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Top 5 IPL Auction blunders of all time

David Hussey
David Hussey
S Sam

The IPL auction is perhaps one of the most entertaining and interesting things to watch for most cricket fans across the world. IPL franchises drop incredible amounts of money in an open auction on some of the world's best cricketers and needless to say, they arrive at their tables after thoroughly conducting their research.

After all, when a team spends crores during the course of two days, then it is only natural that they are careful about their money and over the years, franchises have been able to extract excellent value for their money. However, despite all the research and the scouting, franchises do end up spending large sums of money on players who turn out to be poor investments and look like blunders right from the start.

So, as the 2018 auction comes up, here is a look at 5 of the biggest IPL auction blunders.

#5 David Hussey to Kings XI Punjab for $1.4 million, 2011

The Australian right-handed batsman was one of the titans of the T20 game when the format first became popular and hence, it was only natural that he was rated quite highly by most IPL teams. His comfort against both pace and spin, in addition to his clinical hitting abilities, made him a hit in the IPL with the Kolkata Knight Riders during the course of the first three seasons. However, he was released in 2011 and in the auction that took place in the same year, found plenty of takers.

After a tug of war with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab eventually acquired him for a sensational $1.4 million. However, things did not turn out as the franchise would have hoped for, as Hussey only played 8 games and made his highest score (21) in his first season. He recorded a strike rate of only 101.58.

Things got better in the second season and Hussey finished as their 2nd highest run scorer with 396 runs, but it was hardly the sort of performance one expects from the team's most expensive player. In his last season with Kings XI, he made 235 runs in 12 games and recorded a poor strike rate of only 112.44. It proved to be a misadventure of epic proportions for Kings XI and remains one of the most expensive blunders in IPL history.

#4 Saurabh Tiwary to Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1.6 million, 2011

Saurabh Tiwary
Saurabh Tiwary

The Jharkhand middle-order batsman Saurabh Tiwary was rated highly ever since his heroics in India's Under 19 World Cup win in 2008-09 and following that, he impressed in the IPL with his powerful hitting for the Mumbai Indians. By the time 2011 came along, he had already made his debut for India in one-day international cricket and was hot property.

Tiwary had a base price of only $100,000 but soon the bidding went through the roof as the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kochi Tuskers and later on Kings XI Punjab tried to snag him. Eventually, RCB got him for $1.6 million and it looked like a sensible buy at the time, since quality Indian players are valuable commodities in the IPL.

Tiwary's season, however, turned out to be a damp squib as he failed to get going and despite playing in all 15 games, ended up making only 188 runs. Additionally, his strike rate was only 99.46 and from then on, his stock plummetted. That season pretty much sealed his fate in the tournament and for RCB, it was yet another IPL auction clanger that they will never forget.

#3 Dinesh Karthik to Delhi Daredevils for INR 12.5 crore

 Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik moved to Mumbai Indians from Delhi Daredevils ahead of the IPL in 2012 but it was a year later that he really showed his worth when he ended as the 7th highest run scorer in the Mumbai-based team's triumphant campaign. The Daredevils must have felt hard done by for having lost him and in 2014, they seemed to be in a rush to get him back.

In a bidding war that saw them fight it out with the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Delhi Daredevils eventually got their man for a whopping 12.5 crores INR (more than $2 million).

However, it needs to be questioned whether it was actually value for money at the time since Mumbai had got him for far less. As it turned out, Karthik was a disappointment for the Delhi Daredevils in the 2014 season and scored 258 runs in 14 matches at a strike rate of 125.96. Daredevils cut their losses and released him the following year.

#2 Yuvraj Singh to Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 14 crore

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh

At his peak, Yuvraj Singh was perhaps one of the world's greatest limited-overs batsmen and very few could match his power hitting skills. However, in 2014, he looked a shadow of his usual self. He had just returned from a life-threatening illness and many expected him to remain unsold. However, a furious bidding war commenced during the IPL auctions in 2014.

After Rajasthan Royals fell by the wayside, Kings XI and RCB continued to bid for him. It seemed that RCB had got their man for 10 crores, when Kolkata Knight Riders entered the bidding, but the former was undeterred and Yuvraj was eventually sold for a whopping 14 crores ($2.3 million according to exchange rates of the time).

Yuvraj was added to an already explosive RCB batting line up but he was just not the same player. Although he did score 376 runs in 14 games and had a strike rate of 135.25, he did not produce the sort of match-turning contributions he is capable of. RCB spent big on him leaving them thin in other areas, which is why the move backfired and they were knocked out in the very first round of the tournament.

#1 Yuvraj Singh to Delhi Daredevils for INR 16 crore

Yuvraj Singh
Yuvraj Singh

It is quite unfortunate to have a successful bid for one of India's most iconic players classified as an IPL auction blunder. Consider the magnitude of the problem. Yuvraj Singh had been bought by RCB in the previous season for 14 crores and after he had had a disappointing season, had been released by the franchise. However, that did not seem to perturb the Delhi Daredevils management in any way as they placed bids for him with single-minded dedication.

What was even more comical was that RCB, who had released him from his 14 crore contract, in fact, entered the fray once the bidding had crossed 12 crores. However, Delhi Daredevils, who had a bulging purse that year, finally got their man for 16 crores. Yuvraj actually performed worse in 2015 and scored only 248 runs in 14 games at an average of just over 19. His strike rate of 118.09 was a disappointment as well. Delhi Daredevils finished 7th in the table. A blunder for the ages.

Edited by Arvind Sriram

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