Dubai: Each auction of the Indian Premier League brings about its share of talking points — and it was no different in Jaipur, the ‘Pink City,’ on Tuesday.
Varun Chakravarthy, an unknown mystery spinner from Tamil Nadu who first made news in this year’s Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) and Indian left-arm seamer Jaydev Unadkat emerged as millionaires among Indian cricketers as the likes of Yuvraj Singh went unsold for the 12th edition of IPL in April-May next year.
“What a bid! Varun Chakaravarthy joins us for the new season of IPL!” the Kings XI Punjab franchise tweeted after shelling out $1.8 million (Dh6.61 million) for the 27-year-old, who had a base price of two million rupees (Dh104,313; $28,400).
Chakravarthy began playing cricket when he was 13, but took up architecture after several rejections in age-group cricket. He later returned to the game, honing his skills as a spinner able to bowl both off and leg breaks and played a key role for Madurai franchise in winning the TNPL.
Unadkat, who was the costliest Indian player last year for Rajasthan Royals, was released by them in November after the wiry pacer ended with only 11 wickets from 15 matches. Fortunes again smiled on him when he was subjected to an intense bidding war between Royals, Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings before the Royals snapped him again.
More than 350 players went under the hammer on a day which saw the eight franchises focusing on filling up their vacancies rather than going for extravagance. There are a few imponderables for next season like the venue of IPL XII, the availability of a number of top notch international cricketers with the ICC World Cup coming up soon after the demanding league — which made the West Indians the easier targets for some the franchises.
This may explain the reason behind England’s leading T20 exponents like Alex Hales, Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan being ignored. while Sam Curran — the young all-rounder who was Man of the Series in their last Test series against India — ended up being the only million dollar boy among the overseas players. Curran, son of former Zimbabwean all-rounder Kevin, went for approximately $1 million to Kings XI.
Upcoming Caribbean stars Shimron Hetmyer and Nicolas Pooran were bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab, respectively, for Rs42 million (Dh2.18 million) each. Big hitter and handy seamer Carlos Brathwaite, who won the West Indies their last World T20 crown at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2016, will get a chance to flourish on his happy hunting ground as Kolkata Knight Riders went for him at $707,150.
“What a fantastic buy. We all know what Carlos did at Eden back in 2016! Everyone remembers the name!” KKR said on Twitter.
Like every year, the list of unsold players will raise some eyebrows. The 37-year-old Yuvraj, who not so long ago was the top grosser in the IPL for the Delhi franchise, failed to inspire enough confidence among the team owners — though he may eventually be lapped up by any of the teams for his wealth of experience and brand value.
The other stars who went unsold are Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara, New Zealanders Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum, South Africans Dale Steyn and Hashim Amla.
Mumbai Indians, meanwhile, bought back Sri Lankan veteran Lasith Malinga for Rs20 million while veteran Ishant Sharma was bought for Rs11 million by Delhi Capitals.