The 10 franchises spent Rs. 388.10 crore on 74 players on day 1 of the two-day IPL mega auction here on Saturday.
The script of the top picks went mostly on expected lines with Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan, the cynosure among Indian players, ensuring a bidding war.
Kishan was Mumbai Indian’s first buy of the day and also the franchise’s most expensive in the tournament history. Kishan went for a jaw-dropping Rs 15.25 crore, making him the second most expensive Indian player at an auction after Yuvraj Singh (16 crore).
The southpaw is also now the fourth most expensive player of the league. MI had to see off frenzied bidding from Punjab Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Gujarat Titans to ensure the wicketkeeper-batsman returned to their fold.
It was a known fact that Shreyas Iyer was hot commodity and that Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders would loosen their purse strings for the Mumbaikar, especially with their need for a captain. But RCB had other strategies and dropped out of the race at the Rs. 4.20-crore mark leaving Lucknow Super Giants, Delhi Capitals, Gujarat and Kolkata Knight Riders to push up his price tag. Kolkata were hell-bent on getting Iyer, even if it meant he came at a price of Rs 12.25 crore.
For the better part of the day, franchises played to their financial strengths while keeping their blueprint in mind. Teams like Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab, who had the luxury of funds were the busy ones.
Defending champions Chennai Super Kings, who were subdued in the first session, were clearly looking at getting their core team back. But the player they were willing to stretch their purse for was Deepak Chahar.
In case of Chahar, CSK waited till Delhi and SRH pushed past the Rs 10-crore mark and Rajasthan Royals too threw their hat in the ring. But they left the competition behind with a Rs 14-crore bid for the 29-year-old pacer.
But Delhi did not back down when Punjab pursued all-rounder Shardul Thakur, who eventually went for Rs 10.75 crore. This was the same price commanded by Harshal Patel and Sri Lankan all -rounder Wanindu Hasaranga, both of whom were welcomed back by RCB.
Delhi hit the jackpot when they got Australian top-order batsman David Warner for a steal at Rs. 6.25 crore.
Mumbai Indians picked up just four players on the day while Sunrisers with 10 buys had the maximum players in the line-up.
UNCAPPED PLAYERS STRIKE IT RICH
With talent scouts from across franchises watching domestic proceedings, the stakes among uncapped players were high. Pacer Avesh Khan became the most expensive uncapped player when Lucknow roped him in for a whopping Rs 10 crore. Tamil Nadu’s star of the Syed Mushtaq Ali tournament — R Sai Kishore too went to the new franchise at Rs 3 crore. Not to be left behind, Gujarat paid Rs 9 crore for Rahul Tewatia.
Among batsmen, Punjab invested heavily in TN’s big-hitting finisher Shahrukh Khan who commanded Rs 9 crore. They also paid Rs 3.8 crore to get Harpreet Brar on board. Shivam Mavi returned to Kolkata for Rs 7.25 crore.