Bengaluru: It was a tale of homecoming for Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir as they were bought by Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils respectively, on the first day of the 2018 IPL auctions in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Gambhir, who led the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to two IPL titles in 2012 and 2014 was surprisingly not retained by the franchise using the Right to Match (RTM) card. Delhi Daredevils, however didn’t let go of this opportunity and bought the star batsman who has had a fantastic Ranji Trophy season for 2.8 crore. Later, head coach Ricky Ponting also announced that he would lead the side in the upcoming edition of the tournament.
It was a similar story for Yuvraj Singh, who was not retained by the Sunrisers Hyderabad despite being a key member of their IPL winning team in 2016. Instead the Preity Zinta co-owned team was happy enough to buy the all-rounder for 2 crores.
Just like last year, Ben Stokes hogged the limelight, becoming the biggest purchase on the first day, as he was roped in by a returning Rajasthan Royals for a whopping 12.5 crore. Next to follow him in the list of most expensive players were KL Rahul and Manish Pandey, who were signed by the Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively for 11 crore each, respectively.
Chris Lynn, who had lit up the IPL last year with some destructive batting right at the top was bought back by the Kolkata Knight Riders for 9.6 crore from a base price of 2 crore. He would thus join Australian teammate Mitchell Starc, who too was roped in by the two-time champions for 9.4 crore.
It was an interesting day for Kolkata Knight Riders at the auctions as after landing these two Australian stars, they were dormant for most part of the proceedings and even didn’t use their RTM cards for Pandey and Umesh Yadav (to Royal Challengers Bangalore). Instead, they chose to bring back Robin Uthappa and Piyush Chawla, other than shelling out 7.4 crore for Dinesh Karthik.
KKR also roped in some young cricketers in the form of U-19 stars Shubman Gill (1.8 crore) and Kamlesh Nagarkoti (3.2 crore). Also Delhi’s Nitish Rana and Jharkhand’s Ishank Jaggi would play for them in the upcoming IPL.
A team which would certainly be happy with the way things have gone so far for them is the Kings XI Punjab. Apart from getting Yuvraj, the 2014 finalists acquired the services of ace spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (7.6 crore), Marcus Stoinis and Aaron Finch (6.2 crore each), Karun Nair (5.6 crore), Ankit Rajpoot and David Miller (3 crore each) and Mayank Agarwal (1 crore).
Delhi Daredevils too would be mighty pleased with the squad that they’ve put together so far. With a proven performer in Gambhir at the helm, they bought number one ranked T20I batsman Colin Munro (1.9 crore), Australian star Glenn Maxwell (4.2 crore), England opener Jason Roy (1.5 crore), Prithvi Shaw (1.2 crore), Avesh Khan (70 lakh) and Harshal Patel (20 lakh). They also used their RTM cards to bring back the pace bowling duo of Mohammad Shami and Kagiso Rabada besides buying Rahul Tewatia for 3 crore.
It was a switch of teams after a long period of 10 ten years for Harbhajan Singh, who ended his association with three-time champions and would be seen plying his trade for the men in yellow when they play the tournament once again after a two-year ban. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) put together their squad using two RTM cards on Proteas skipper Faf Du Plessis and West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and made other purchases in the form of Kedar Jadhav (7.8 crore), Imran Tahir (1 crore) and Karn Sharma (5 crore).
Besides Stokes, Rajasthan invested Ajinkya Rahane, and have also roped in the duo of D’ Arcy Short (4 crore) and Jofra Archer (7.2 crore) who have put up impressive performances for the Hobart Hurricanes so far in Australia’s Big Bash League.
Aaron Finch, who would play for Kings XI Punjab this time around also becomes the first cricketer in the IPL to play for seven different franchises. Earlier, the Australian opener had played for Rajasthan Royals (2010), Delhi Daredevils (2011), Pune Warriors (2013), Sunrisers Hyderabad (2014), Mumbai Indians (2015), Gujarat Lions (2016 and 2017).
Sunrisers Hyderabad, have invested intelligently and have roped in former KKR stars in the form of Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Shakib Al-Hasan. They shelled out 9 crore for Afghanistan star Rashid Khan and have also roped in Shikhar Dhawan (5.2 crore), Wriddhiman Saha (5 crore), Siddarth Kaul (3.8 crore), Deepak Hooda (3.6 crore), Kane Williamson and Khaleel Ahmed (3 crore), Carlos Brathwaite (2 crore).
The Virat Kohli led Royal Challengers Bangalore now have foreign stars in the form of former Kiwi skipper Brendon McCullum (3.6 crore), England all-rounder Chris Woakes (7.4 crore), Colin De Grandhomme (2.2 crore), and Moeen Ali (1.7 crore).
However, names like Chris Gayle, Joe Root, Hashim Amla, Ishant Sharma, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell McClenaghan, Tim Southee, Josh Hazelwood, Lasith Malinga and Martin Guptill went unsold on the first day.