The IPL auctions brought a slew of excitement. As players went under the hammer, some turned out dejected, others jubilant. It is this fickle nature of the IPL that makes it so interesting for the millions of fans across the globe.
After the dust around the auctions settled, there would have been a few players who would be sitting in a corner and having the laugh of their lives. A few days prior to the bidding, they would have had their fingers crossed. Some of them expecting to be picked up for a particular price, others expecting just to be picked up anyhow.
I present to you five such players who can consider themselves lucky for being picked up at their current prices.
Kieron Pollard has not been in the best of form of late. In fact, he has had a horrible run in the last season of the Caribbean Premier League. Pollard has also been struggling with his fitness.
To add to all of this, the Trinidadian is no more the all-rounder he once used to be. Pollard just bowled two overs in 2017’s IPL, gave away 30 runs and did not pick up a wicket.
The thing that goes in his favour is that he gels very well with the boys at Mumbai Indians, especially Hardik Pandya. It was a bit of a family thing when the Mumbai Indians used their Right To Match (RTM) card against Delhi Daredevils to pick the explosive batsman for ₹5.4 crores.
Ishan Kishan is the next hotshot wicket-keeper batsman to come out of Jharkhand after MS Dhoni. Kishan captained the Indian team in the Under-19 World Cup, which ended as the runners-up in 2016.
He was picked up by Gujarat Lions the same year for ₹35 lakh. It turned out to be an ordinary season for him, as he could only manage 42 runs in five matches.
It was in 2017, that the Jharkhand lad grabbed attention owing to his quick-fire 61-run knock off 40 balls against Sunrisers Hyderabad. However, there were no extraordinary performances form his side that necessarily warranted a ₹6.2 crore bid from Mumbai Indians, at more than 200 times his previous price.
Krishnappa Gowtham is an off-spinning all-rounder who hails from Karnataka. He made his Ranji Trophy debut in 2012 against Bengal where he failed to leave his mark. However, it was in the 2016-17 Ranji season, when he made a comeback after three years, that Gowtham came to his own by picking up two consecutive five-wicket hauls.
On the back of his all round performances, he was picked by Mumbai Indians for ₹2 crores in 2017.
Talking about this year’s auction experience – where he was picked by Rajasthan Royals for ₹6.2 crores – Gowtham said, “The name popped up and there were no bids for at least 20-30 seconds. Those 20 seconds were very hard; it felt like 20-25 minutes. But I need to thank Rajasthan Royals for believing in my ability….my parents didn’t expect that I’d go for this amount….whatever I’ve dreamt of, I can now fulfill.”
By picking Manish Pandey for ₹11 crores, Sunrisers Hyderabad have made it clear that they have gone on his previous year’s IPL performance.
If we look at Pandey’s performance in 2017’s IPL, wherein he averaged almost 50, this is quite understandable. It is when we look at the broader picture and put it into context, we find it a little strange.
Gautam Gambhir was picked by Delhi Daredevils for ₹2.8 crores. The difference between both the players is a staggering ₹8.2 crores. Is Gambhir so inferior a batsman to Manish Pandey or is Pandey that superior a batsman to Gambhir? Another player who went for the same price as Pandey was KL Rahul.
But in his case, it is understandable as KXIP look at him as a full-time keeper and a captaincy prospect. Pandey has also seen a string of failures in his ODI appearances.
Over the years, batsmen and keepers have earned fat pay checks in the IPL. But when an Indian pace bowler hits a jackpot, you stop and take notice. Jaydev Unadkat is having the time of his life at present. In 2017, Unadkat was picked by Rising Pune Supergiant for ₹30 lakh and he did not disappoint, picking up 24 wickets in the season.
Soon after, he bagged his first international man-of-the-series award after his economical performance against Sri Lanka. Recently, the Saurashtra bowler has been included in India’s squad for the three-match T20I series in South Africa.
After being picked for a whopping ₹11.5 crores by Rajasthan Royals, Unadkat said, “Having kept my base price at ₹1.5 crore, I was sure that I would get some good pickings and I was hopeful a couple of teams would go after me…. It’s actually overwhelming for me to get the price I went for. It will be dumb if I said I was expecting it; no one would say that.”