The IPL auction on January 27 and 28 in Bengaluru, probably will witness the most intense sports strategizing in league cricket. This mega event will see the sharpest minds wage number wars and wealthy owners bid for pride and ego. Teams have already decided on who to retain and who to let go. We work out a few important aspects this auction holds that will be important for ipl cricket in the future!
I End of the road for the IPL veterans
It’s no secret that the likes of Chris Gayle, Shane Watson, Lasith Malinga , Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh among others are nearing the completion of a glorious career. While I am sure these skilled players will land a contract with some franchise or the other, the amount they fetch and the franchise they end up in, will shed light on their future in the tournament. A decade long saga with the IPL will see its future unfold as the hammer goes down on D day.
II Youth – The buzz word
The stars of the last season were Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Krunal Pandya, Basil Thampi, Washington Sundar and several other youngsters. With age on their side, franchises will be looking at potential investments that may reap great dividends in the future. RCB’s decision to retain twenty year old Sarfaraz Khan can only be explained by the investment returns potential to RCB. Youngsters are set to shoulder immense responsibility for their franchises.
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III Wicket Keepers – Revaluation phase
A lesser known/ perceived aspect of the auctions is understanding role dynamics and impact. Shane Watson and Ben Stokes were the highest paid in the 2016 and 2017 auctions respectively because of the multiple disciplines they brought to the table. Similarly, Wicketkeepers who are capable of batting above par, especially in T20s is a special asset. It’ll be interesting to see the values that teams peg for keepers such as Wridhiman Saha, Naman Ojha, Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa along with part timers such as KL Rahul and Kedhar Jadhav. Only CSK and DD have retained keepers and hence the value ascertained for Indian keepers will be interesting to watch.
IV Team India under the hammer
This is something that had me surprised. Almost all the players of the Indian team have been pushed into the auction pool this year around. The likes of Murali Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Kedhar Jadhav, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan ,Umesh Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey among others now will go up under different categories. So what happens when the entire Indian team is up for sale? A lot! The price that Ashwin fetches might make or break his career in the shorter formats while players like Rahane and Rahul who have been at the shorter end of the stick when it came to selection for the national side, might go for a higher price than their comrades who have had more opportunities in the National side. What will this mean to the selectors? What pressure will it mount on the marquee players? How will they perform? A lot is indeed set to unravel.
V The wolf in the shadows
We come across players who have been instrumental to their side and yet go unnoticed. These players are often the reinforcements the teams fall back on when their flashy teammates fall short. This IPL auction is different as these players are now thrown open for picking and it wouldn’t be surprising to see franchises going the extra mile to see them in their set up. I am extremely curious to see the price that players like Ambati Rayudu, Shakib Al Hasan , Ajinkya Rahane ,Shaun Marsh, Karun Nair , Imran Tahir and Sandeep Sharma will fetch in the auction as they have been extremely valuable to their franchises but have often been overshadowed or overlooked.
The IPL auction is an intricate science that draws parallels from finance, branding and sport. The brains of the owners in suits and hearts of the fans in jerseys don’t always get along, and that is perhaps the most volatile factor of any sports management set up. So what do you think will be a decisive factor in this IPL auction? Be it the fan or the owner in you, fire away in the comments section….
Cricaddict and Foodie