If Yuvraj Singh is really as good as his final IPL bid, then why is he not in Indian squad for the 2015 Cricket World Cup? The Punjab cricketer served just one season at Royal Challengers Bangalore, who bought him last year for ₹140 million but released him at the end of the season, why? At an astronomical ₹160 million price tag, is the national-side discard better than Sri Lanka’s Jayawardene, Dilshan and Sangakkara, South Africa’s Hashim Amla or New-Zealand’s Ross Taylor? Yuvraj was not even named among 30 probables for the World Cup. He cannot find solace in the fact that selectors also left out Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan, who were part of India’s victorious 2011 World Cup Team. On current form, South African star Hashim Amla and New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor are ranked pretty high in world cricket but they went unsold in the initial rounds of the auction. If the aim is merely building a fan base and not winning matches, then it is another matter. But most franchisees are in the business of cricket to get some return on their investment in the long run. However, if one looks at Yuvraj’s current cricket prowess, ₹160 million is far too high for the 33-year old Indian all-rounder. These are questions that emotional franchise owners cannot answer convincingly. By the same token, it will be difficult to explain the logic behind Zaheer Khan going for ₹ 40 million and Dinesh Kartik for ₹105 million. Kartik’s performance has left a lot to be desired and Zaheer looks a pale shadow of his old self.
Vijay Mallya was not happy with his son and star cricketer Virat Kohli for their strong persuasion in favor of Yuvraj at last year’s auction. But he had to yield to the wishes of the young duo and ended up spending ₹ 140 million for Yuvraj Singh. Therefore, Mallya must have been relieved to leave out Yuvraj and free up some money. Curiously, when Yuvraj came up for the auction, Mallya went for him yet again and raised his bid until ₹155 million! Then why did he release him in the first place? Delhi Daredevil owners didn’t flinch in outbidding Mallya to acquire Yuvraj. In addition to Yuvraj, Delhi also acquired Sri-Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews for ₹75 million and Indian leg-spinner Amit Mishra for ₹35 million. Delhi had a hefty purse string, from which they spent lavishly this year. There were several other surprises in the auction that became difficult to comprehend. A little-known 20-year-old off-spinner KC Cariappa was snapped up by Kolkata Knight Riders in a shocking bid. Cariappa, who has not even played a single first-class match, was bought for ₹24 million, while Sri Lankan veteran Kumar Sangakkara remained unsold despite his name featuring in the auction pool on three occasions during the auction day.
Among those, who fetched handsome prices were; New Zealand speedster Trent Boult for ₹38 million to Sunrisers Hyderabad; Australian Aaron Finch for ₹32 million to Mumbai Indians; Kevin Pietersen for ₹20 million to Sunrisers Hyderabad; Amit Mishra for ₹35 million to Delhi Daredevils; Dinesh Karthik for ₹105 million to Royal Challengers Bangalore; Eoin Morgan for ₹15 million to Sunrisers Hyderabad; Sarfaraz Khan and Australian fast bowler Sean Abbott for ₹5 and ₹10 million respectively to Royal Challengers. Michael Hussey returned to Chennai Super Kings from Mumbai Indians at ₹15 million. First time entrant Kane Williamson of New Zealand was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for ₹6 million and Murali Vijay crossed over to Kings XI Punjab for ₹30 million and surprisingly CSK did not place any bids on him.
A total of 67 players, including 23 overseas players, were bought for a staggering ₹ 876 million on Monday. The players, who could not be bought during the auction, may be traded over an IPL window in the next two weeks. Most teams retained their top stars and bought some new ones with Delhi Daredevils topping the list of new acquisitions. The 8th edition of the Indian Premier League begins on April 8, 2015 at Kolkata, where KKR will take on Mumbai Indians.
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