NEW DELHI: The IPL 2023 auction was centred around one man, Sam Curran. The 24-year-old Englishman, the best player of the T20 World Cup, was the ‘prized object of all the leading teams all digging deep into their pockets in an attempt to buy him. After three hours of hectic parleys, Curran became the most expensive buy in the history of the IPL with Punjab Kings spending a whopping 18.5 crore on him.
Punjab Kings’ bettered the previous best of Rs 16.25 crore that Rajasthan Royals had spent to grab South African all-rounder Chris Morris in the 2021 edition.
Cameroon Green was the second-highest earner, with the Aussie all-rounder fetching Rs 17.5 crore from Mumbai Indians. This was a bit unexpected since Green had not done anything big at the international level.
He himself was a bit surprised at the price he went for and is on record having said: “I am pinching myself that this has all happened. It’s such a weird feeling watching an auction for yourself. I can’t believe how nervous I was.”
England Test skipper Ben Stokes was the third-highest gainer, fetching Rs 16.25 crore from CSK which pipped Kolkata Knight Riders. Interestingly, the Indian players didn’t go for much in this auction. Mayank Agarwal was the highest sold when he was bought by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 8.25 crore. His base price was set at Rs 1 crore.
The 31-year-old Karnataka batsman, whom the Hyderabad franchise bought from Punjab Kings, was happy at him going for the biggest purchase. “It’s always a privilege to be a part of Sunrisers. I had a good stint at Punjab and now look forward to my innings with them,” he said.
Mukesh Kumar became the second-highest Indian, when Delhi Capitals shelled out Rs 5.5crore to get him.
Another interesting aspect of the auction, which Kochi hosted for the first time on December 23 and 24, was that that India A captain Abhimanyu Easwaran went unsold.
Easwaran, who had replaced India T20 captain Rohit Sharma, was supposed to be a big draw, but he failed to find a single buyer. Indian players had reasons to be ‘let down’ in this high-profile auction.
Even international star batsman Ajinkaye Rahane was sold at his base price of Rs 50 lakh to Chennai Supper Kings.
Asked why Indian players didn’t go for much during the auctions this time, former cricketer Rajendra Amarnath said the onus of the top teams seemed to be on aiming to get established cricketers. “One thing which is clear from the auctions of the last three years is that the leading teams are concentrating on buying reputed foreign players with an aim to strengthen their team,” he said.
Elaborating on this point, Amarnath cited the example of Chennai Super Kings which opted to buy Ben Stokes for Rs 16.25 crore as they felt he was a long-term replacement for skipper MS Dhoni. “CSK dishing out such a big amount for Stokes is a clear indication that they are looking at him as and when MS decides to step down,” he said