The maxim ‘if you love someone let them go, if they come back, they are yours’ – erroneously attributed to Richard Bach, the writer of cosmic mush, but whose origin is unknown was the abiding mantra in the 2022 IPL auction. With a twist: If they are yours, you buy them back.
It was set by the tournament’s two most successful franchises, Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians. Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore, too, were on the same cosmic page.
Five-time champions MI forked out Rs 15.25 crore for Ishan Kishan, making him the second most expensive Indian player in the history of IPL auction. The dashing wicketkeeper-batsman would earn a higher salary than Jasprit Bumrah, retained for Rs 12 crore. Four-time champions CSK spent Rs 14 crore for Deepak Chahar, making him more expensive than their talisman MS Dhoni, retained for Rs 12 crore.
CSK picked six players at the auction on Day One, five of them the franchise’s old hand, including KM Asif for Rs 20 lakh. MI picked four players today, mainly stressing upon breaking the bank and bringing back Kishan, a franchise thoroughbred. They came into the auction with a purse of Rs 48 crore and spent almost one-third of that on the southpaw, a player the team mother-henned. A determined piece of bidding clearly suggested that they didn’t want Kishan doing his future development elsewhere. Also, after releasing both Quinton de Kock and Kishan, they needed to bring one of them back; a ‘keeper-batsman who could open and make an impact.
CSK usually don’t breach the Rs 10-crore mark. Today, they did it for a proven performer, a pace-bowling all-rounder and a Powerplay specialist. Chahar has been in cracking form in white-ball cricket for India of late. Only on Friday, he had scored run-a-ball 38 and took two wickets in the third ODI against West Indies. For CSK, however, it was about sticking to their plan and bringing back a player whom they know and trust.
CSK focused on retaining their core. They also welcomed back their old hands – Ambati Rayudu for Rs 6.75 crore, Dwayne Bravo for Rs 4.4 crore and Robin Uthappa for Rs 2 crore. They were in bidding wars for Faf du Plessis and Josh Hazlewood as well, before losing both of them to Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 7 crore and 7.75 crore respectively.
CSK retained Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Moeen Ali, and their auction pick ensured that the core of their old squad was once again in place. MI, too, will thrive on their old core, through the retention of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav and Kieron Pollard, and the re-signing of Kishan.
The KKR’s picks had only one ‘outsider’, Shreyas Iyer at Rs 12.25 crore. The four other auction buys – Pat Cummins (Rs 7.25 crore), Nitish Rana (Rs 8 crore), Shivam Mavi (Rs 7.25 crore) and Sheldon Jackson (60 lakh) – had been part of their set-up. Two years ago, the Kolkata-based franchise had bought Cummins for Rs 15.50 crore. This time, they got him for much less. Along with Iyer, Cummins would be a captaincy option. More importantly, alongside the retained players – Andre Russell, Varun Chakravarthy and Venkatesh Iyer – the auction buy-backs would form the backbone of the two-time IPL champions.
RCB brought back Harshal Patel for Rs 10.75, the last year’s Purple Cap holder with 32 wickets. The franchise spent Rs 10.75 crore for Sri Lankan leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga also and Rs 2.4 crore for all-rounder Shahbaz Ahmed, both part of the team’s set-up last season. Ahead of the auction, RCB’s director of cricket operations Mike Hesson had spoken about bringing back some of their old players to continue with their development. They walked the talk.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan returned to Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 4.2 crore and Rs 4 crore respectively. Out of the two new franchises, Lucknow Super Giants did some smart buying, Gautam Gambhir doing the mentoring for the team. De Kock for Rs 6.75 crore was a steal, given the versatility and impact the South African ‘keeper-batsman offers. They also bought Manish Pandey (Rs. 4.6 crore), Jason Holder (Rs 8.75 crore), Deepak Hooda, (Rs 5.75 crore), Krunal Pandya (Rs 8.25 crore), Mark Wood (Rs 7.50 crore) and Avesh Khan (Rs 10 crore).
Franchise-wise biggest buys
Ishan Kishan for Rs 15.25 crore: Kishan fits into the role of an aggressive opener and a wicketkeeper.
Deepak Chahar for Rs 14 crore: A Powerplay specialist and a very good lower-order batsman, Chahar has been the franchise’s top pace-bowling preference.
Shardul Thakur for Rs 10.75 crore: Shardul has been a revelation of late, as a partnership-breaker and a game-changer as a batsman lower down the order.
Shreyas Iyer for Rs 12.25 crore: DC released their former captain and KKR pounced, to add serious quality in their middle-order apart from giving the team management a captaincy option.
Washington Sundar for Rs 8.75 crore: An off-spinner who can bowl in the Powerplays and a very capable batsman down the order.
Harshal Patel and Wanindu Hasaranga, both for Rs 10.75 crore: Patel is a death-bowling option, while Hasaranga is a middle-overs wicket-taking option.
Kagiso Rabada for Rs 9.25 crore and Shahrukh Khan for Rs 9 crore: Rabada is a fast-bowling royalty, while Khan has enhanced his reputation as a finisher.
Prasidh Krishna for Rs 10 crore: The India versus West Indies ODI series enhanced his stock as a fast bowler.
Lucknow Super Giants
Avesh Khan for Rs 10 crore: A wicket-taker, the last year IPL was his coming-of-age season.
Lockie Ferguson for Rs 10 crore: An impact bowler, he would be available for the entire duration of the tournament.