The 2016 Indian Premier League auction took place on Saturday, as all eight teams competing in the Twenty20 tournament put together their rosters.
A total of 351 players went under the hammer, but only 116 of them could be purchased in a fast and furious exhibition in Bangalore.
Two new teams, Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants, join the IPL this year, while Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad and defending champions Mumbai Indians were out to pick up a bargain.
Here’s a look at the notable buys ahead of the 2016 competition:
INR 1 crore = INR 100 lakh = INR 10,000,000 = $148,000 approx = £102,000 approx. The full list of sold and unsold players can be viewed via ESPN Cricinfo.
Shane Watson: Million-Dollar Man
Australian all-rounder Shane Watson became the auction’s first million-dollar sale, as Royal Challengers Bangalore secured his services with a 9.5 crore offer.
The 34-year-old was an integral part of Rajasthan Royals’ surge to the play-off stage last year, and he was clearly very hot property when his lot came up. IPL revealed the exciting bidding process:
Watson himself was happy to have joined the Challengers, too, as he tweeted his excitement ahead of the tournament:
RCB recruited another former Royal in Indian Stuart Binny for 2 crore, but the most expensive Indian at the auction was something of a surprise package.
Youngster Pawan Negi fetched a whopping 8.5 crore from Delhi Daredevils despite being uncapped.
He could prove a very worthwhile asset for the Devils, though, as his power hitting down the order combined with accurate spin bowling makes him a real threat.
Negi was recently called up to India’s World T20 squad, and that could well have influenced the Devils’ decision. ESPN Cricinfo labelled the bid “crazy” considering his starting price was just 30 lakh:
Delhi were proving very cash-happy throughout the day, as their purchase of West Indies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite for 4.2 crore was also met with a few scratches of the head.
Yuvraj Singh was the second-most expensive Indian at the auction, as Sunrisers Hyderabad snapped him up for 7 crore.
While the third-highest bid of the day, presenter Gaurav Kapur said that 7 crore for a player of Yuvraj’s calibre was something of a bargain:
Elsewhere, Kevin Pietersen was the first player to be put up for auction, and Rising Pune Supergiants locked up the Englishman for 3.5 crore after a bidding war with the Lions.
Pietersen failed to produce his best cricket with the Delhi Daredevils last year, but his experience and explosive power were enough to lure the Supergiants.
It wouldn’t be an IPL auction without some players being left out, and this year’s notable absentee from the squads was in-form batsman Martin Guptill.
The New Zealander had a generous starting price of just 50 lakhs, but no franchise decided to put in a bid. Cricketopia reiterated exactly what the IPL will be missing out on:
Still, there’ll be plenty of big-hitting action for the world to sink its teeth into, with players of the highest order captured at the exciting auction.
The IPL kicks off in early April, when we’ll finally get to see which franchises have spent their millions wisely.