Ever since the advent of the IPL, the auction has been one event that everyone has looked forward to.
A country that lives and dies by the rise and dip of the Sensex, where shares are traded day in an day out, it was the first time that emotions were being traded through the means of players being sold to different IPL franchises.
While not all cities have been able to come up with their own franchise, owing to cricket’s affinity to country competition rather than club competition, IPL still has made it big, helping people align with super stars initially, and then get emotionally attached to the franchise that their favourite player first played for.
The auction has had a huge role to play in all this hooplah around the IPL. Numbers fascinate Indians, and when you have a cost involved with respect to the buying and selling of players, it makes sport all the more interesting for us.
The auction thus became an integral part of the IPL, helping it reach out to people other than mere cricket lovers.
The mega auction for IPL 2018 was a grand success, with teams having matured with their auction strategies over the last 10 years, and going not just by reputation but by current form and utility to buy in players.
Here are the best buys(steals, if you may) of every IPL franchise.
Note: I haven’t opted for Retained players(through direct retention or RTM’s)
Chennai Super Kings
CSK had a mixed auction strategy, going in for experienced players on Day 1 and then buying youth and non ex-CSK players on Day 2(except Vijay).
But Mitchell Santner has to be their best buy. Santner came into the auction and Day 2, and the Stephen Fleming led CSK team management gobbled him up for Rs 50 lakh.
Coincidentally, Santner also became the World Number one T20 bowler on Monday, a day after CSK secured his services.
No other franchise was interested in getting Santer to their franchise, but Fleming had done his scouting right, getting the New Zealander in cheap.
Santner was instrumental in beating India on home soil during the 2016 T20 World Cup and has been brilliant for the New Zealand limited overs side ever since.
Santner is also a very handy bat lower down the order, something he very potently showed during New Zealand’s tour of India last year.
Santner has 26 wickets in 23 T20I’s and concedes runs at just 6.78. He has a batting average of 18.78 and strikes them at a strike rate of 133. At just Rs 50 lakhs, steal!
Royal Challengers Bangalore
RCB have always had a great batting line up but have never really found the correct bowling combination to back up their batting prowess.
This year they tried investing in bowlers, a lot of them being former KKR bowlers, in Umesh Yadav, NCN, Woakes and Colin De Granhomme.
With the fast bowling unit almost sorted, RCB needed to get in one spinner, other than Chahal, whom they retained through the RTM card. They decided to go in for Washington Sundar, and got him for Rs 3.2 crore.
Sundar, for me is RCB’s best buy, as he has had a splendid time in the TNPL, bowling with an average of 21 and at an economy of just 6.48. He can also bat in the top order and use the long handle while batting in the lower order.
Just 19 and having recently made his debut for India, Sundar is certainly going to be an RCB super star in the years to come.
Mumbai Indians have made some really smart buys in the auction, best of the lot being Evin Lewis for just Rs 3.8 crore and Mustafizur Rehman for just Rs 2.2 crore.
Having let go Mitch McCleneghan, Lendl Simmons and Jos Buttler, Mumbai were in looking for an opener and a death bowler, and they go two of the best in Lewis and Mustafizur, and that too for a combined amount of just Rs 6 crore.
Lewis has an average of 34 in T20’s and strikes them at 146.06, which is just amazing for an opener.
Mustafizur Rehman has a bowling average of 19.66 in T20’s and has an economy rate of just 6.66, which is staggering to say the least.
Kolkata Knight Riders
On the face of it, KKR haven’t done that well at the auction.
They have recruited the services of injury prone T20 stars(Lynn and Starc), have heavily invested in Johnson, who isn’t at the peak of his game now, and have then gone in for young Indian U-19 stars, who haven’t ever featured in the IPL.
But if you had to pick one, Shubman Gill could be a good recruit, as he is one of the best upcoming talents in the country, having a Youth ODI average of 100+, and having just scored a 93-ball hundred against Pakistan in the U-19 World Cup semi-final.
Rajasthan Royals, the Moneyball team have had a pretty good auction, recruiting a good mix of domestic and foreign stars. They wanted to go in for specific players and they went all out for them, having recruited two of the most expensive players in the IPL in Unadkat(Rs 11.5 crore) and Ben Stokes(Rs 12.5 crore).
But, Jos Buttler has to be their best pick, having signed him for just Rs 4.4 crore.
He will in all probability open the batting for RR along with Ajinkya Rahane. Buttler could also keep wickets for RR.
The entire package for just Rs 4.4 crore, brilliant for RR!
Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab have recruited one of the most fearsome batting order, with Finch, Rahul, Gayle, Miller and Stoinis in line to make it to the XI.
But KXIP’s best buy is a bowler, as they managed to get the hattrick man, Andrew Tye for Rs 7.2 crore.
While the price maybe a little hefty, Tye has been a revelation in T20 cricket in the past one year, having picked 3 hattricks in one year. He picked a hattrick for the Gujarat lions in his debut match for them.
He was recently drafted into the Australian ODI squad too, and picked up a 5-for in the 5th ODI against Australia.
His rich armoury of slower ones and pin-point yorkers will in all probability lead great results for KXIP.
Shakib Al Hasan has to be the most underrated player of this generation. Ranked number one in Tests and T20I’s, Shakib Al Hasan would have proved to be of great value to any team he would have joined.
Moody was in extremely high spirits after having secured the services of Shakib, saying that he is one player who can bat anywhere in the batting order, and can bowl those crucial power play overs as well.
At just Rs 2 crore, Shakib could be in line to become the most valuable player of IPL 2018.
Delhi Daredevils want to continue the success that the city of Delhi have been having in domestic cricket in the past 1 year.
Having already retained Pant, Iyer and Morris, DD were desperately looking for a good opener, and they have recruited one of the best in Colin Munro.
Munro came in at just Rs 1.9 crore for Delhi and has to be one of the best buys of the auction, across franchises.
In 156 T20s, Colin Munro has an average of 29.96 and scores them at a strike rate of 146.78.
Munro in the past has been ignored by a lot of franchises, with KKR also not having used him in the best possible way. Munro has 3 T20I centuries to his name and could play a very instrumental role in taking DD to the IPL 2018 title.