Gayle has ensured a positive change in RCB
Bikash Mohapatra takes a look at players who were bought comparatively cheap but are proving priceless for their teams in the fourth edition of the IPL.
The selection of foreign players in the Indian Premier League has always been a critical issue.
With just four overseas players being allowed per team it becomes all the more important for teams to pick players who will have a positive influence on the end result.
On the other hand, a wrong purchase affects the team's prospects to a large extent. The franchisees, therefore, need to be sensible while making their choices.
However, that is seldom the case.
On most occasions, the franchisees go for reputation while in some cases they fall prey to hype. If one takes a look at the ongoing edition, Cameron White and Daniel Christian seem perfect examples of the two cases, Deccan Chargers being the team in both cases.
While White got a whopping US $1.1 million -- to a base price of US $300, 000 -- palpably based on reputation, Christian was bought for a whopping US $900, 000 -- as opposed to his base price of just US $55, 000 -- largely owing to hype. Suffice to say, both the players have failed to live up to expectations.
And this hasn't happened for the first time. Remember, Tyron Henderson (US $650,000, Rajasthan Royals) and Mashrafe Mortaza (US $600,000, Kolkata Knight Riders)?
On the other hand, there are also examples of players who get a raw deal despite their calibre, largely owing to indifferent form or lack of hype.
However, when the opportunity knocks, it is these players who prove right the axiom 'form is temporary but class is permanent'.
With a bulk of the matches in the fourth edition of the IPL over, rediff.com takes a look at a few players who were bought cheap but have proved priceless for their teams. Coming at a compratively low cost, these players have served their franchisees the most.
Chris Gayle (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Is there a better name to start this list?
The former West Indies captain was surprisingly cold-shouldered by the franchisees during the auction in January.
However, an injury to Dirk Nannes meant Royal Challengers Bangalore spent no time in drafting him as the replacement. There was a glitch though. Gayle, who had a base price of US $400,000, couldn't be bought for more than US $650,000 (as that was Nannes's purchase price).
Nonetheless, the Caribbean took his second chance and has delivered. And how.
An aggregate of 398 runs in six matches, with an average of 99.50 and a whopping strike rate (199). Besides, he has also become the first player ever to register two hundreds in one edition. He has also claimed six wickets while bagging the man-of-the-match honours thrice in the five matches he figured in.
Moreover, RCB have not lost a match since his arrival. Need we say more?
Image: Chris Gayle
Hussey an invaluable addition for Chennai
Michael Hussey (Chennai Super Kings)
One of the best batsmen ever to have graced the game, Michael Hussey fetched a surprisingly low price of US $425,000 -- against a base price of US $200,000 -- in the auction.
Mr Cricket though has proved that he is an invaluable addition to his team.
An aggregate of 388 runs (@ 55.42) in nine matches means he is second in the race for the Orange Cap and his side very much in contention to defend their title.
The Australian has so far registered three fifties and two 40-plus totals and been named the man-of-the-match in three of the nine matches he has played in.
Image: Michael Hussey
Vettori is RCB's most economical bowler
Daniel Vettori (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
An asset with both the ball and bat, the former New Zealand skipper went for only US $550, 000 -- against a base price of US $400,000 -- in the auction.
Named captain of RCB, Daniel Vettori has thus far led his team admirably and kept them in contention for a last four berth.
He also happens to be their most economical bowler, capturing seven wickets (@ 5.58).
Image: Daniel Vettori
Marsh is back in form
Shaun Marsh (Kings XI Punjab)
The Orange Cap winner in the inaugural edition, Shaun Marsh paid the price for poor form in subsequent editions.
Nonetheless, his original team, Kings XI Punjab, retained him at his base price (US $400,000) and the Australian has expressed his gratitude with a slew of good efforts with the blade.
An aggregate of 324 runs in nine innings, with three half-centuries, marks a return to form for the 27-year-old.
The same can't be said about his team though.
Kings XI Punjab require a herculean effort to stand any chance of reaching the play-offs.
The comprehensive win against Mumbai Indians might just have given them the fillip they required.
Image: Shaun Marsh
Hopes has delivered for Delhi
James Hopes (Delhi Daredevils)
Delhi Daredevils splurged US $1.9 million on Irfan Pathan, US $750,000 for Umesh Yadav and US $375,000 on Ashok Dinda, three players who have groslly underperformed in the tournament.
However, James Hopes, purchased for US $350,000 only, is the most impressive of the lot.
The 32-year-old has so far aggregated 181 runs in six innings, inclusive of two fifties, and also claimed seven wickets.
Suffice to say, if there is a second player, besides skipper Virender Sehwag, who has impressed for Delhi this season, it is the Australian.
No wonder he has been selected as captain of the Daredevils - with Sehwag ruled out with an injury - for the remainder of the tournament.
Image: James Hopes
No doubting this Thomas
Alfonso Thomas (Pune Warriors India)
The find of the tournament, as far as the Pune Warriors is concerned.
An unknown entity coming into the tournament, Alfonso Thomas was purchased for just US $100,000 -- as opposed to a base price of US $50,000.
The South African has been impressive with the ball for Pune thus far, picking 10 wickets in nine matches.
In what has otherwise been a disappointing inaugural campaign, if there is a player on whom captain Yuvraj Singh can bank upon, it is Thomas.
Image: Alfonso Thomas
Harris has been Punjab's best bowler
Ryan Harris (Kings XI Punjab)
Again a bright spot in an otherwise dull campaign.
Ryan Harris followed compatriot Adam Gilchrist from Deccan Chargers to Kings XI Punjab and settled down quickly.
The 31-year-old, bought for US $325,000 -- against a base price of US $200,00, has repaid in the same coin, picking nine wickets thus far.
Suffice to say he has been the best bowler for the Punjab side, picking up 10 wickets thus far.
In the final analysis, names like Brendon McCullum (Kochi Tuskers Kerala for US $475,000, Morne Morkel (Delhi Daredevils for US $475,000), Brad Hodge (Kochi Tuskers Kerala for US $425,000) and Eoin Morgan (Kolkata Knight Riders for US $350,000) could have also made it to this list had they been a tad more consistent.
However, their only had sporadic success.
Image: Ryan Harris