IPL 2018 Auction : Team owners have bid for performance rather than reputation
Two years ago, had somebody forecast that Chris Gayle will be the last player to be picked up in the IPL 11 Auction, analysts and spectators would have made a mockery of them. Probably the best T20 batsman to play the game and the most destructive hitter of the ball, Chris Gayle was an automatic choice for the teams 2 years ago.
But reality has arrived, and Christopher Henry Gayle was one among the last players to be picked up in the IPL 11 auction that concluded today in Bangalore. Not a single team bid for him during the actual auction process, and he was picked up by the Kings XI Punjab at the very last moment, at the base price.
Team owners did not bid for some of the most popular names including Martin Guptill, Lasith Malinga, Morne Morkel, Hashim Amla among others.
While the expensive names went unsold, some not-so-popular and unknown names bagged huge amounts, as more than one franchise looked desperate. Ben Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Manish Pandey and KL Rahul were among the most expensive buys, and franchises didn’t hesitate in picking some uncapped players too at higher rates.
What does this show? The time has gone when team owners would bet on a player’s name rather than performance. Owners have shown faith in performance and capabilities, rather than bidding highs for the popular names in cricket as used to be the case.
The BCCI organized the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy before the IPL auction, and it gave enough opportunities to team owners to analyse and identify local talent. Owners gained the maximum benefits, as they put their money on players who performed well or showed good signs of form in the tournament.
Compared to previous seasons, team owners have also displayed improved maturity, as they have relied on experience and performance rather than blindly picking crowd favourites. RCB has always been fond of picking crowd pleasers, be it Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh or Mitchell Starc. Their strategy has backfired so far since they failed to click at the right time.
Leaving aside certain players like Ben Stokes, Glenn Maxwell and Chris Lynn, hard hitters have not been picked at very high prices. Rather, teams have shifted their attention on buying the players who can provide maximum synergy to the teams.
This time, team owners and coaches have stressed upon balancing the squad rather than glittering the team – CSK being the best example. You may not find hard hitters in their team, but the team looks solid and full of experience and young talent.
IPL is entering a more glorious phase, and it is a perfect start to a new era – strategies have changed, team formulations have transformed, and performance is highly valued now. Good luck IPL!