The 2023 IPL auction saw 80 players sold and INR 167 crore (~US$20 million) spent within a few hours. Many records are broken, many eyebrows raised and many questions raised when some players earn more and others get less money than expected. ESPNcricinfo is looking at some big questions and trying to answer them.
Sunrisers head coach Brian Lara said they themselves don’t know yet, adding that calling up Mayank Agarwal, who captained Punjab Kings last year, was already “unfair” because of “two senior players already in the squad”.
Naming a captain overseas is always difficult due to the cap on overseas players in the XI, and many franchises have had to change captains in the middle of IPL seasons when they run through weak spots with the bat.
Some might think Pooran IPL could have fallen due to its recent poor trading: since August this year, Pooran has averaged just 10.80 from 20 T20 innings at a strike rate of 114.28. Among those were disappointing scores of 13, 7 and 5 in the T20 World Cup, after which he resigned as West Indies captain.
Finally, many teams were looking for a wicket-keeper and Pooran fit the role. Whether the INR 16 crore ($1.95 million) is worth spending on is debatable, but such are the dynamics of the mini auction.
It was clear that all of the contestants were going to get the highest physical paychecks, but it just so happened that the most experienced of the three—Sam Curran, Cameron Green, and Ben Stokes—earned the lowest of them all.
Thirdly, Curran is only 24 years old, Stokes is 31, and the younger automatically becomes a long-term investment in the IPL.
They may be playing domestic T20s but Ajinkya Rahane’s last T20I is back in 2016 and Joe Root in 2019. However, both batsmen still find players in the world’s most competitive T20 league.
In contrast, Root comes to the IPL to gain some experience in Indian courts ahead of the 50+ World Cup. Since giving up his Test captaincy, Root has been vocal about his desire to develop his T20 game and could play anchor for the Rajasthan Royals after an explosive arrangement from Jos Butler, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson. 1 crore Indian rupees (~$121,000 approx) wasn’t much anyway.
Another factor that worked for both Rahane and Root was that the tournament now had ten teams which resulted in more players being bought at auction.
Why didn’t the Sunrisers keep the money aside for the Star allrounders despite having the biggest wallet?
Sunrisers had the largest physical portfolio of INR 42.25 crore heading into the auction, and it made perfect sense for them to splurge on a high-profile client.
But even before they came out, the Sunrisers had spent more than half of their money – 21.50 crore Indian rupees (approx $2.6 million) – on Brook and Agarwal. Brook’s T20 strike rate of 167.43 in AFC combined with current form made sense for him to bolster India’s first-class team in Agarwal, but he didn’t leave the Sunrisers with plenty of cash early on to get a senior.
Coach Lara later said that with the new impact rule, they were looking for specialists to have flexibility in their team. The Sunrisers also revealed that they expected Agarwal to go for INR 10-15 crore, so they were happy to get him for INR 8.25 crore (roughly $1 million) and spent a little extra on Brook, who they also thought would go for around Rs 10 crore. Indian. They tried to go after Stokes later but had to back off once bids reached INR 15 crore (approx $1.8 million) so they could buy more players later.
How does Green fit into Mumbai XI?
This green comes in as an obvious replacement Kieron Pollard but where will he strike? It can fit anywhere in the batting order but is best used at the top, in the current form. Mumbai already has Suryakumar Yadav and Tim David as strong finalists, so Green would be best suited either as an explosive opener with Rohit Sharma or even as a top three if Mumbai wanted a pair of left-rights at the top with Rohit and Ishan Kishan.
If need be, Mumbai can use Green down as well when they want Suryakumar to bat at number three.
Who will be the main roundabout in Mumbai?
Ahead of the auction, Mumbai had none other than inexperienced duo Kumar Kartikeya and Hrithik Chokin as the main spinners in their lineup. They didn’t go after Shreyas Gopal, didn’t try to buy back Mayank Markande or M Ashwin, and took back Piyush Chawla instead, who didn’t play the 2022 IPL (unsold) and got only one game in the 2021 edition.
It has resulted in Mumbai not having suitable spin bowling options unless they dare to bowl unlucky Chawla regularly, which also runs counter to what owner Akash Ambani said on Friday they want to buy several young players. Building a squad for the future.
Who is the player of death in CSK after the departure of Bravo?
Having Stokes come right up to Dwayne Bravo in the 11th is a no-brainer, but who would die for the Super Kings now? Bravo has been a surefire option for two of the last four overs, is especially useful on slow pitches at Chepauk and can even turn games on his own.
Why were spinners in such low demand at this auction??
Mujibur Rahman, Mohammad Nabi, Shreyas Gopal and Tabriz Shamsi were not sold, while others like Adil Rashid, Adam Zamba, M Ashwin and Markande were sold at their base price, meaning they only got one offer each.
Some of the best spinners in the world had already been held by franchises before the mini-auction, so teams mainly needed backups to fill in some spots this time around. Selecting outside spinners who can’t bat wouldn’t make much sense to that because that would occupy one outside and even if that player could be replaced by the new impact rule or out, it would have to be done within the outside four limit rule.
For Indian names, there weren’t many applicants because most of the teams already had enough rotation options in their ranks. The Knight Riders added Shakib to support Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, and the Kings also brought in an allrounder in Sikandar Raza to add Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar. It is owned by royals Yusvendra Chahal and R Ashwin. The capitals have Aksar Patil and Kuldip Yadav. The Royal Challengers Bangalore have Wandu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed and Karan Sharma in their ranks. The Super Kings have Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Tikshana and Mitchell Santner. Lucknow Super Giant has Kronal Pandya, Ravi Bishnoi, K Gotham, Gujarat Titans has Rashid Khan, R Sai Kishore, Rahul Toatia and Jayant Yadav.
Vishal Dikshit is Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
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