Priety Zinta co-owned Kings XI Punjab appeared to be one of the smartest sides in the IPL 2014 auction © Getty Images
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 7 Auction was different in many ways. With almost all the teams stitching a new squad altogether, it was once again down to who did the wise spending. Abhijit Banare recaps five key points of this year’s auctions.
1. Less disparity in bidding and judicial spending
Unlike 2013, there were less million-dollar players this time around. Not that there was a financial crunch, but the franchisees were smart enough to understand the value of the players. In the past auctions there wasn’t much logic applied by the franchisees and frequently ended up competing with each other, which resulted in some unheard players bagging a lot of value for nothing. At the same time, since the teams had to build a new team altogether they couldn’t afford to go on a splurging spree on just one player. The more players a team had retained, the lesser was their options of going beyond a limit of bidding. On the second day of the auction, the so called big teams like Mumbai Indians (MI) and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) constantly withdrew themselves beyond a certain point during the bidding.
2. Uncapped players hold their value
This was the first time the uncapped players were being released in the auctions. And it was heartening to see that the Ranji Trophy 2013-14 stars got their rightful due. Right from the top run-scorer to top wicket-taker, each of them was in demand. This not just puts the player’s faith back in the performance in the Ranji Trophy but also allows them to play their natural game. Some players like Kedar Jadhav, Karun Nair or Lokesh Rahul are not explosive players who command great value, but the franchisees understand that T20s are not just about slam bang but pacing your innings as well. Ask Ajinkya Rahane about that. But it is on this pattern many of the successful Ranji players were picked on their form rather than their style of play.
3. Teams with a strategy got their players and those who didn’t have messed it up
One of the glaring embarrassments was that of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). On the second day of the auction RCB looked like the regular Indian who has to think twice or even thrice before making a big purchase. Not that they were victims of competitive bidding but they failed to shortlist their strategy and the team they wanted to stitch. In contrast a team like Rajasthan Royals (RR) still went home happy with a larger squad despite having a smaller purse after retaining five players. The reason Rajasthan and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) or to an extent Delhi Daredevils (DD) are being lauded for their purchases is because they knew what they wanted. Rahul Dravid in particular ensured that the key players who suited their team are worth any amount. Hence you saw Steven Smith being purchased for INR 4.2 crores while they were happy to have Pravin Tambe back as their lead spinner for just INR 10 lakhs.
4. More about cricket less about glamour
Earlier there used to be franchisee heads who used to make the call with the coaches just making a memento appearance. But the during the two days of auction, someone like Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sanjay Bangar were critical in the decisions taken and it was visible in the absorbing discussions over every player and before placing every bid. The more the cricketers are involved, the saner the franchisees decisions appeared.
5. It was not about packing your team with players but understanding team culture
Almost every franchisee made it clear that they weren’t looking to complete the maximum squad strength of 27. In fact they were focusing on having a small but efficient squad which is easy to manage and better to communicate. Mumbai, in the previous season was guilty of packing too many players and thereby being spoilt for choices. But it wasn’t the same case this time around.
Read all stories of IPL 2014 Auction here
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)