IPL Mega Auction: Punjab Kings open coffers to get Livingstone, ‘futuristic’ MI invest $1m in injured Jofra Archer – Reuters


Bangalore, February 13

The Punjab Kings decided to break the bank to sign England T20 specialist Liam Livingstone, paying him a staggering Rs 11.50 crore while the Mumbai Indians, purely based on a leap of faith, paid a huge crore of Rs 8 for an injured Jofra Archer despite being unavailable for the 2022 edition of the IPL.

Teams went ahead with current Indian players and largely based their decision on the form of overseas players focusing more on fast bowlers, not caring about reputations as Steve Smith discovered , Aaron Finch, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma.

The two-day IPL auction ended on Sunday with Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings predictably making the big payouts with bigger handbags in store while Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals now look formidable on the batting front but slightly short of the bowling arsenal.

After roping in Livingstone, the Punjab Kings also used their deep pockets to pick up West Indies all-rounder Odean Smith for Rs 6.5 crore. He was impressive in the recently concluded ODI series against India.

The Sunrisers weren’t going to be left behind in the bidding frenzy, making a splash in West Indies Romario Shepherd’s CPL for Rs 7.75 crore based on his versatile skills.

Mumbai and Delhi look good batting not bowling ==================================

Delhi’s bowling attack where Anrich Nortje will be partnered with Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed, Chetan Sakariya and Kuldeep Yadav does not inspire the greatest confidence.

Having lost Kagiso Rabada on day one to a rampaging Punjab Kings, Delhi invested 5.25 crore in Khaleel Ahmed, who is known for leaking slog overs and Rs 4.20 crore in left hander Sakariya whose pace is limited to 130s.

The duo cumulatively cost them Rs 9.45 crore which is more than what Punjab paid for Rabada.

Similarly for Mumbai Indians, Tymal Mills, despite his T20 exploits, has been a big flop in Indian terms as he prepares to link up with Jasprit Bumrah and Daniel Sims in Archer’s absence for the year.

“So happy to have him (Archer). So happy to have Jof and Boom doing a lethal bowling attack though next year,” MI owner Akash Ambani confirmed that Archer will indeed not be playing this editing.

MI envision Archer to be one of their legends in the space vacated by Lasith Malinga and stay for the next five to six years and are willing to sacrifice a year.

But the Mumbai Indians’ x-factor player was definitely Australian-born Singaporean international Tim David who was bought for Rs 8 crore.

David, who played for RCB, is a versatile player but best known for his striking abilities. He produced 19 sixes in seven games for Multan Sultans in the Pakistani Super League.

“Tim David is going to partner Kieron Pollard at numbers 5 and 6. Luckily he got a switch to RCB last year so he has the IPL experience.”

Lucknow has best first XI but not so good back-up ===============================

The Lucknow supergiants have prepared a good first XI with KL Rahul, Quinton de Kock, Marcus Stonis, Manish Pandey, Krunal Pandya, Jason Holder, Mark Wood and Avesh Khan but they are lacking in backup in terms of batting reserves.

Manan Vohra isn’t just good enough to have failed the IPL for ages now. But if their first XI clicks, this is the team to watch. It is understood that Gautam Gambhir will talk to sworn enemies Krunal Pandya and Deepak Hooda to ensure harmony in the teams.

Hooda had quit his top class team Baroda alleging that Pandya senior bullied him and threatened to destroy his career.

Rajasthan Royals have the best bowling attack ===========================

The Rajasthan Royals in terms of bowling talent have the best resources with Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal as spinners, along with Prasidh Krishna and Trent Boult as first-choice point guards.

With Navdeep saini backing up, the bowling offense looks good as does the stick where Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson, Shimron Hetmyer and Devdutt Padikkal have quite the punch. The only weak link is the lack of a real all-rounder.

Chennai Super Kings have a solid base again =============================

CSK spent big (about 4 crore) on all-round hitter Shivam Dube but got New Zealander Devon Conway for a base price of Rs 1 crore and little-known Sri Lankan spinner Mahesh Theeksana.

They have their core in place and Dhoni may be depending on Adam Milne to do the job alongside Deepak Chahar, Dwayne Bravo and Ravindra Jadeja.

It would be interesting to note if Dhoni invests his time on young U-19 pacemaker Rajvardhan Hangargekar and builds him as one for the future.

Kolkata Knight Riders seem to be running out of punching depth =====================================

While Venkatesh Iyer is a safe opener in IPL, Ajinkya Rahane doesn’t inspire the greatest confidence and only Shreyas Iyer and Andre Russell look like game changers in the middle order.

While Nitish Rana cost them a fortune, his struggles with quality bowling and the short-pitch stuff are well-documented even though he’s set to open like last year.

Moreover, Sheldon Jackson, a dedicated national artist, does not have much experience and KKR lost a bidding frenzy against Sunrisers Hyderabad, opting for Nicholas Pooran (10.75 crore).

Finally, at the end of the day, they got Sam Billings for Rs 2 crore and the controversial but very talented Alex Hales for Rs 1.5 crore.

But both foreign recruits, the choice of four foreign players becomes difficult in the absence of a good Indian glover.

However, with Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy and Shivam Mavi, they make a good bowling offense and if Russell is fit to bowl, that only adds to the sting.

Gujarat Titans doesn’t look on the best side =============================

The team that impressed least at the auction was Gujarat Titans and their planning for the auction, prepared by Director of Cricket Vikram Solanki, was unclear.

Until the final hour of the two-day auction, the Titans had no keeper in their roster and eventually grabbed Wriddhiman Saha for Rs 1.90 crore, beating Chennai Super Kings. They have also made an offer for Matthew Wade for Rs 2.40 crore.

In their hitting department, they have Shubman Gill, Jason Roy as their only specialty hitters with skipper Hardik Pandya as the most experienced IPL player.

The only other player was Abhinav Manohar before understanding their desperation and choosing David Miller, who fetched Rs 3 crore after going unsold on the first day.

So it was understandable that if Miller was so wanted, then why wasn’t he chosen in the first place.

Overall, this was an IPL auction where most marquee purchases showed a cautious approach by franchises while some, like every year, defied logic. Livingstone after an IPL flop is one such buy.


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