back icon


IPL 2022 mega-auction: Major talking points

Last updated on 13 Feb 2022 | 10:57 PM
Google News IconFollow Us
IPL 2022 mega-auction: Major talking points

Overpriced bids, lack of interest in Indian spinners, Mumbai's waiting game, we look at major talking points from the 2022 IPL auction

The 10-team IPL auction left us with a lot to ponder, including if the tournament is ready for a 10-team season as yet. Here, we discuss the major talking points from the IPL 2022 mega-auction.

Franchises’ unwillingness for specialist Indian spinners

A lot of weird and inexplicable things unfolded across two days at the auction table. Arguably the most bizarre of them all, though, was the lack of willingness from franchises to fight it out for Tier 1 proven, experienced, match-winning Indian international spinners. 

Hardly any franchise was willing to go the distance for the likes of Ashwin, Chahal and Chahar despite only a handful entering the auction with world-class spinners in their squad. It was flabbergasting as they are not just among the best spinners in the competition, but arguably among the best bowlers in the league.

Additionally, Kuldeep Yadav was purchased for a mere 2 crore by Delhi. It was only a day prior to the auction that Kuldeep donned Indian colours.  

It makes one wonder if franchises are no longer high on specialist spinners (both Indian and overseas) unless they can double-up as potent lower-order batters or bring about an air of mystery. Notably, the two most expensive spinners at the auction were Hasaranga and Sundar, both of whom are all-rounders. The ones retained by franchises (Axar, Jadeja, Moeen, Rashid, Narine, Chakravarthy) too are either all-rounders, mystery spinners or a combination of both. 

Teams bank on potential and X-factor 

Heading into the IPL 2022 auction, Shivam Mavi had played 26 IPL games and boasted a middling record, taking 25 wickets at an ER of 8.3. As it would turn out though, he would end up being bought for a whopping 7.25 crore. 

The Mavi purchase was a microcosm of what unfolded across two days at the auction table: unbothered by what had unfolded in the past, teams were willing to splash the cash on players who they thought either had the potential, X-factor or both.

It is precisely why Prasidh Krishna, despite boasting a career IPL ER of 9.26, was chased by multiple teams and was eventually sold for 10 crore. It is why SRH spent 10.75 crore on Pooran despite the batter averaging 7.72 last season and it is why as many as five teams were after Liam Livingstone, who went on to become the most expensive overseas player despite having not consistently shone at the international level.

All the moves mentioned above are major gambles, but franchises have shown that, in their minds, the pros of the risk they are willing to take blows the cons out of water.

Ten-team auction lays bare the scarcity of IPL-ready domestic middle-order batters

Speaking to the host broadcaster on Sunday, Lucknow mentor Gautam Gambhir described the 4.60 crore purchase of Manish Pandey as a ‘steal’. On the first look the statement might sound odd, given the underwhelming IPL record of Pandey, but there was logic behind Gambhir’s claim. 

Because all things considered, Pandey was among the Top 10 Indian batters that went under the hammer. 

The statement above, however, is less due to Pandey’s brilliance and more due to the evident lack of domestic depth when it comes to batting options, particularly in the middle-order. 

The scarcity of IPL-ready domestic batters resulted in franchises overpaying for the handful of players they thought were able to make the first XI and create an impact. Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Ambati Rayudu and Shahrukh Khan, among others, all fetched maddening sums partly due to their package and experience and partly because of the dearth of quality alternatives. 

Gujarat Titans, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad all possessing little to no quality local batting depth raises the suspicion that a ten-team IPL might be a slight stretch, due to overwhelming demand but minimal (quality) supply.

With nearly every franchise reluctant to take a punt on domestic batters to fulfill first-team duties, one wonders if the IPL should, at some point, try experimenting with the ‘five overseas players’ rule.  

Is IPL ready for a 10-team season with four overseas players?

In another aspect of a 10-team auction, there is no perfect team left in the competition.

When two new teams were introduced in IPL in 2011, they were not given the provision of retaining any players. This year, Gujarat and Lucknow secured three players each from the auction pool. The quality of the stronger teams eventually dispersed.

Many teams were not able to retain the plan that insured them solidity earlier. It happened to the teams going with four players already retained. For example, Hardik Pandya’s unavailability shifted Mumbai from the luxury of three all-rounders. They arrived at the auction with an overhauled strategy - picking specialist pacers and future stars with the bat. Eventually, their batting depth was compromised. In a similar vein, Delhi couldn’t regain their core. 

The ones who did - Kolkata Knight Riders - are highly lop-sided. Meanwhile, Chennai retained a bunch only because their group was built around ageing players. 

Eventually, every team has a loophole. Mumbai lack batting depth, Delhi’s bowling isn’t as convincing as before, Rajasthan suffer from insufficiency in all-round options and we can go on and on. 

It has a direct link with an increase in demand without a similar rise in supply. Two new teams translate to a 25% rise in talent with 22 more spots. There are always new faces in the IPL auction, in both overseas and the Indian contingent, but a hike of 25% is a tad too much. 

Consequently, no single team could fill all the slots and many Indian players were overpriced. In the upcoming seasons, we may see a lot more trades than usual to fill those voids. However, as mentioned above, it might be time to increase the limit of overseas players to five per side.

SRH quit at the finish line

Heading into the auction, Hyderabad were one of the two franchises without any premier Indian batter. There were only two options available - Shreyas Iyer and Ishan Kishan. The former went to Kolkata. 

Hyderabad had only bought Washington Sundar when Ishan Kishan’s name was called in the auction. Until this point, it appeared to be a sensible tactic to wait for Kishan. A bidding war between Hyderabad and Mumbai was expected since the latter, also keen on Kishan, was yet to buy a player. 

Jumping late into this bid, Hyderabad pushed for Kishan till INR 15 crore. Mumbai had kept the paddle raised for Ishan since the beginning but at this point, they were caught in two minds. It was clear that Hyderabad had pushed Mumbai to the hilt. Another 50 lakhs could have pushed Mumbai out. Surprisingly, Hyderabad threw in the towel first. Despite possessing the purse and in a more desperate hunt for an Indian batter, they quit a couple of steps before the finishing line. 

It was arguably the most shocking drop out in the auction and the most relevant one as well. Kishan’s absence in Mumbai would have allowed other franchises to reduce the gap between them and the record five-time champions of the tournament. But alas, it was not meant to be. 

Mumbai’s waiting game

Renowned as the smartest team-builder in the competition, Mumbai left many bewildered during the first day of the auction. They picked only four players out of which only one was a certain starter in the XI. When many thought they will be active on day two, Mumbai kept the shutter down for the first half. 

The questions emerged who are they waiting for. They had let go of a few notable players from their core and many other tempting options too. Eventually, they were prepared for this marathon auction more than any other franchise.

Mumbai had identified their picks and most of them were to appear quite late in the auction. In the second half of day two, they bagged the likes of Jofra Archer, Tim David and Tymal Mills. As it turned out, this is all they needed to build a team. Most of their backups were picked after securing these three names. Mumbai had preserved enough energy (read funds) to sprint ahead of others in this marathon.

Considering Archer won’t feature this season and Mumbai invested in Dewald Brevis and Tilak Verma, you will realize they are thinking from a long-term perspective as well, probably farther than any other side. 

Related Article