A few rights in most wrongs

Review of the Indian Premier League Auction 2012.


By Jatin Thakkar and Soham Sarkhel

The 2012 edition of the IPL auction started off in the worst possible note with Sahara, owners of the Pune Warriors outfit, backing out from the event at the last minute. The double whammy however came later when they also decided to terminate their contract as the sponsor of the Indian cricket team ending an alliance which started off in 2001.  One of the main reasons for Sahara’s withdrawal from the auction can be pointed towards the IPL governing council for not crediting the amount of money invested in Yuvraj Singh by the team to their auction purse after the Pune skipper was ruled out of the tournament.

The auction however did turn out to be an entertaining affair with 8 teams bidding for the auction listed players with a maximum spending power of 20,00,000 US Dollars per franchisee.  There were some shock buys amongst the more expected ones while some teams failed to adhere to their team’s requirement. Our earlier report brought out how some of the most talented and impactful players from around the world and India were comfortably ignored by IPL while preparing this auction list. In this report, we bring out some observations from the event’s outcome.

The table below gives out details from the auction, the player’s T20 experience, his T20 Career IMPACT and his failure rate in the format. Based on these parameters, some observations follow below.



Observations through Impact Index:

Herschelle Gibbs’ purchase by Mumbai Indians for his base price of just $50,000 is also a smart buy considering his vast experience in the format coupled with ability to perform big in crucial matches.

Daniel Harris’ purchase has got to be the second best deal in the auction (more so because his price went only 40% above his base price). For $70000, Deccan Chargers bought one of the most underrated but promising batters from the auction list presented. Harris’s ability with the ball also cannot be discounted, especially in the subcontinent conditions, thus making him a value buy.

Dinesh Chandimal’s purchase for the base price of $50,000 was perhaps the most farsighted step amongst the franchisees. Rajasthan managed to buy one of the highest impact wicketkeeper batsmen around the world in theT20 format and should make him a regular in the playing 11 if they are to benefit from their street-smart purchase.

Punjab’s purchase of the vastly experienced Pakistani all-rounder Azhar Mahmood (now a British citizen) is also a smart move considering the fact that he is amongst the highest impact all-rounders around the world. Mahmood’s ability to perform in big match situations also comes as an added bonus for the Punjab side who have in the previous editions failed to deliver during crunch situations. Punjab earlier in the auction let go off a few players in some furious bidding processes during the day but this buy should make them fairly happy by the end of it. Mahmood has the least failure rate as well as highest ability to deliver in crucial matches amongst all the all-rounders purchased. Even at his price of $200000, he is a better pick over the other all-rounders comprising of Robbie Peterson and Doug Bracewell.

Mumbai’s purchase of Robin Peterson and Delhi’s purchase of Doug Bracewell could perhaps counter Punjab’s purchase quite closely though. Both of them may not be as high profile as Mahmood was in this auction, but their ability as all-rounders cannot be contested. While Bracewell has shown better ability overall, Peterson has a lesser failure rate than him.

It is important to note that the prices are most obviously considered alongside player’s ability while ranking these deals. Players like Jadeja, McCullum, and Jayawardene are good impact players and will contribute without a doubt to team’s performances. However, IPL teams do have options in getting competitive players with similar/higher impact at much cheaper rates. At least that was supposed to be their objective given what had happened right at the start of the day when Sahara opted out of the auction.

Also, it’s a general mindset amongst the cricketing fraternity that T20 has become a bastion for the youngsters and that the older players can no longer fight against them. Well somebody seriously needs to put in a word or two to Brad Hogg if that is the case. The 41 year old from Australia showed the cricket fraternity what oldies could do with his scintillating performance for Sydney Sixers in the recently concluded Big Bash tournament and now finds himself playing IPL 2012 after Rajasthan Royals successfully bid for him in the auction. Rajasthan’s belief in Hogg given his recent successes could well be rewarded as his failure rate is the least amongst all the players sold in the auction and his impact, amongst the best.

Now let’s have a look at some of the most unexpected deals during the auction.

Marchant de Lange’s purchase by Kolkata is easily the most surprising deal of the day. Lange’s experience as a T20 player is just one match and he is clearly picked on the traditional system of recommendations and conventional statistics from List A/ First Class matches. He is no doubt a good economical wicket-taking bowler but only time will tell how good his worth would be once the IPL starts.

Andre Russell takes away the crown of the highest price paid for a low impact player in the auction. He was paid $450000 for his all-round ability. On Impact Index scales, he doesn’t cross the Impact 1 on either batting or bowling in this format of the game. This remains the best example of how player performances in different formats of the game as well as some flash-in-the-pan performances, like Russell gave in the ODIs against India, end up having deeper impact on the minds of everyone – both the audience as well as the
franchisees.

Ramesh Powar’s purchase by Punjab could well cancel out Punjab’s smart buy of Mahmood. He is the lowest impact player to be sold in the auction at a price of $160,000, an amount which almost covers the cumulative prices of some of the best deals that had taken place earlier in the auction (Harris, Chandimal and  Bracewell).

RP Singh, Sreesanth and Parthiv Patel’s purchase by Mumbai, Rajasthan and Delhi respectively also were in the lower half on the list of effective deals in the event. Although their purchase as Indian players could be justified (given the limit on involvement of foreign players in the playing 11) the ignorance showed by the teams and the IPL of other domestic talents who have a much better impact in the format isn’t the brightest possible sight for the game.

Now, let’s look at the auction from the franchisees’ perspective.

Hyderabad’s move on buying Harris and Bravo makes them the team to have had the best auction this year although Parthiv Patel’s move was definitely a step down, given his price tag of $650,000.

Rajasthan also had a good auction overall with the purchases of Chandimal, Cooper, Hodge and Hogg. Sreesanth remains a borderline buy considering his periodically sporadic bowling peformances.

Kolkata had a mixed day on the field. Their decision to buy Narine and boost their already strong spinning club was a good one but at the end of the day they ended up paying a tad too much for an inexperienced bowler like him. Narine, who made an impact with his performance in the Champions League last year, is an effective players but was purchased at 14 times his base price. Brendon McCullum, the New Zealand player known for his hitting prowess also was a touch expensive for his $900,000 tag. Their third buy of Merchant de Lange, who has only one T20 match to his credit, is also an unknown commodity to justify.

Delhi’s buy of Andre Russell remains one of the worst in this edition while Jayawardene’s 1.4 million tag is also debatable considering the abundance of T20 talent around.

Bracewell’s purchase however gives them a positive push.

Chennai bought only Jadeja, good enough to wipe away their limit in the auction, and remained inactive for the rest of the event. Yet, they had a better event than Kolkata and Delhi overall given Jadeja’s capability to bat as well as bowl and his T20 experience.

Bangalore, Punjab and Mumbai had a mediocre event overall.

It’s a shame that players like Mendis, Simmons, Kevin O’Brien etc went unsold as they were amongst the high-impact players available at much lower base prices. Given the stage an event like IPL nurtures, the administrators do have a great opportunity in raising the best platform for the newest form of the game by bringing together the highest-impact players in the auctions. This will not only increase the level of cricket but will also be profitable to all the investors investing in IPL but then when money enters you should not talk about cricket. Hush hush.


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