The mini-auction for the 2023 edition of the Indian T20 League concluded yesterday with all 10 franchises exhausting their purses to bring in talented players to their teams.
Overseas players commanded all the attention of franchises, claiming seven of the top 10 spots in the top buys list. The record for the most expensive purchase in the history of the Indian T20 League was broken yesterday with Team Punjab signing Sam Curran for ₹18.5 crores.
With the teams now confirming their final squads for the next edition of the Indian T20 League, let’s take a look at five players who hit the jackpot during the mini-auction.
Sam Curran – ₹18.5 crores
Even before the mini-auction, bids for Sam Curran and Cameron Green were expected to go deep.
The introduction of the Impact Player rule by the BCCI can impact the overall role of all-rounders in cricket, but it did not take away the demand for quality all-rounders among the franchises at least for the next edition of the Indian T20 League.
Curran has been in superb form throughout the year with England, helping the Three Lions win the T20 World Cup earlier this year with his brilliance in the death overs. He claimed both the Player of the Match in the final and the Player of the Tournament awards in Australia and has also been good with the bat for England with a strike rate of 154.69 since 2020.
Team Punjab entered the auction at ₹13.5 crores with Team Mumbai and Team Rajasthan initially showing interest apart from Team Chennai. But Team Punjab decided to go all the way to sign the English all-rounder, taking his price past Chris Morris’ record price of ₹16.25 crores at the 2021 auction.
With Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone, and Sam Curran now in the squad, Team Punjab are relying on players from the World Champion team to claim their maiden Indian T20 League trophy.
Cameron Green – ₹17.5 crores
Another player who was widely expected to fetch a high price, Cameron Green, saw a fierce bidding war among the franchises.
With Sam Curran going to Team Punjab earlier, Team Mumbai desperately needed to sign the Australian all-rounder and did not hesitate to purchase the 23-year-old for 10 times his asking price.
Cameron Green attracted the attention of franchises when he toured India for the T20I series this year. He finished the series with 118 runs, which included two half-centuries at a strike rate of 214.54.
What makes Cameron Green valuable for Team Mumbai is his ability to bat at the top of the order, and he can bowl at speeds exceeding 140kmph.
For Team Mumbai, Cameron Green is expected to play the role Hardik Pandya played in the team before his transfer to Team Lucknow. With the Indian T20 League now going back to the home-away model, Cameron Green will be a highly valuable asset on the bouncy deck of the Wankhede.
Ben Stokes – ₹16.25 crores
With Team Chennai doing a complete overhaul of their team after their poor campaign in the 2022 edition of the Indian T20 League, the bid for Ben Stokes was perhaps unsurprising.
The English captain fetched ₹16.25 crores, becoming the third-highest purchase ever in the history of the Indian T20 League. Ben Stokes has a decent record in the Indian T20 League, scoring 920 runs at a strike rate of 134.5 in 42 innings.
For Team Chennai, Ben Stokes represents 80-per cent of their purse at the auction, since they had to fend off a fierce bidding war from Team Bangalore and Team Rajasthan for the English all-rounder.
The decision would have come after thorough deliberation as Team Chennai are eager to send off their talisman Mahendra Singh Dhoni with a victorious campaign. That might mean appointing Ben Stokes as the captain of the team, with the star’s credentials for an aggressive approach to the game receiving a boost after the conclusion of the English tour of Pakistan.
Nicholas Pooran – ₹16 crores
Perhaps the most surprising player on the list, there are concerns that Team Lucknow might have spent more than what is required to sign Nicholas Pooran to their team. The former West Indies white-ball captain is a serious talent with the bat but has not shown the kind of consistency that demands such a high price in the Indian T20 League.
Team Lucknow needed a middle-order batsman heading into the auction, and with Sam Curran going to Team Punjab, the franchise was willing to go deep into the bidding war with Team Delhi for the Trinidadian cricketer.
The ability of Nicholas Pooran to consistently fetch a high price in the auction over the last three seasons has been due to his ability to hit big sixes. In the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament, he became the Player of the Tournament by scoring 345 runs at an extraordinary strike rate of 234.69.
But apart from a successful stint as a wicketkeeper when West Indies toured India in 2021, Nicholas Pooran doesn’t have any major accomplishments in the shortest format of the game. It remains to be seen if the investment will earn sufficient returns for Team Lucknow.
Harry Brook – ₹13.25 crores
Another English player to hit the jackpot, Harry Brook became the highest-paid English batsman in the history of the Indian T20 League as Team Hyderabad forked out ₹13.25 crores to sign him.
This will be Harry Brook’s first season in the Indian T20 League, with the 23-year-old making his international breakthrough only this year.
Harry Brook attracted the attention of the franchises with his superb display with the bat when England toured Pakistan before the T20 World Cup, where he scored 238 runs at a strike rate of 163.01 to be adjudged the Player of the Tournament. He also scored three centuries in the recently concluded Test series, showing his mastery of the subcontinental tracks.
Team Hyderabad were forced to rebuild their team from the ground up going into the auction, and the franchise went big on securing the services of Harry Brook and Mayank Agarwal. Both players are expected to open regularly for the team in the next season.
With Adil Rashid, Heinrich Klaasen, and Akeal Hosein now in the team, Team Hyderabad could expect a better season than their disastrous campaign last year.
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