IPL is back or atleast the auction is. After months of speculations and legal battles, all the 10 teams made it to the auction table but there was the last surprise in store with Rajasthan's total budget being reduced to $7 mn instead of $9 mn as it is for everyone else. The reason is still a bit uncertain.
If we have a look at the teams building up, one thing is for sure-A lot of player and team loyalties are going to be tested as besides Chennai, very few teams have brought many of their ex team members. Chennai, though went all out to buy who were there own-Ashwin,Badrinath,Boullinger & Hussey. To this, they have added Dwayne Bravo and Wridhiman Saha. And remember; they had retained Dhoni,Raina,Vijay and Morkel. So this looks to be a great team with a good mix of domestic players & foreign players,bowlers & batsmen. They will again be one the favourites, like in the previous editions.
Mumbai Indians were the other side who had retained the maximum allowed limit of 4 players which were Sachin, Harbhajan, Pollard & Malinga. Neeta Ambani bid aggresively for Rohit Sharma which was a great buy but extremely affected the overall budget. The other buys were James Franklin, Andrew Symonds & Davy Jocobs. This looks like an interesting side developing here but MI will have to just fill around the other spots because they don't have a lot of money left. But, SRT is known to have a good eye for youngsters and a knack of backing them so that may not be a big problem as they have the master tendulkar who seems to running the show(aggresive bidding for rohit sharma being a proof). Will be interesting to see though, how Bhajji and Symo get along after "Monkey"gate!
Deccan Chargers seemed to be the team who did the smartest bidding. They didn't go too hard, but stole some gems at a bargain. They now are home to Steyn, Sangakkara, Cameron White, Pieterson, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Shikhar Dhawan & JP Duminy. A perfect mix of bowling,batting, domestic, foreign, stability and firepower. To add to this, they are still the team which maximum amount left in their exchequer. Great Work Chargers.
The schewd and smart Vijay Mallya was calling the shots for Bangalore with some smart advise from Kumble being a bonus. RCB knew the players they just needed to have and went all out for them. Be it Saurabh Tiwary or AB Devilliers. They now have a deadly pace attack with Zaheer and Dirk Nannes, one of the smartest spinners in the world-Daniel Vettori, A dependable and destructive Dilshan,young and talented Chiteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli being the one they retained. Just too good a side to have. But with the budget dwindling, they will have to make smart choices to build the bench strength.
Delhi Daredevils made a slow start to the day with no bids early on. They got aggressive with Irfan Pathan for whom they fought ferociously with Kings XI Punjab. After that they concentrated mostly on foreign players with David Warner coming back to revive the Veeru-Warner deadly partnership. Their other buys were Morne Morkel, James Hopes, Aaron Flinch and Naman Ojha. They still have a lot of money to spend and they will be very aggresive on day 2.
Kolkata Knight Riders were the ones who started the day with a frenzy and paying a whopping $ 2.4 mn for Gambhir, who certainly is worth it. A proven performer and an ODI captain with 100% winning rate(I know it was New Zealand but still-statistics). Gauti can certainly turn the ship for KKR provided he has good company which we now know is being provided by Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Shakib Al Hasan, Manoj Tiwary, Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan & Brad Haddin. This is a great side but a bit lacking in the bowling department as Lee's fitness is always a concern. They will be looking for some steals in the bowling department on day 2. Gambhir and Pathan were incidentatlly the two most expensive players today. SRK always goes hard for whom he wants.
Kings XI Punjab would have been pleased just to be sitting there after all the drama surrounding them in the last few months. They were unlucky that whichever players they pursued were wanted badly by someone else as well so they missed on Pathan as a case but Preity Zinta didn't lose that pretty smile despite, which was good to see. KXIP bagged the services of Adam Gilchrist, David Hussey, Dinesh Karthik, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Abhishek Nayyar, Stuart Broad & Ryan Harris. They seem to have gone a bit overboard with Nayyar as he is not really a T20 specialist but he is a stable batsmen and someone who can be banked upon. Whats lacking in this side are big names which seems to be a hige shift from the earlier strategy where Yuvraj, Lee, Pathan being the marketable faces(besides the talent) in the side. A couple of real good buys in Praveen Kumar & Hussey in this side. They need to focus on some domestic players now as they have plenty of foreign talent in the side now. They will be the darkhorse in IPL 4, I guess but I hope they do a Rajasthan Royals(IPL 1). Go Kings XI!!
Rajashthan Royals didn't have the presence of Shane Warne on the table but his word was certainly important in what they did. With the budget being 7 against 9 for others, they needed some smart buys which came in the form of Paul Collingwood and Ross Taylor. They only brought Johan Botha and Rahul Dravid besides these two. They paid $950 mn for Botha which is strange as they already have a world class spinner in Shane Warne. Besides Warne, they have retained Shane Watson. They will be heavily relying on Shane Warne's eye to spot some really good domestic players as otherwise $2 mn deficit will surely be a disadvantage.
Sahara Pune Warriors were one of two new teams entering the fray but they had done their homework well. They bid heavily for Robin Uthappa and Yuvraj Singh, who are explosive when it comes to T20. Yuvraj seems to have been paid well for his capability and allround abilites because his batting in the earlier editions has just not been upto the mark. Kings XI tried to get him back till a point but then they backed off against the aggressive Pune. Angelo Mathews, Ashish Nehra, Grahme Smith,Calum Fergusson, Tim Paine and Nathan Mcullum were the other buys. There strategy was similar to KKR's-Bid heavy for a couple and try to get some cheap buys.
Kochi are the other new team into the IPL, who still havent decided on a name. They were involved in a lot of bidding wars, winning a few and losing a few. Their prized posessions are Mahela Jayawardene and Murali. They also have one of the best opening bowling combos in RP Singh and Sreesanth, who will be the hometown boy. They will also be having Ravindra Jadeja, Brendom McCullum, Brad Hodge, VVS Laxman, Parthiv Patel, Steven Smith and Ramesh Powar at their disposal. They have build a good roster here but they lack some dependable players. Sreesanth, Jadeja, McCullum & Jayawardene can all be amazing on their days but just fall away on others. But they still have decent money left with them so lets see whom they buy on day 2.
These are the teams and all of them look competitive but today will be remembered for the players who weren't bid for i.e. Ganguly, Lara and Gibbs. There were many more but these are names who would have been part of most World XI's a few years back and now noone even wants them. With Lara, its understandable as he has played no cricket for the last 3 years and failed badly in his brief ICL stint but Ganguly and Gibbs must have been more shocked. But, there is till hope left as they come back for auction when all the players available have been put up on auction once.