There was enough international cricket on Sunday to engage the followers of the sport, but what provoked the most furious activity on social media – no prizes for guessing – was the players’ auction for IPL VI. And like every year, it has again thrown up it’s quota of some inexplicable decisions which may or may not be based on cricketing reasons alone.
As the marquee players Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting managed face-saving deals at their base prices of $400,000 (Dh1.4 million) each, a bunch of young journeyman cricketers from Australia and Sri Lanka laughed all their way to the bank. Perhaps the South African allrounder Chris Morris, for whom Chennai Super Kings paid a handsome $625,000, put it in the right perspective when he said: “I have never seen so much money.”
The question that goes unanswered, however, is what drives the franchise owners to pull out on all stops for a Glenn Maxwell or a Sachitra Senanayake?
While a part of it may be attributed to the fact that the homework that they rely on is not based on the player’s overall reputation but rather performances in the other T-20 leagues (namely the Big Bash in Australia), but the price tags often seem to have other X-factors (read: ego trip or making a dent in rival franchises’ budgets).
The interesting part is more of than not in the brief history of IPL, such conspicuous buys have not really set the stage on fire or helped his team to the title. Take the case of Kieran Pollard for example, a player who was bought by Mumbai Indians for $750,000 in the 2010 auction after a brilliant showing for the Trinidad team in the Champions League T-20. He has had his moments of glory in the Mumbai shirt with his ability to accelerate but has not been a patch on senior compatriot Chris Gayle in the last three years.
No less intriguing is the case of Daniel Christian who was snapped up by the erstwhile Deccan Chargers for $900,000 in the 2011 auction against a base price of $50,000. Two seasons of IPL later and having been released by Chargers, the Australian had been plain lucky to find a buyer in Royal Challengers Bangalore for $100,000 in the last auction.
While Maxwell had hogged all the limelight since for being the only million dollar man in this year’s Chennai auction, there had been no dearth of other outrageous acquisitions.
Take the case of Kane Richardson, a fast bowler who finished ninth in the list of wicket takers for Adelaide Strikers in the last Big Bash League but was ‘good enough’ to command the third highest price tag of $700,000 from Pune Warriors. The same goes for the likes of Senanayake, whom reigning champions KKR recruited for $650,000.
Love it or hate it, you can’t keep the IPL down!