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Worst IPL buys of the past decade — from 8.50 cr Pawan Negi to 15 cr Jamieson

Last updated on 18 Dec 2023 | 08:24 AM
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Worst IPL buys of the past decade — from 8.50 cr Pawan Negi to 15 cr Jamieson

We look at the worst purchases at each auction in the last 10 years, taking into account a multitude of factors

IPL 2014: Dinesh Karthik to Delhi (12.50 crore) 

Though Yuvraj Singh (14.00 crore) was the most expensive player at the 2014 Mega Auction, Delhi’s purchase of Dinesh Karthik for a whopping 12.50 crore takes the cake for the worst signing of that particular season. 

The Daredevils (now Capitals) shelled out in excess of 12 crore for a player who had neither averaged over 40 nor struck at over 140 in any previous IPL season when there were a host of other wicket-keepers available (this was a mega auction, mind you). 

DK went on to have a poor season where he averaged 23.21 & struck at 125.96; Delhi finished rock bottom. He was released in the aftermath of the horror campaign. 

IPL 2015: Yuvraj Singh to Delhi (16 crore)

By early 2015, Yuvraj was no longer a starter for team India in any format but, at the auction table, Delhi paid a scarcely-believable, record-breaking 16 crore for the then 33-year-old. Yuvraj had a good IPL 2014 season (376 runs @ 34.18 / 135.25) and this tempted the franchise to go all-in for the all-rounder. 

They fought RCB off and secured his services for 16 crore, but a dismal campaign for Yuvraj (248 runs @ 19.07 / 118.09 & 1 wicket @ 72.00 / 8.00 ) forced Delhi to pull the plug on the veteran after just one season. 

In comparison to 2014, Delhi had a relatively ‘better’ season in 2015 (accumulating 7 more points) but still finished second to bottom. 

Notable mention: Angelo Mathews to DD (7.50 crore)

IPL 2016: Pawan Negi to Delhi (8.50 crore)

Delhi at it again (for the third season in a row) and this remains arguably the most baffling signing in IPL history. In a relatively big mini auction, Delhi shelled out 8.50 crore for the then-uncapped Pawan Negi who, up until that point, had only a handful of good performances in his entire IPL career. 

Negi, back then, had a reputation of being a very good utility T20 player but that’s all. The franchise spent 8.50 crore on the youngster despite already having Imran Tahir, Amit Mishra & Shahbaz Nadeem in their ranks.

Negi’s signing proved to be a proper disaster as the all-rounder finished IPL 2016 with 1 wicket @ 84.00 / 9.33 while scoring 57 runs at a strike rate of 96.61. 

To no one’s surprise, Negi was released in the aftermath of the season. 

Notable mention: Shane Watson to RCB (9.50 crore)

IPL 2017:  Tymal Mills to RCB (12 crore)

Tymal Mills had only played 4 T20Is prior to the IPL 2017 auction in February 2017 but 3 of those games had come against India in India, 20 days before the auction. And he’d done exceptionally well there, finishing a high-scoring series with an E.R of 7.83. 

This showing from Mills had come on the back of an impressive 2016, where in 24 T20 matches, he’d taken 30 wickets at an E.R of 7.2, developing a reputation for being a death specialist.

All this tempted RCB to splash the cash on the left-armer (INR 12 crore). However, in an underwhelming, injury-prone campaign, Mills managed to take just 5 wickets from 5 matches at an E.R of 8.57, making no impact whatsoever. 

RCB finished bottom that season and decided to part ways with Mills, whom they released ahead of the mega auction in 2018. 

IPL 2018: Manish Pandey to SRH (11 crore)

At the mega auction in 2018, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) went above and beyond to acquire the services of Manish Pandey to stabilize their middle-order. They paid INR 11 crore for Pandey, who was bought for the same price as KL Rahul. 

Pandey had an underwhelming 2018 (285 runs @ 25.81 / 115.4) but not only that season, the right-hander, all things considered, just did not turn out to be the player SRH hoped he would. 

The now 34-year-old played 51 games and 4 seasons for SRH but did not justify his price tag at any point. He was inconsistent, failed to stamp his authority and got dropped multiple times despite being an experienced, senior batter.

He was eventually released by the franchise ahead of the mega auction in 2022. 

IPL 2019: Jaydev Unadkat to RR (8.40 crore)

At the 2018 Mega Auction, Rajasthan Royals broke the bank for Jaydev Unadkat and paid a staggering 11.50 crore for the left-arm seamer, who was a standout performer in the 2017 season. However, Unadkat had a poor IPL 2018 (11 wickets @ 44.19 / 9.65), due to which both parties decided to part ways.

Hence, pretty much no one expected RR to bid for the veteran seamer in the 2019 auction, but in a flabbergasting, head-scratching move, the Royals once again snapped up Unadkat, this time around for 8.40 crore (most expensive buy of the 2019 auction).

To RR’s dismay, however, Unadkat ONCE AGAIN under-delivered, taking 10 wickets at an average of 39.80 and E.R of 10.66.

Unadkat was let go by RR at the end of IPL 2019……..only to be bought again by the same franchise in the 2020 auction for 3 crore.

IPL 2020: Glenn Maxwell to Punjab (10.75 crore)

Strictly logically speaking, Punjab’s purchase of Glenn Maxwell was a reasonable one. They needed a big-hitting all-rounder and Maxwell fit the bill perfectly. Thanks to the luxury of having a massive purse, they went ahead and paid out the (very) inflated price of 10.75 crore for the Victorian.

However, not even the most pessimistic Punjab fan would have foreseen the kind of season Maxwell went on to have.

Picked for his ‘x-factor’, Maxwell ended IPL 2020 with 108 runs at an average of 15.42 and strike rate of 101.88. He was picked for his six-hitting ability but, shockingly, the right-hander ended the season WITHOUT HITTING A SINGLE SIX, hitting just 9 fours in total in the 106 balls he faced.

Maxwell’s form was so bad that he had to be dropped for Punjab’s pivotal do-or-die final group game against Chennai Super Kings. He was released at the end of the season.

IPL 2021: Kyle Jamieson to RCB (15 crore)

Heading into the IPL 2021 auction, Kyle Jamieson, a Test specialist, had played no domestic T20s outside of New Zealand and had a very underwhelming T20I record, having taken 3 wickets in 4 games at an E.R of 7.8. 

Yet, with Jamieson having made a stunning start to his Test career (36 wickets in his first 6 Tests @ 13.27), RCB decided to splash the cash on him, gambling on his potential. They paid 15 crore, an amount that was preposterously high for a T20 rookie.

The gamble backfired massively as Jamieson managed just 9 wickets in the season at an economy of 9.61. 

Unsurprisingly, RCB parted ways with the big New Zealand seamer at the end of the 2021 season.

Notable mentions: Jhye Richardson to Punjab (14 crore); K Gowtham to Chennai (9.25 crore)

IPL 2022: Jofra Archer to Mumbai (8 crore)

Prior to the IPL 2022 auction, the ECB had made it clear that Jofra Archer won’t be available to play in IPL 2022 but will still be available to be picked in the auction (as a long-term option). Mumbai Indians knew this, and they saved up their purse, bid aggressively and secured the services of the speedster. His purchase came at the cost of a quality Indian seamer. 

MI, at that time, felt that Archer would turn out to be a ‘genius buy’ which will benefit them in the future, but the 28-year-old ended up playing all of 5 matches in the 2023 season, in which he averaged 95.00 while registering an E.R of 9.50. 

Archer picked up a long-term injury again, after IPL 2023, and Mumbai eventually let him go on IPL 2024 retention day. 

IPL 2023: Harry Brook to SRH (13.25 crore)

Despite already being all but sorted on the batting front, Sunrisers Hyderabad, at the IPL 2023 auction, splashed 13.25 crore on Harry Brook, who at that time was a far from established T20 batter, with there being several questions surrounding him (not least his ability to play & hit spin in Indian conditions).

SRH’s justification for buying Brook for 13.25 crore was that he was a ‘project player’; someone who would serve the franchise for at least half-a-decade. 

However, the franchise ended up releasing Brook just 10 months later.

After a false start in the middle-order, SRH pushed Brook to the opening slot in a desperate attempt to get him to click. It seemed to work instantly, as he smashed a match-winning ton vs KKR, but that century proved to be a false dawn as the 24-year-old finished the season posting no fifty-plus scores outside the KKR ton.

Brook amassed 190 runs in the season, with 100 of those runs coming in a single match.

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