IPL 2023 mini-auction: Top five bargain buys; Kane Williamson & Adil Rashid offer great value to Gujarat Titans & SunRisers Hyderabad.
Following a thorough Indian Premier League (IPL) mini-auction, a total of 80 players were sold ahead of the 2023 edition of the marquee cricket league, with 29 of them being foreign players. The teams collectively spent a whopping INR 167 crore.
The tide has always been with seam bowling all-rounders, and the pattern continued as Sam Curran broke all bidding records in IPL's 16-year history, going for a mind-boggling INR 18.5 crore to his first IPL franchise, the Punjab Kings (PBKS). In fact, it was a day of records as the IPL saw its three highest bids in a span of 30 minutes. Cameron Green was sold to Mumbai Indians (MI) for INR 17.5 crore, and Ben Stokes was purchased by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) for INR 16.25 crore. Notably, all three of the auction's top earners were bowling all-rounders.
While teams went crazy for private-jet category players, there were few surprises, and the players were fishing for bargain prices just like a Black Friday sale. Here is a look at the five bargain buys.
Kane Williamson (Base Price: INR 2 Cr, Gujarat Titans)
While we saw players changing franchises and getting a pay rise, the stars in Kane Williamson’s destiny took a U-turn. Kane's salary was reduced from INR 14 crore in 2022 to a base price of INR 2 crore by the Gujarat Titans (GT). The current champions of the IPL secured the services of Williamson at a pretty bargain price and sealed a weak spot in their eleven. We saw in 2022 that the only hole in GT’s line-up was the number three player; they experimented with Sai Sudharsan, Vijay Shankar and even Mathew Wade, only to realise they needed a specialist number three. None better than Williamson who can serve as a sheet anchor for other quick batters to swing their bats around. Kane will also bring his experience to this young GT team and can also be the leader within the group.
Adil Rashid (Base price: INR 2 Cr, Sunrisers Hyderabad)
The number three T20 bowler, Adil Rashid, finally got a bid in the IPL after being unsold for the last three years. Despite being named as a replacement for Punjab Kings in the latter half of IPL 2021, Adil did not appear in a single game. This year, with SRH buying Adil Rashid at his base price of INR 2 crore, the leg spinner will finally have a chance of making his debut in the cash rich IPL. However, the SRH management has always wanted to replace Rashid Khan, and who better than another Rashid. The number two T20 bowler was replaced by number three, but the only difference between the two will be Rashid Khan's batting and his youth, as opposed to the ageing Adil Rashid, who is already 34.
SRH's lineup is quite heavily dependent on foreign players, and Adil just gets added to that list. More than anything, it will be interesting to see how SRH accommodate Rashid in the line-up. The sticky, slow wicket in Visakhapatnam will for sure suit Rashid and his leg spin, which is a given thing on any day.
Odean Smith (Base Price: INR 50 Lakhs, Gujarat Titans)
Another smart pick by the Gujarat Titans think tank was the hard-hitting bowling all-rounder Odean Smith, whom they bought like goods at a flea market for a lightning deal price of INR 50 lakhs. Gujarat, who already have the top and middle orders kind of sorted already with the likes of Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya, David Miller and Rahul Tewatia, were on the lookout for a seam bowling all-rounder, which they filled pretty smartly by picking in Odean Smith.
Smith received a lot of attention prior to IPL 2022 mega-auction due to his antics against India in the T20 series held just before that event, and he was eventually brought in for a whopping INR 6 crore by Punjab Kings. Smith had a below-average IPL 2022, scoring just 51 runs in six innings at a strike rate of 115.90. Even with the ball, Smith was fairly poor, taking just six wickets in an equal number of innings. Though Smith did not fit into Punjab’s scheme of things, the fact that Gujarat have a seam bowling all-rounder will boost their chances of defending their title successfully.
Daniel Sams (Base price: INR 40 lakhs, Lucknow Super Giants)
Australia’s hard-hitting bowling all-rounder Daniel Sams found a new home in the IPL auction, with the Lucknow Super Giants securing his services for a mere INR 40 lakhs. The left-arm bowler was a part of Mumbai Indians' setup in 2022, and had a more than decent outing, including one memorable match against the Gujarat Titans where he managed to defend 8 runs off the final over.
Sams was also the second-highest wicket-taker for MI with 13 wickets in 11 innings at a decent economy rate of 8.80. The right-hand pinch hitter failed with the bat as he could only manage 38 runs in 11 innings. Lucknow Super Giants, who were overly reliant on Holder as the seam bowling all-rounder, now have a new go-to man in the name of Daniel Sams. With the power-hitting strategy of LSG, Sam will perfectly fit the bill, with handy batting lower down the order and a good death bowler in the absence of Dushmanth Chameera.
Phil Salt (Base price: INR 2 Cr, Delhi Capitals)
England players were the most wanted contenders in IPL 2023 mini-auction. Unlike his countrymen, however, Phil Salt was acquired by Delhi Capitals for a pittance at INR 2 crores. Salt would be a pure, out-and-out hard-hitting middle order batter for the Capitals, who already have Rishabh Pant as their keeper.
Salt, who has a blistering strike rate of 161.2 in 13 T20 matches, has scored 245 runs in the format. His exploits in the PSL haven’t been that great either, with just 49 runs in 7 innings; however, his striking ability will be critical with respect to Delhi Capitals' bleak middle order, which has only Rishabh Pant and Rovman Powell. The small ground at Arun Jaitley Stadium will further help Salt, who has the ability to clear the ropes with his unorthodox shots.
Apart from the above set of players, Narayanan Jagadeesan who was bought for INR 90 lakhs by KKR, Sikandar Raza who was bought for INR 50 lakhs by Punjab Kings were notably the players available under the deal of the day sale.