February 12 and 13, 2014 were two absorbing days, which saw the convergence of global celebrities at Bengaluru’s posh ITC Gardenia hotel, where IPL franchise owners made their bids to create right team combinations for coming IPL seasons. If you were to go to the Gardenia on any of those two days, you could have bumped into a curious mix of film stars, industry honchos, sports celebrities and international guests. For some years, cricket’s IPL has become synonymous with the existing system for buying and selling footballers in Europe. This year’s auction threw up some intriguing outcomes like; Yuvraj Singh surprisingly emerging as the costliest player on first day with Dinesh Kartik following close behind. Lesser known cricketers became highly sought after on second day. Big money was spent on day one, with teams buying crowd-pulling star cricketers, but the second day was spent in franchises buying cricketers to create the right team balance. Let us begin by the auction on the second day.
Over ₹ 500 million was spent on second day on 84 players. Several cricketers instantly acquired the millionaire tags. The biggest surprise was reserved for Railway’s Ranji Trophy leg-spinner Karn Sharma, who invited some intense bidding before being grabbed by SRH for a whopping ₹ 37.5 million, ten times higher than his base price. Likewise, Rishi Dhawan was sold for ₹30 million by KXIP; Kedar Jadhav for ₹20 million by DD; Aditya Tare went to MI for ₹16 million, J&K’s Parvez Rasool went to SRH for ₹ 9.5 million; DD bought Ross Taylor for ₹ 20 million, Chris Lynn by KKR for ₹13 million and Bueran Hendricks by KXIP for ₹18 million. Some lesser-known players were; Jasprit Bumrah, bought by MI for ₹12 million; Akshar Patel went to KXIP for ₹7.5 million, Jalaj Saxena to MI at ₹9 million; Sandeep Sharma to KXIP at ₹8.5 million; RR bought Deepak Hooda for ₹ 4 million; Shahbaz Nadeem was retained through joker card by DD for ₹8.5 million, RR spent ₹ 11 million for Dhawal Kulkarni; Iqbal Abdulla went to RR for ₹6.5 million; MI paid ₹ 11 million for Aditya Tare; Mayank Agarwal was snapped up by DD for ₹ 16 million; Suryakumar Yadav went to KKR for ₹ 7 million, Manish Pandey went up to ₹ 17 million for KKR; Gurkeerat Singh went to KXIP for ₹ 13 million, RCB got Vijay Zol for ₹ 3 million and Unmukt Chand was taken by RR for ₹ 5.5 million.
Earlier on day one, out-of-form Yuvraj Singh’s sensational bid created a flutter, when RCB paid ₹ 140 million to make him the costliest player in IPL thus far. From any angle, it was an amazingly high price. Other buys were; Dinesh Kartik, ₹ 125 million, DD; Kevin Pietersen ₹ 90 million, DD; Jacques Kallis, ₹ 55 million, KKR; Nathan Coulter-Nile, ₹ 42.5 million, DD; Glenn Maxwell, ₹ 60 million, KXIP; Corey Anderson, ₹ 45 million, MI; Mohd. Shami, ₹ 42.5 million, Delhi Daredevils; Piyush Chawla, ₹ 42.5, KKR; Pragyan Ojha, ₹ 32.5 million, MI; Morne Morkel, ₹ 28 million, KKR; Vinay Kumar, ₹ 28 million, KKR; Bhuvneshwar Kumar, ₹ 42.5 million, SRH; Ishant Sharma, ₹ 26 million, SRH; Mitchell Starc, ₹ 50 million, RCB; Shakib al-Hasan, ₹ 28 million, KKR; Irfan Pathan, ₹ 24 million, SRH; Albie Morkel, ₹ 24 million, RCB; Yusuf Pathan, ₹ 32.5 million, KKR; Steve Smith, ₹ 40 million, RR; Parthiv Patel, ₹ 14 million, RCB; Wridhiman Saha, ₹ 22 million KXIP; Quinton de Kock, ₹ 35 million, DD; Dwayne Smith, ₹ 45 million, CSK; Brad Hodge, ₹ 24 million, RR; Robin Uthappa, ₹ 50 million, KKR; Aaron Finch, ₹ 40 million, SRH; Zaheer Khan, ₹ 26 million, MI; Amit Mishra, ₹ 47.5 million, SRH; Michael Hussey, ₹ 50 million, MI; Faf du Plessis, ₹ 47.5 million, CSK; Darren Sammy, ₹ 35 million, SRH; George Bailey, ₹ 32.5 million, KXIP; Mitchell Johnson, ₹ 65 million, KXIP; Murali Vijay,₹ 50 million, DD David Warner, ₹ 55 million, SRH and Virender Sehwag, ₹ 32 million, KXIP.
In retrospect, it appeared that Yuvraj Singh was RCB’s worst investment. Other than that, team owners were sensible in bidding. Mumbai Indians let go of Mitchell Johnson, when bidding became too intense. Virender Sehwag remained unsold for a while, before KXIP, bought him. With the emphasis focused on cricket rather than glamour, team owners refrained from needless overbidding, even when big names were involved. A high point of the auction was the importance commanded by uncapped players, whose domestic season performance duly recognized on second day. The form began more important than the playing style, as franchises realized the importance of pacing the innings and not merely explosive batting. RR and KXIP were two teams, which played their cards judiciously by not only retaining key players but also bought new players at reasonable prices. Team owners were seen in serious consultations with expert cricketers like Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sanjay Bangar, before finalizing their bids. Though 27 was the maximum team strength as per IPL, no franchise made an attempt to reach that number. This will make it easier for coaches and team managers, when the tournament gets underway.