IPL 2021 Auctions: Smith, Christian to Billings, the biggest heists
While there were a few players who probably got a lot more than they merited in the IPL 2021 auctions, a few others were not that fortunate and were roped in for far less than they deserved.
Steven Smith (DC) 2.2 crore
Steve Smith led Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2019 and 2020. He was retained by the franchise for 12 crores in 2018 but could manage just 2.2 crores this time around, which is a percentage dip of 81.67. Surely, he deserved a lot better, especially after recently blasting 127 runs for New South Wales against Victoria in the Marsh Cup, laden with 6 sixes.
Smith did not have the best of seasons last year, scoring 311 runs from 14 matches at an average of 25.91 and a strike rate of 131.22. Still, these are not that bad numbers.
"It was just incredible to get Steve Smith. We are shocked about how he went only for Rs 2.2 crore, but to get a player of the calibre of Smith, it's going to add a lot to our squad, a lot to our balance - his leadership, his batting, his experience, everything. Everyone associated with Delhi is just thrilled," DC co-owner Parth Jindal said after the bargain buy.
"We discussed Smith's name before the auction and we thought that he would go for much higher, so we had thought that if an opportunity arises, we will go for him, but we never anticipated actually getting him," he conceded.
And it's not that the batsman of high class and pedigree can not tonk the ball. Smith struck at over 150 in IPL 2016 and Delhi Capitals would be over the moon to get the former Australian captain so cheap.
Daniel Christian (RCB) 4.8 crore
Daniel Christian turned out to be a great buy for Royal Challengers Bangalore. The hard-hitting all-rounder is not only a capable finisher but gives two-three overs per match as well. He has now been a star in the T20 circuit across the globe for several years and has close to 10 T20 trophies in his cabinet.
In the IPL, he has not been given an extended run since 2017. Christian was in brilliant form in the recently-concluded Big Bash League and picked up 15 wickets at 26.53 while bowling at an economy of 8.84. The 37-year-old also struck 272 runs at 34 and a strike rate of 182.55. He is a value for money buy at just 4.8 crore.
Lukman Mariwala (DC) 20 lakh
Baroda's left arm pacer Lukman Mariwala had a brilliant Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy and finished as the second highest wicket taker in the competition. The pacer pocketed 15 wickets from 8 matches with the best of 5/8 against Chhattisgarh.
He had kept his base price at INR 20 lakhs and Delhi Capitals were successful in bagging the bowler at exactly that price. Meriwala not only has decent pace but also gets a lot of bounce and is a good option to have.
Sam Billings (DC) 2 crore
Sam Billings opted out of the IPL last year but remains a great option. The wicket-keeper batsman had a decent season in IPL 2017 when he scored 138 runs from 6 matches at a strike rate of 132.69.
With Delhi Capitals having let go of Alex Carey, Billings serves as a great backup wicket-keeper to Rishabh Pant. He was picked up for INR 2 crores which is quite a bargain given that he strikes at over 130 in T20 cricket and has hit some serious form of late.
Umesh Yadav (DC) 1 crore
Umesh Yadav had a disappointing season for Royal Challengers Bangalore last year and was dropped after the first few matches. However, he still remains one of the top fast bowlers in India and is a great buy at his base price of INR 1 crore.
Yadav can be expensive at times but his pace and swing up top can provide the team with a few crucial scalps in the powerplay. The pace bowler had a great season in 2018 when he picked up 20 wickets from 14 matches at just over 21, bowling at an economy rate of 7.86. If only he can work a little bit on his death bowling, Yadav can turn out to be a really fine pacer.
© Cricket World 2021