Delhi’s approach in the auction made you wonder if teams had identified the gaps in their roster. The 2020 season finalists had several holes to plug. They had the opportunity to fill those gaps given how the auction went. But they flew in an entirely opposite direction.
They filled all their remaining nine slots and ended the auction with nearly INR 10 crore left in the purse. Yet they didn’t address their perennial issue of batting depth. Harshal Patel went at a price where they could have pushed Punjab a bit who bagged him for 11.75 crore. There is no backup for the injury-prone seam-bowling all-rounder, Mitchell Marsh. On the other hand, Azmatuallah Omarzai went at his base price to Gujarat.
They also lost the bid for Shubham Dubey to Rajasthan Royals at INR 5.8 crore when they had the chance to run the Royals thin on their budget.
Delhi invested three of their remaining four overseas spots in the position of the number five batter. And none of them is an ideal candidate for that slot given they come with different caveats.
Harry Brook has his troubles against spin. In the overseas wicketkeeping options, Tristan Stubbs has kept in only three T20s in his career. Shai Hope has only batted in top four in T20s since 2022. The Indian options bought in the wicketkeeping department are Ricky Bhui and Kumar Kushagra. It is a pool of five players none of whom have cracked the code in IPL yet. Also, Lalit Yadav remains the only off-spin bowling option in the squad.
In the pace bowling department, however, Delhi found replacements for the players they had released. They signed Jhye Richardson for Mustafizur Rahman and Rasikh Dar as an additional Indian seamer.
Overall, Delhi’s squad doesn’t provide an upgraded look post the auction. And their fortunes continue to rest on Rishabh Pant’s availability.
DC Likely XI: Prithvi Shaw, David Warner*, Mitchell Marsh*, Rishabh Pant, Harry Brook*, Axar Patel, Kumar Kushagra (wk), Kuldeep Yadav, Anrich Nortje*, Mukesh Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed
Auction Verdict: Below-Average
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Bangalore went into the auction with the task of re-framing their bowling attack with a limited purse of INR 23.25 crore. They went all in it, spending INR 20 crore between four seamers. Three of them are overseas. Two of them - Lockie Ferguson and Tom Curran - have not been reliable bowling options on the IPL circuit.
They were once set to shell out all this money on Pat Cummins alone, going until INR 20.25 crore for the Australian all-rounder. While he would have been a good buy, RCB would have lost 90% of their purse on one player.
Overall, it felt RCB were too aggressive in their cause and lost the way in between. Even in the Indian options, they bought only Yash Dayal with prior IPL experience. Hence, it was surprising to see them not bid for Kartik Tyagi who was sold at only INR 60 lakh. Bangalore had both slots and purse remaining to target Tyagi. In another miss, they have not generated a backup for Cameron Green.
Alzarri Joseph, however, is a good addition with lower-order batting in adjunct. But again, RCB rely heavily on their first XI with little conviction and experience in reserve players.
RCB Likely XI: Faf du Plessis*, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Glenn Maxwell*, Cameron Green*, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Mahipal Lomror, Mayank Dagar, Alzarri Joseph*, Mohammed Siraj, Yash Dayal/Vyshak Vijaykumar
Auction Verdict: Average
Heading into the auction with a gigantic purse of INR 38.15 crore, the auction was Gujarat’s oyster. And what they needed was served to them on the platter by other franchises who didn’t touch their bids.
Bagging Azmatullah Omarzai, Gujarat picked the best like-for-like replacement for Hardik Pandya at a base price of INR 50 lakhs. They needed an Indian pacer and acquired Kartik Tyagi at only INR 60 lakh.
With Abhinav Manohar and Rahul Tewatia in their ranks, Gujarat didn’t need Shahrukh Khan. However, they went hard for him, picking him at INR 7.4 crore. No other team has three options in the complex role of Indian finishers.
Instead of adding more firepower at the top of the order, as we suggested here, they invested their second overseas spot in a fast bowler. Gujarat signed Spencer Johnson at INR 10 crore. The young left-arm seamer from Australia was their most expensive deal of the day, which shows Gujarat were not challenged enough for the players they wanted. Mitchell Starc is the only player they couldn't sign, given they went till a record INR 24.50 crore.
By buying Umesh Yadav, they have assembled India's 2015 World Cup pace attack. Sushant Mishra and Manav Suthar are young pacers from domestic cricket. Robin Minz, a left-handed wicketkeeping batter signed at INR 3.6 crore, is the first tribal player picked in the IPL.
Another Indian wicketkeeper would have covered for Wriddhiman Saha. Yet, Gujarat is one of the most complete units heading into the next IPL season, with backups in most departments.
GT Likely XI: Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha, Sai Sudharsan, David Miller*, Azmatullah Omarzai*, Rahul Tewatia, Shahrukh Khan, Rashid Khan*, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma, Spence Johnson/Noor Ahmad*
Auction Verdict: Very Good
Rajasthan kicked off the auction by snatching Rovman Powell from Kolkata Knight Riders. Signing the West Indies’ T20 captain at INR 7.4 crore, they exhausted half of their purse.
While Powell is a powerful signing, RR needed overseas pacers and Indian batters. Instead, they invested in two overseas batters - Powell and Tom Kohler-Cadmore. They were also going hard for Harry Brook early in the auction. Shubham Dubey, a consistent performer in domestic T20s, is the only Indian batter they have acquired.
Nandre Burger, picked in the IPL for the first time, is their only all-rounder and a backup for Trent Boult.
Thus, RR bolstered their batting firepower but reinforcements in the bowling department were an afterthought. Clearly, they are looking at the Impact Player rule to help them on this front.
RR Likely XI: Jos Buttler*, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (wk), Shimron Hetmyer*, Riyan Parag, Rovman Powell*, Dhruv Jurel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult*, Yuzvendra Chahal, Prasidh Krishna
Auction Verdict: Average
Lucknow Super Giants
Lucknow had the lowest purse in the auction. They didn’t have much to do. The only entry in their wishlist was Indian pacers. They signed youngsters in Shivam Mavi, Arshin Kulkarni and Mohd Arshad Khan.
Picking David Willey alongside Mavi, Lucknow ironed the minor chink in the batting depth. Kulkarni is also a young all-rounder.
Ashton Turner as a backup batter is a Justin Lager pick, based on their Western Australia connection. Manimaran Siddharth, left-arm orthodox, comes in as an additional spinner.
LSG Likely XI: Quinton de Kock*, Devdutt Padikkal, KL Rahul, Nicholas Pooran*, Marcus Stoinis*, Ayush Badoni, Krunal Pandya, Shivam Mavi, Mark Wood*, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohsin Khan
Auction Verdict: Good
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