They say T20 these days is the shortest possible route to fame in Cricket arena. Ask KP and surely he would be the first one to approve of that. Six months back, we knew only one KP in Cricket who also made huge statements last season in IPL. This time we have Kieron Pollard. Just one innings played in Champions League was enough for him to fetch two major contracts this year, KFC T20 Big Bash and now IPL. He was just like a hot cake, everyone wanted to have a piece of him. We saw no less than 4 teams in tie braker and finally Mumbai Indians bagged the prize for no less than 750,000 USD. Some say that he is perfect ambassador for the T20 game and is a crowd puller. No doubt he is. But only time will well if he is worth 750,000 USD.
KP was no surprise this auction. Every one expected that he would fetch good amount. Shane Bond (750,000 USD), Kemar Roach(720,000 USD) and Wayne Parnell(610,000 USD) were real surprises. Shane Bond has years of experience behind him and is a class act but he is injury prone. KKR have taken a big gamble this year again investing so much in an injury prone fast bowler. Kemar Roach made some news last month when he injured Ricky Ponting’s elbow. He is real fast and his association with Deccan Chargers would do a world of good, not only to him but to West Indies cricket in general. I hardly see any logic in Delhi Daredevils bidding for Wayne Parnell and paying a huge amount as well. They already have Ashish Nehra, Dirk Nannes and Pradeep Sangwan as left arm fast bowlers, not to forget left arm spin bowling from Vettori. He is an upcoming prospect but he won’t provide any variety to the team. I thought this team was more or less settled.
There were no bidders for Brad Haddin and Greame Swann. I think most of the teams had already worked out their combinations, so there was no room for these two immensely talented and fast improving cricketers. I am sure they would fit into scheme of things come next year when there would be more slots available. But the real surprise was that there were no takers for Shahid Afridi. In fact none of the Pakistani players were sold today. Shahid Afridi is a star for this format and is a real crowd puller where ever he goes. With his mean bowling he comes as a complete package. What I interpreted of the situation is that none of the teams wanted to invest in Pakistani players for a year not sure of their availability and get involved in political situations. They played safe. I would have liked to see Afridi, Umar Akmal and Mohd. Aamer in particular this edition. The world is sure talking about them. Anyways, IPL has to live with the harsh reality. There is still some hope for these Pakistani players as there are couple of replacement slots available with some teams.
Rajasthan Royals continued with its preference of Aussie players picking up another surprise 38 year old Damien Martyn and Adam Voges at base prices. Kings XI Punjab got away with Yousuf Abdullah and CSK with Justin Kemp at base prices. But the bargain of the auction was Eoin Morgan by RCB for mere 220,000 USD. He is one of the cleanest hitters of the ball and has tremendous ability to read the situation. As Dr. Vijay Mallaya later said that some times you have to pay heavily for valuable players (read KP last season) and surprisingly, some times you don’t have to.
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Whatever you interpret of these auctions, it is nice to have IPL back again in India.