round, was bought in the latter half of the auction. The experienced pro is considered to be a cover for Kuldeep Yadav’s fading form.
To strengthen the spin-department more, KKR further added Pawan Negi in the shopping list whereas uncapped all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer and pacer Vaibhav Arora seems like investments for the future.
Players bought: Three
Purse spent: Rs 3.80 cr
Purse left: Rs 6.95 cr
Squad strength: 25
Players retained: David Warner (C), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Shreevats Goswami (WK), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul, T Natarajan, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mitchell Marsh, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Basil Thampi, Jason Holder
Full list of players SRH purchased:
Kedar Jadhav All-Rounder Rs 2,00,00,000
Mujeeb Ur Rahman Bowler Rs 1,50,00,000
J Suchith Bowler Rs 30,00,000
— SunRisers Hyderabad (@SunRisers) February 18, 2021
It was a quiet auction for Sunrisers as they picked their three purchases on base price. Getting Kedar Jadhav on board will possibly solve their middle-order woes. In a top-heavy team like SRH Kedar’s experience down the order will be handy and he can be given a role of a finisher.
Though following the performance of Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad last year, it won’t be easy for Kedar to straightway get into the playing XI. Meanwhile, along with his batting he can add value with his unorthodox bowling as well, especially on their home ground.
The slow left-arm spin of J Suchith will certainly bolster SRH’s Indian spin attack whereas the addition of Mujeeb-ur-Rahman has further strengthened their Afghan contingent. Though the youngster is unlikely to feature regularly in the playing XI considering the overall balance of the side but on a slow-low spinning track getting to see Rashid and Mujeeb bowling in tandem will be a sheer pleasure.
Interestingly, SRH did not opt for getting a like-for-like replacement for Billy Stanlake. It suggests they are having faith in their Indian pace bowling contingent.