Why Ravindra Jadeja was the costliest purchase at $2m
The players' auction for the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League turned out to be a damp squib. With the usual hype and plethora of star players missing, the main action was over in two hours, after which even the official broadcaster chose not to telecast it.
The real action came an hour before the event started; when Sahara Pune Warriors pulled out of the IPL, leaving the organisers and all associated with the T20 extravaganza gasping. The BCCI, though, held their own and continued with the auction with just eight teams going through the bidding process.
Ravindra Jadeja was the costliest purchase, Chennai bidding an astronomical $2 million (Rs 9.71 crore) for him and then reportedly offering another $6 million (Rs 29.6 crore) in the tie-breaker after Deccan matched their initial bid.
Mahela Jayawardene and R Vinay Kumar were the other two players to cross the million mark.
Little-known West Indies spinner Sunil Narine was undoubtedly the deal of the auction; he was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for a massive $700,000 (Rs 3.40 crore), 14 times his base price of $50,000 (Rs. 24.71 Lakh).
Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera also had reasons to celebrate after he went to Mumbai Indians for $650,000 (Rs 3.15 crore) against the same base price.
Only two Indians remained unsold. VVS Laxman, who had a poor showing with the bat in Australia, did not find any takers, and former India pacer VRV Singh.
Here's look at how the teams shape up after the auction:
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Chennai Super Kings virtually broke the bank to get Jadeja
Chennai Super Kings made just one purchase in the IPL Players' Auction last week; it was a costly one, but could prove to be decisive.
Their success in the last two editions was mostly due to the fact that they were able to retain the core of their team, or their top players, over the last four years.
This year, too, they went for just one key player and virtually broke the bank to get his signature.
Ravindra Jadeja was bought for $2 million (Rs 9.71 crore) via the tie-breaker after both Chennai and Deccan Chargers bid the same amount. It was reported that Chennai bid a huge amount in the tie-breaker and beat Deccan by a big margin.
That made Jadeja the costliest purchase in IPL history. The all-rounder was called 'Rockstar' during his playing days at Rajasthan Royals by captain Shane Warne, has impressed with both bat and ball. His recent form in ODIs for India also played a big part in his huge price tag.
One thing is sure: he will definitely add a lot to an already strong Chennai side, led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Champions Super Kings have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to all-rounders, boasting of world-class players like Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Albie Morkel, Suresh Raina and Tim Southee.
Australia's Twenty20 captain George Bailey, seamer Ben Hilfenhaus, veteran batsman Michael Hussey, Sri Lankan spinner Suraj Randiv are some of the other top foreign players.
Squad: MS Dhoni (captain), Suresh Raina, Anirudha Srikkanth, R Ashwin, S Badrinath, George Bailey, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Albie Morkel, Shadab Jakati, Jogjnder Sharma, Suraj Randiv, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Nuwan Kulasekara, Yo Mahesh, Albie Morkel, Abhinav Mukund, Murali Vijay, Wriddhiman Saha, Sudeep Tyagi, K Vasudevadas, Ganapathi Vignesh.
Mumbai Indians now have a cover for every position
Mumbai Indians narrowly missed out on winning the IPL in the last two seasons, despite being one of the most consistent teams in the group stages.
So, this year, they have tried to ensure that they tie up all the loose ends before the tournament actually begins. And the first step in the direction was to get the team composition right and have a cover for every position.
Even before the auctions began, Mumbai had strengthened their squad by adding quality players in wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the trading window.
The team had struggled in the wicketkeeping department, even having part-timer Ambati Rayudu don the gloves, but Karthik's signing will solve all those problems.
At the auction, came another set of players to bolster the squad further. RP Singh and Mitchell Johnson's inclusion takes their bowling attack to another level while Herschelle Gibbs can be a useful option to open the batting with his powerful strokeplay.
Thisara Perera is another interesting addition to the squad and can be handy in Indian conditions.
Left-arm spinner Robin Peterson can also make useful contributions with the bat, which means Mumbai will have loads of all-rounders, both spinning and fast bowling, in their line-up and can alter the composition of the team depending on the conditions.
The batting is already well-settled with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Ambati Rayudu in the line-up. Lasith Malinga, Harbhajan Singh, Munaf Patel, Dilhara Fernando and Ali Murtaza form the backbone of a strong bowling attack.
They will be disappointed if they don't win the IPL this year what with so much quality at their disposal.
Squad: Sachin Tendulkar (captain), Harbhajan Singh, Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu, Rohit Sharma, Aiden Blizzard, Abu Nechim, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dilhara Fernando, James Franklin, Davy Jacobs, Sarul Kanwar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Lasith Malinga, Ali Murtaza, Munaf Patel, T Suman, Andrew Symonds, Suryakumar Yadav, Pawan Suyal, Clint Mckay, Aditya Tare, Santosh Yadav.
Bangalore's biggest acquisition was Vinay Kumar
Royal Challengers Bangalore made their biggest signing before the IPL Players' Auction by getting Chris Gayle on a permanent deal. The West Indies ace was an integral part of Bangalore's run to the final last year, after coming in as a replacement.
This year, though, Bangalore exercised their first right and bagged him before the others could sense a move.
Their major acquisition in the auction was local lad and fast bower R Vinay Kumar, who was bought for $1 million (Rs 4.86 crore). Vinay is in good form with the ball for India in limited-overs internationals and his addition will be a big boost, not only to the bowling attack but also in terms of more local support.
Muttiah Muralitharan came in cheap at $220,000 (Rs 1.06 crore); he along with captain Daniel Vettori can be match-winners on their own if they get going.
Australian all-rounder Andrew McDonald came in before the auction in the transfer window and is a handy option to have.
The team already boasts of proven world class players in Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Zaheer Khan and Dirk Nannes among others.
They will be hoping to go a step further than last year and get their hands on the trophy this season.
Squad: Daniel Vettori (captain), Virat Kohli, Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Mohammad Kaif, Zaheer Khan, Saurabh Tiwary, Johan van der Wath, Jonathan Vandiar, Cheteshwar Pujara, Luke Pomersbach, Rile Rossouw, Abrar Kazi, Charl Langeveldt, Abhimanyu Mithun, Dirk Nannes, Asad Pathan, Mayank Agarwal, Sreenath Aravind, Raju Bhatkal, Nuwan Pradeep, M Gautam, Syed Mohammad, Arun Karthik, BN Bharath, Ryan Ninan, Vijay Zol, Karun Nair, S Thyagaraja, KP Appanna.
Deccan Chargers' purchases don't inspire much
While others went about bolstering their squads in the off-season, Deccan Chargers did exactly the opposite. Letting players of the quality of Kevin Pietersen and Pragyan Ojha go could turn out to be a big mistake for the franchise that won the second edition of the IPL, in 2009, under the captaincy of Adam Gilchrist.
They had pinned their hopes on getting Jadeja at the auction, but it didn't work according to plan after Chennai pipped them in the tie-breaker. Ojha was their top spinner in the last four editions and it was a surprise that they let him go.
Their acquisitions at the auction also don't inspire much. Their top purchase was Parthiv Patel, at $650,000 (Rs 3.16 crore), while they managed to bag West Indian Darren Bravo and uncapped Australian all-rounder Daniel Harris.
Kumar Sangakkara will certainly have his hands tied when it comes to team selection. Ishant Sharma, Daniel Christian, Cameron White, JP Duminy and Amit Mishra are some of the top players in the squad, but they are yet to make their mark with Deccan.
A lot of hopes will rest on Dale Steyn, who will have to shoulder a lot of burden and guide a bunch of youngsters.
Squad: Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Dale Steyn, Cameron White, Rusty Theron, Amit Mishra, D Ravi Teja, Ishant Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Daniel Christian, JP Duminy, Michael Lumb, Daniel Harris, Parthiv Patel, Darren Bravo, Chris Lynn, Ishank Jaggi, Manpreet Gony, Sunny Sohal, Jaydev Shah, Ishan Malhotra, Bharat Chipli, Kedar Devdhar, Ashish Reddy, Anand Rajan, Ankit Sharma, Arjun Yadav, Akash Bhandari.
Delhi Daredevils chose to go for experience
Delhi Daredevils had a disastrous season last year, finishing at the bottom of the table. They could only register four wins and suffered nine losses.
Therefore, in this edition, the franchise chose to go for experience. They have plenty of talented youngsters, but what was visible in the last edition was the lack of experience in the middle order, particularly if the dangerous duo of David Warner and Virender Sehwag departed early.
Now, with the presence of Mahela Jayawardene, who they bought for $1.4 million (Rs 6.80 crore), the Daredevils have good cover in the middle order, in case a wicket falls early, plus Jaywardene is also a brilliant finisher.
The Sri Lankan brings with him the experience of having led his country. Sehwag, who is expected to lead the side, can count on Jayawardene in helping him make quick decisions, which are vital in the shortest format of the game.
Besides Jayawardene, West Indian Andre Russell could turn out to be great value for money, considering the team has two genuine quick bowlers in India's up and coming youngsters Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron.
Purchased at $ 450,000 (Rs 2.18 crore), Russell comes in with the all-rounder's tag; he can use the long handle to good effect. He impressed during the recently-concluded India-West Indies ODI series and also the World Cup.
Doug Bracewall, with a price tag of $50, 000 (Rs 24.30 lakh), is another good buy who is in the side because of his all-round capabilities.
But looking at the overall strength of the squad, one gets the feeling that the Daredevils have too many pacers. April-May normally present ideal conditions for spinners, and pacers could find the going tough.
They don't have a quality spinner. Roelf van der Merwe did a good job for them last season, but he is not a specialist spinner.
But, rest assured, the batting looks well-balanced, with Jayawardene, Warner, Sehwag, and Colin Ingram all capable of destroying any opposition once they are set.
Squad: Virender Sehwag, James Hopes, Varun Aaron, Ajit Agarkar, Travis Birt, Robin Bist, Unmukut Chand, Ajit Chandila, Ashok Dinda, Aaron Finch, Robert Frylinck, Colin Ingram, Morne Morkel, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shahbaz Nadeem, Yogesh Nagar, Prashant Naik, Naman Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Rajesh Pawar, Aavishkar Salvi, Sridharan Sriram, Roelof van der Merwe, Venugopal Rao, Vikas Mishra, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Tejashwi Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Vivek Yadav.
Kings XI Punjab could surprise this time
A mixed bag since the IPL was launched in 2008. They started off with a bang in the first edition and then went down gradually. Their low point was in 2010, when they finished last in the cash-rich league.
Kings XI Punjab purchased Ramesh Powar for $160,000 (Rs 77.77 lakh). The buy can be dubbed as their biggest catch, considering the fact that they were lacking a quality spinner who can partner Piyush Chawla.
Tasmania all-rounder James Faulkner is another good buy, though one wonders why they chose to adopt the wait and watch policy during the just-concluded auction in Bangalore.
Former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood, who is now a British citizen, should be able to add spice to the King's challenge.
Playing regularly for Kent these days, Mahmood has come in as a foreign player at a price of $200,000 (Rs 97.20 lakh). His presence and that of former Australia ace Adam Gilchrist, David Hussey, Ryan Harris and Shaun Marsh gives the Punjab side a formidable look.
That's not all. The local talent of Praveen Kumar, Abhishek Nair and last season's sensation Paul Valthaty only ads flavour. Thus, Kings XI could surprise this time.
Squad: Adam Gilchrist, Love Abhilash, Amit Yadav, Bhargav Bhatt, Bipul Sharma, Pitush Chawla, Siddharth Chinis, Paras Dogra, Ryan Harris, David Hussey, Azhar Mahmood, James Faulkner, Praveen Kumar, Ryan McLaren, Mandeep Singh, Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Nathan Rammington, Abhishek Nayar, Shalabh Srivastava, Sunny Singh, Paul Valthaty, Dimitri Mascarenhas.
KKR can fancy their chances his season
Shah Rukh-Khan owned Kolkata Knight Riders did a turnaround last season, reaching the eliminator round, only to lose to Mumbai Indians narrowly.
Led by Gautam Gambhir, who was the highest paid player at the last auction, KKR is a force to reckon with. They made some good buys at the recent auction, and, on paper, appear amongst the three strongest teams after Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians.
South African Marchant de Lange, who had an impressive debut against the Sri Lankans, was bought for $50,000 (Rs 24.30 lakh). The return of Brendon McCullum should add to the batting power, which already has the likes of Jacques Kallis, Ryan ten Doeschate, Shakib Al Hasan and Manoj Tiwary.
Sunil Naraine, the West Indian leg-spinner fetched at a surprise price tag of $700,000 (Rs 3.4 crore) should add variety to the side that has the likes of Iqbal Abdullah, Yusuf Pathan as the other spinners. Australian veteran Brett Lee will lead their pace bowling hopes.
The squad can fancy their chances his season, but should guard against complacency.
Since the teams can only field in only four foreign players, much will depend on how judiciously they play their overseas players as also the local talent.
Squad: Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis, Ryan ten Doeschate, Manoj Tiwary, Rajat Bhatia, Sarabjit Ladda, Manvinder Bisla, Sreevats Goswami, Brad Haddin, Iqbal Abdulla, Sunil Naraine, Brendon McCullum, Marchant de Lange, Eoin Morgan, Brett Lee, Yusuf Pathan, Pradeep Sangwan, Shami Ahmed, Shakib Al Hasan, Laxmiratan Shukla, Jaydev Unadkat.
Rajasthan Royals capable of causing more than just an upset or two
Rajasthan Royals will be without their charismatic skipper Shane Warne, who retired at the end of last season. However, they have tried to make up for his experience by naming former India captain Rahul Dravid skipper. After all, he made quite an impact last season with his batting.
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson will be the key to their hopes, while New Zealand captain Ross Taylor will have to take charge of the batting department.
Another Aussie, Brad Hodge, purchased for $475,000 (Rs 2.3 crore), also has a crucial role to play in the middle order along with enterprising Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal, who was purchased for $50,000 (Rs 24.30 lakh) and Rajasthan youngster Ashok Menaria.
Then, there is Indian pacer S Sreesanth, who was gobbled by Royals for $400,000 (Rs 1.94 crore). Sreesanth, New Zealand's Jacob Oram and Australian pace ace Shaun Tait are expected to lead the pace attack.
But much will depend on how Brad Hogg performs. At 40, he was called up to augment Australia's spin in the T20 matches against India Down Under and did well. He could come handy on the turning tracks the team will encounter during the course of the tournament.
In sum, the Royals, despite the absence of the great Warne, is a nice all-round side. With the likes of Stuart Binny, Ajinkya Rahane and Swapnil Asnodkar, who have been in good nick in the county's domestic season, they are capable of causing more than just an upset or two.
Question is: do they have enough fire to sustain and go the distance?
Squad: Rahul Dravid (captain), Swapnil Asnodkar, Stuart Binny, Johan Botha, Deepak Chahar, Ankeet Chavan, Aditya Dole, Nayan Doshi, Faiz Fazal, Ashok Menaria, Jacob Oram, Pankaj Singh, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Raut, Dinesh Salunkhe, Brad Hodge, Dinesh Chandimal, S Sreesanth, Ross Taylor, Shaun Tait, Shane Watson, Pinal Shah, Siddharth Trivedi..