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The Big Questions of the IPL Auction

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The IPL 2023 auction saw 80 players sold and INR 167 crore (approximately $20 million) spent within hours. Many records were broken, many eyebrows raised and many questions asked as some players earned more and others earned less than expected. ESPNcricinfo examines some of the big questions and attempts to answer them.

Who will captain Sunrisers Hyderabad?

The Sunrisers themselves don’t know yet, head coach Brian Lara said on Friday, adding that calling Mayank Agarwal, who captained the Punjab Kings last year, their captain was already “unfair” because of “a few senior players in the team already”.

Their other options with captain experience are Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Aiden Markram, but both come with caveats. Bhuvneshwar is very injury prone and has played only four of the Sunrisers’ 16 games last season. Markram led South Africa to their Under-19 World Cup title in 2014 and also captained South Africa’s A teams, but his leadership at international level was forgettable. he lost all five ODIs to India as alternate captain in early 2018, albeit with a depleted side.

Naming a foreign captain is also always tricky due to the cap on foreign players in the XI, and many franchises have had to change captains in the middle of IPL seasons when they go through lean times at bat.

Why has Pooran’s price risen from INR 10.75 to 16 crore despite recent poor form?

Some may have thought Pooran’s IPL stock may have fallen because of his recent poor run: Since August of this year, Pooran has averaged just 10.80 over 20 T20 innings with a strike rate of 114, 28. These included his disappointing scores of 13, 7 and 5 in the T20 World Cup, after which he resigned as Captain of the West Indies.

But a few things would have worked in Pooran’s favor at Friday’s auction. First, his recent scores. He returned his form to hammering 345 carries in the Abu Dhabi T10 at a staggering 234.69 strike rate with the help of 25 sixes and 31 fours in just 10 innings. Second, he has impressive strike rates against both spins (152.20 in 31 rounds) and rhythm (151.42 in 39 innings) in the IPL.

Finally, many teams were looking for a wicket-keeper and Pooran fits into this role. Whether INR 16 crore ($1.95 million) was worth spending on it or not is debatable, but such are the dynamics of a mini-auction.

Why did Curran receive more money than Stokes?

That the allrounders were going for the biggest paychecks was obvious, but it turns out that the most experienced of the three – Sam Curran, cameron green and Ben Stokes Earned the lowest amount among them.

One reason was that Stokes’ name was the last to appear of the three. Within a particular set – like all players – names were chosen at random, and teams had to bid for the name that came up. Curran came second, after Shakib Al Hasan, and the kings broke their bank. Green was the next top all-rounder and this time Mumbai Indians pushed him. By the time Stokes appeared, Kings and Mumbai weren’t going to bid, Sunrisers had already spent INR 21.50 crore (about $2.6 million) on Harry Brook and Mayank Agarwal, and some franchises were already running out of money and were therefore out of the race. . This reduced the buying power of most franchises, but Chennai Super Kings still shelled out nearly $2 million for Stokes.

The second reason is that Curran’s overall utility as a T20 player has surpassed Stokes’ as of late. For example, in all T20s since the start of 2020, Curran’s batting rate against spin is 154.69 compared to Stokes 137.55. Curran also stepped up his death bowling during England’s T20 World Cup-winning campaign by fleeing just 70 runs in his 64 balls, while Stokes barely played in the death overs.

Third, Curran is only 24, Stokes is 31, and the younger automatically becomes a longer-term investment in the IPL.

Why did the teams choose Rahane and Root, who are not T20 specialists?

They could play domestic T20s though Ajinkya RahaneThe last T20I from was back in 2016 and Joe Roots in 2019. Both hitters, however, have always found takers in the most competitive T20 league in the world.

Although Rahane scored at Alone 118 points per 100 balls in the last Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Mumbai, what works in his favor is his familiarity with Indian courts and his technique on slow, turning tracks. Now that the Super Kings are returning to Chepauk’s slow pitches, Rahane’s play could come in handy, particularly as an impact player when wickets are falling in clusters and in low-scoring chases.

Root, on the other hand, comes to the IPL to gain some experience on Indian grounds ahead of the World Cup at age 50. Since stepping down as test captain, Root has expressed his desire to grow his T20 game and could play anchor for the Rajasthan Royals after an otherwise explosive call-up from Jos Buttler, Yashasvi Jaiswal and Sanju Samson. An amount of INR 1 crore (about $121,000) was not too much anyway.

Another factor that has worked for both Rahane and Root is that the tournament now has ten teams, resulting in more players being bought at auction.

Why didn’t the Sunrisers save money for all-around stars when they had the biggest wallet?
The Sunrisers had the biggest purse of INR 42.25 crore ahead of the auction and it would have made perfect sense for them to splurge on one of the top-flight all-rounders.

But even before their arrival, the Sunrisers spent more than half of their money – INR 21.50 crore (around $2.6m) – on Brook and Agarwal. Brook’s T20 batting rate of 167.43 in Asia combined with current form and a solid Indian top-notch hitter in Agarwal made sense to strengthen the team, but it didn’t leave the Sunrisers much money in the game. start to win a big all-rounder.

Head coach Lara later said that with the new impact rule, they were looking for specialists to have flexibility in their squad. Sunrisers also revealed that they expected Agarwal to go for INR 10-15 crore, so they were happy to get it for INR 8.25 crore (about $1 million) and spent a bit more. for Brook, which they say would go for around INR 10 crore. . They tried to sue Stokes later but had to pull out once the bids reached INR 15 crore (approximately $1.8m) so they could buy more players later.

How will Green fit into Mumbai XI?
This Green arrives as Kieron Pollard’s replacement is clear, but where will he beat? He can fit anywhere in the batting order, but is best used up top in his current form. Mumbai already have Suryakumar Yadav and Tim David as power finishers, so Green would be a better fit either as an explosive opener with Rohit Sharma or even as No. 1.3 if Mumbai wants a left-right pair at the top with Rohit and Ishan Kishan.

If needed, Mumbai could also use lower Green when they want Suryakumar to beat at No. 1. 3.

Who will be the leader of Mumbai?

Before the auction, Mumbai only had the inexperienced duo of Kumar Kartikeya and Hrithik Shookeen as the main spinners in their line-up. They didn’t go after Shreyas Gopal, they didn’t try to redeem Mayank Markande or M Ashwin, and picked up Piyush Chawla instead, who didn’t play IPL 2022 (unsold) and didn’t get only one game in the 2021 edition.

This has resulted in a lack of proper spin bowling options for Mumbai unless they take a gamble of playing a disgraced Chawla on a regular basis, which also goes against what owner Akash Ambani has said. Friday that they wanted to buy many young players to build a team for the future.

Who is CSK’s death pitcher after Bravo’s departure?
Stokes coming in as a direct replacement for Dwyane Bravo in the XI is a given, but who’s going to play the death for Super Kings now? Bravo was a safe shooting option for two of the final four overs, particularly useful on Chepauk’s slow pitches and could even turn games around on his own.

Stokes played bowling just 29 bullets in the dead since the start of 2021, which means the Super Kings will turn to Maheesh Theekshana, who did the same job for Sri Lanka and for the Jaffna Kings in their winning Lankan Premier League campaign. This year he has an impressive save rate of 7.35 in fatalities, ahead of Jasprit Bumrah, Arshdeep Singh, Sam Curran and others.

Why were spinners in such low demand at this auction??
Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Mohhammad Nabi, Shreyas Gopal and Tabraiz Shamsi all remained unsold, while others like Adil Rashid, Adam Zampa, M Ashwin and Markande were all sold at their base price meaning they are not sold. only received one offer each.

Some of the best spinners in the world had already been retained by franchises ahead of the mini-auction, so teams mostly needed reinforcements to fill certain spots this time around. Picking foreign spinners who can’t beat wouldn’t make much sense because it takes up a foreign slot and even though that player can be substituted or removed with the new impact rule, it has to be done within the framework of the four overseas limit rule.

For the Indian names, there weren’t as many takers as most teams already had enough rotation options in their ranks. Knight Riders added Shakib to support Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy, and Kings also brought an all-rounder in Sikandar Raza to add to Rahul Chahar and Harpreet Brar. The Royals have Yuzvendra Chahal and R Ashwin. The capitals have Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav. Royal Challengers Bangalore have Wanindu Hasaranga, Shahbaz Ahmed and Karn Sharma in their ranks. The Super Kings have Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, Theekshana and Mitchell Santner. Lucknow Super Giant has Krunal Pandya, Ravi Bishnoi and K Gowtham, and the Gujarat Titans have Rashid Khan, R Sai Kishore, Rahul Tewatia and Jayant Yadav.

Vishal Dikshit is an associate editor at ESPNcricinfo

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