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Here's why Ishant Sharma went unsold in the 2017 IPL Auction

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper Gautam Gambhir and an IPL team boss explain Ishant's situation.

Ishant Sharma
Ishant played for Rising Pune Supergiants in the 2016 IPL season

What’s the story?

The 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) Auction threw plenty of surprises. While uncapped players struck gold, quite a few Indian stars failed to attract any bids. The most prominent of them was fast bowler Ishant Sharma.

Having set his base price at INR 2 crores, the 28-year old went unsold in both rounds. Interestingly, the seemingly inconsistent Varun Aaron, who has been out of the Indian team for a while, was picked up by Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) for a whopping INR 2.8 crores after he had set his base price at INR 30 lakhs. According to the prevailing market trend, Ishant’s high base price became his own undoing at the auction.

“Ishant Sharma shouldn’t have kept his base price at INR 2 crores. Firstly, he doesn’t play for India in T20s and (is) not considered a white ball bowler. He is only playing Test cricket. Ideally, he should have shed his ego and kept his base price in the range of INR 30 lakhs. Varun Aaron gained just because of that even though Ishant probably has more quality”, an IPL team’s top boss present in the auction table told PTI.

The Background

Ishant. predominantly seen as a red-ball specialist, has been a part of four IPL teams including Kolkata Knightriders (KKR), Deccan Chargers, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and  Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS) across several IPL seasons.

The heart of the matter

Representing the newly formed Supergiant franchise in the 2016 IPL edition, the tall pacer played just four games and conceded a combined 148 runs for just 3 wickets. With his favoured length not meeting the demands of T20 cricket, he struggled during the death overs.

Extra Cover: IPL Auction 2017 – 5 Indian cricketers with low base prices who fetched big money

Even former national teammate and Kolkata Knight Riders skipper Gautam Gambhir expressed surprise at Ishant’s base price for this auction and felt that it was ‘too high’. In sharp contrast, uncapped names such as Thangarasu Natarajan, Mohammed Siraj and Aniket Choudhary went for big bucks after setting low base prices.

What’s next?

A part of the world’s top-ranked Test side, Ishant has been preparing hard for the upcoming 4-match series at home against Australia. Though the first Test is slated to begin on Thursday at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, he is experienced enough to put behind the auction disappointment and hit the ground running.

Sportskeeda’s Take

Ishant’s case in one among many which indicate that the game has already moved on to pigeon-hole players for each format depending on their skill set. Even though it is quite apparent that his bowling is more suited to Test cricket, he might be ruing the fact that he had set such a high base price. Going by IPL auctions historically, entering a lower reserve price is actually the best way to start a bidding war between the franchises.

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