The Indian T20 League auctions tend to be a tricky place for most franchises. The teams spend months trying to figure out the best auction strategy, especially heading into a mega one like we saw in 20222. There are numerous excel sheets containing enormous amounts of data on all the players available. The team management does a round of mock auctions before the actual one but most plans go out of the window after just one player is sold.
Teams that tend to stick to their auction strategy are the ones who come out of the hall with smiles on their faces. This year we’ve seen five teams who were class apart in the mega auction and had clear strategies that they executed to almost perfection on the weekend.
We’ve rated these top five teams here in this piece.
TEAM PUNJAB – 9.5/10
Team Punjab were near perfect in the 2022 mega auction. For years now the team has been a bit of a laughing stock. We’ve seen them go through the rebuilding process far too many times in the past years, so overall the franchise had more experience than others in building the team from scratch. But on a serious note, the team management did a stellar job on the auction table this time around.
They had a clear strategy of finding players who play the modern brand of aggressive T20 cricket and their picks in Shikhar Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Jonny Bairstow, Shahrukh Khan and Odean Smith indicates this strategy.
They were the masters at slowing down the auction process and frustrating the other franchises as they took their fair share of time to raise the paddle. They came into the auction with the biggest purse but interestingly were not involved in the biggest bids this auction. They spent their money wisely and picked some handy Indian domestic players as well.
They would have got a 10/10 on our ratings if they had managed to get another Indian all-rounder but would be hoping that the Under-19 star Raj Angad Bawa is that star in the making.
TEAM LUCKNOW – 9/10
Team Lucknow were in their first-ever auction in the Indian T20 League but it wasn’t the first auction for their owner, Sanjiv Goenka and their mentor Gautam Gambhir. The duo has tasted success in the league previously with Team Pune and Team Kolkata, respectively.
Lucknow had a clear strategy of finding multi-faceted players for the seasons to come. Their draft picks were a clear indication of this strategy as well. KL Rahul is a keeper-batter, Marcus Stoinis is an all-rounder and Ravi Bishnoi is a gun fielder along with being a class spinner.
So it wasn’t surprising to see them pack their squad with quality all-rounders. They have bought some of the best multi-faceted players in the world. The likes of Jason Holder, Deepak Hooda, Krunal Pandya, K Gowtham and Kyle Mayers add plenty of squad depth and would help them balance their XI in the season.
TEAM DELHI – 8.5/10
Team Delhi had a packed team for the past two seasons but failed to win the league on both occasions. They had an exciting young squad but somehow, in crunch situations, the players failed to step up.
So to get more experience in the squad and at the same time help complement the retained players was crucial for the team management. Team Delhi’s table saw the most action in the auction as they made some shrewd bids throughout the weekend. They made the other teams buy the players for a value higher than what they would have wanted by always sneaking in with a clever bid and pulling out of the war at key positions.
Getting players like David Warner, Mitchell Marsh, Rovman Powell, Kuldeep Yadav and Mustafizur Rahman at reasonable prices would delight the franchise but their overall bowling department’s quality has gone down from the previous season and that would be a worry for Rishabh Pant’s men in the season.
TEAM MUMBAI – 8/10
Team Mumbai confused everyone with their lack of interest on the first day of the auction. Apart from breaking the bank on Ishan Kishan, Mumbai were pretty quiet throughout day one. But in hindsight, they had a clear plan leading up to the auction.
Owner Akash Ambani mentioned that he is delighted to go away from the auction with both Kishan and Jofra Archer in the Mumbai squad. By saving up a substantial amount of their purse for the later stage of the auction, it meant that other franchises could no longer compete against them for any player. So, in the accelerated part of the auction, Mumbai were able to rope in some quality names and would be content with how their team has shaped up.
After the introduction of two new franchises, Team Mumbai could never be stronger than what they were in the previous seasons but have ensured that they found replacements for all the players who left the franchise this season.
TEAM CHENNAI – 8/10
Similar to Mumbai, Team Chennai were always going to struggle to replicate their championship-winning squad from 2021. But credit needs to be given to the team management as they almost got the same players in the auction.
Apart from Faf du Plessis, Josh Hazlewood and Shardul Thakur, the team were able to buy back their core set of players from the previous season. For the above-mentioned players, the likes of Devon Conway, Adam Milne and Rajvardhan Hangargekar are as close a replacement as they could have gone for in this auction.
Overall, the squad is yet again an ageing one, but who is to doubt one of the most successful teams in the league’s history? The fans would be delighted to see some familiar faces in the yellow of Chennai and their probable XI looks pretty strong to defend their title yet again.
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