The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to commence on April 9. The last edition of the IPL, which concluded just five months ago, saw one of the most tightly contested playoff races, with just 2 points separating the fourth-placed Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and the bottom-placed Rajasthan Royals (RR).
Naturally, all the franchises were active in the auction for IPL 2021, which was held on February 18 in Chennai. Teams were keen on plugging the holes in their rosters, but not all of them were successful. With a few franchises having large purse amounts, we saw prices skyrocket as teams attempted to rope in their first-choice targets ahead of next year's mega-auction.
While you can never really predict how a player may do after moving to a new franchise, we look at 3 expensive players from the 2021 IPL auction who may fall short of the expectations that their price tag brings.
#3 Krishnappa Gowtham (CSK - INR 9.25 crores)
The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) had a solid auction ahead of IPL 2021, at least on paper. The one gaping hole in their roster was the absence of an off-spinning all-rounder, which was clearly their priority in the auction. And the 3-time champions came away with two of them - Moeen Ali and Krishnappa Gowtham.
Bought for a whooping INR 9.25 crore, Gowtham became the most expensive uncapped player in IPL history and had a number of franchises after him. However, the 32-year-old is hardly an IPL veteran, having played only 24 games in the cash-rich league, and has rather unconvincing numbers as well.
The Karnataka-born player has a mere 186 runs to his name at a lowly average of 14.3, and has taken only 13 wickets at an economy rate of 8.26. Although there's no doubt that Gowtham is a much better player than the stats suggest, he may remain behind Ravindra Jadeja and Moeen Ali in the CSK pecking order for IPL 2021.
Moreover, CSK are scheduled to play five matches in Mumbai, three in Bangalore and two in Kolkata - none of which are spin-friendly pitches at the moment.
#2 Jhye Richardson (PKBS - INR 14 crore)
Australian pacer Jhye Richardson become the biggest purchase in the Punjab Kings' (PKBS) history when he was bought for a jaw-dropping INR 14 crore by the rebranded franchise.
The 24-year-old fetched such a high fee due to his exploits for the Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League (BBL) 2020. Richardson was the leading wicket-taker at the tournament, finishing with 29 scalps in 14 games and chipping in with a few handy innings down the order as well.
He was bought in to support Mohammed Shami and to provide depth in batting. However, things may not go as planned for KL Rahul's side.
Historically, bowlers who have done well in the BBL have struggled to replicate that form in the IPL. Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Tom Curran were all expected to take the lucrative tournament by storm, but have instead found it hard to even nail down a regular spot in the playing XI of their respective franchises.
Moreover, in India, Richardson will struggle to find the same bounce that has bought him so much success in Australia, not to mention the stark difference in the sizes of boundaries.
#1 Kyle Jamieson (RCB - INR 15 crore)
At the time of the IPL 2021 auction, Kyle Jamieson looked like a shrewd purchase by the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) despite the staggering fee involved. However, after his poor performances in the recently concluded T20I series between New Zealand and Australia, the lanky pacer has sparked numerous debates among the cricket fraternity regarding his hefty price tag.
Jamieson conceded 175 runs in the 15 overs he bowled in the series, and leaked runs at an alarming economy rate of 11.6. The 26-year-old was eventually dropped from the team for the final match of the series, which certainly wouldn't have pleased the RCB team management.
This will be Jamieson's first outing in the subcontinent, and although the awkward bounce he produces due to his 6'8'' frame might be handy, the conditions may prove to be too much for him. The lack of experienced pacers in the RCB squad for IPL 2021 makes matters worse. The young Kiwi will be expected to lead the attack and take responsibility at the death from the onset of IPL 2021.
These factors can severely hamper Jamieson's performance, especially since he's low on confidence and will have the spotlight on him throughout the tournament.