Kings XI and Royal Challengers Bangalore spend money on quite a few international players, while Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals make good picks.
After five hours of bidding and spending Rs 300 crore on 100 players, the IPL teams have spoken at the auction. Seventeen players were sold for more than Rs 5 crore, with England’s Ben Stokes being the biggest sell, having been auctioned to the Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12.5 crore.
This year, all 578 players are up for grabs apart from the top players who were earlier retained by their respective franchise. K L Rahul and Manish Pandey, both players from Karnataka, garnered Rs 11 crore at the auction, from Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. Previously, Rahul played for Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), while Manish Pandey was part of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) team. But what was the strategy behind picking these players?
Rajasthan Royals, RCB, and Delhi Daredevils bet on all-rounders. Mumbai Indians, too, went after the best batsmen. Kings XI Punjab took some risky bets. Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and KKR, both champion teams, as usual, went after strategic picks. Sunrisers Hyderabad went after a combination of all-rounders and batsmen. But as it is seen every year, the best bets can be solely determined by player performance on the field.
RCB, as usual, has a star-studded lineup, with Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali as all-rounders. The franchise also has Brendon McCullum, the powerful New Zealand batsmen.
Kolkata has players like Chris Lynn and Mitchell Starc, along with players like Robin Uthappa.
Kings XI Punjab lost five RTMs, but still managed to buy R Ashwin and also pick Marcus Stoinis, the Aussie all-rounder, along with powerful batsmen like Aaron Finch, David Miller, and K L Rahul.
Delhi Daredevils was the most frugal, picking players like English opening batsmen Jason Roy. It also has renowned bowlers Kagiso Rabada, Mohammed Shami and Amit Mishra on its side, and picked up popular left-handed batsmen Gautam Gambhir at a low rate. Glen Maxwell went to Delhi as well.
Sunrisers Hyderabad went after batsmen like Manish Pandey and Shikhar Dhawan. It also got an all-rounder, in the form of West Indian Carlos Brathwaite.
Rajasthan Royals seemed to pick the stars: it paid the highest for English all-rounder Ben Stokes and picked English wicketkeeper and star batsmen Jos Butler, along with Kerala wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson.
CSK went after Dwayne Bravo and Faf du Plessis, both from CSK. Even Harbhajan Singh has to move to CSK this year.
Mumbai Indians picked up some strong players too. It retained Kieron Pollard and brought in Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins. The Mumbai Indians franchise had a quiet day today, and will probably pick the best players on the second day.
So the strongest gains on the first day of the auction were made by Delhi Daredevils, RCB, and Kings XI. However, in the end, it's the second day that matters, when Indian junior players will be picked to support the senior ones that go into the eleven.