IPL auction: Bowlers win big in batsmen’s game

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C.V. Varun and Unadkat fetch a whopping ₹8.4 crore each after frenzied bidding

The Australians were all but ignored. A handful of Englishmen, Kiwis and Proteas — especially the T20 specialists — were chased. But, as expected, the uncapped Indian domestic players and the established pacers walked away with big cheques, along with their Caribbean counterparts, at the player auction for the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League (2019) here on Tuesday.

This was reflected in the fact that of the 60 players who were eventually picked during the auction that lasted nearly six hours, five of the top eight buys were Indians, including two uncapped cricketers Jaydev Unadkat, who was put back in the auction pool after being bought by Rajasthan Royals for a whopping ₹11.5 crore in the previous auction, attracted the joint-highest bid (₹8.4 crore).

Royals managed to get a price correction and yet retain the skilful left-arm pacer after five teams were involved in a bidding war over him.

Windfall for Varun

What came as a surprise was C.V. Varun, the mystery spinner from Tamil Nadu.

He also fetched ₹8.4 crore, the same as Unadkat, when Kings XI Punjab pipped Kolkata Knight Riders. Varun and Mumbai all-rounder Shivam Dube were expected to be top draws before the auction began.

While the latter was signed by Royal Challengers Bangalore for ₹5 crore with Mumbai Indians giving up after a final bid of ₹ 4.8 crore, the battle for Varun surpassed all expectations.

Surprise package

Along with the duo, three more uncapped cricketers — Punjab’s under-19 wicketkeeper-batsman Prabhsimran Singh (₹4.8 crore), Akshdeep Nath of Uttar Pradesh (₹3.6 crore) and 16-year-old Bengal leggie Prayas Ray Barman (₹1.5 crore) — also fetched huge amounts.

Unadkat wasn’t the only Indian pacer to earn big bucks. Ishant Sharma returned to the IPL bandwagon, with Delhi Capitals buying him for ₹1.1 crore, while his Test teammate Mohammed Shami went for ₹4.8 crore to Kings XI Punjab.

Drawing interest

India discards Mohit Sharma (₹5 crore) and Barinder Singh Sran (₹4.5 crore), too, drew a lot of interest from the franchises.

While Mohit returned to Chennai Super Kings after the defending champion lost out in the race for Unadkat, the left-arm pacer was roped in by Mumbai Indians as a possible replacement for Bangladesh’s Mustafizur Rahman.

Overseas giants

While England all-rounder Sam Curran (₹7.2 crore, Kings XI Punjab) and South Africa batsman Colin Ingram (₹6.4 crore, Delhi Capitals) emerged as top draws among the overseas players, West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite (₹5 crore, Kolkata Knight Riders) lad the pack of six West Indies players who were signed.

Yuvraj Singh was in danger of being unsold before Mumbai Indians picked him at his base price.

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