IPL auction is the most captivating event in a cricket calendar since it’s an introduction for the inaugural season of the league in 2008. While it is a normal sight to witness international stars getting huge bids at the auction table, for an uncapped or lesser-known player to meet the same fate calls for attention and he rightly hogs the requisite limelight. The concerned player has to now live up to the expectations and justify the price-tag bestowed by the franchise owners.
Though there is added responsibility and pressure, the fact that the player will share the dressing room with the best in the business and even play alongside them calls for some relief and happiness. The history of the league has seen several such players but we will be focusing on the top 5 in this particular article. In the below piece, we look at 5 expensive uncapped players in the history of the IPL:
1. Krishnappa Gowtham – INR 9.25 crores
Having endured a mediocre season for the KXIP in IPL 2020, playing just 2 games, scoring 42 runs and picking a single wicket, only a few out there would have expected Gowtham to get a bid more than his base price at auction for IPL 2021.
To everyone’s amazement, CSK and SRH got involved in a bidding war to avail his services and finally, it was the former who bought him for a whopping price of INR 9.25 crores, becoming the most expensive uncapped player in the history of the league.
Considering that CSK needed a spin-bowling all-rounder, they didn’t shy away from going all-out and thus, possess him among their ranks. It will be upon the Karnataka all-rounder now to justify the faith and help the ‘yellow army’ win their 4th title.
2. Krunal Pandya – INR 8.8 crores
The elder of the Pandya brothers, Krunal joined the MI set-up in 2016 as a quality spin-bowling all-rounder from Baroda. It was the year 2017 when he grabbed the headlines, scoring 243 runs from 13 games at a strike rate of 135.75, and picking 10 wickets at an economy rate of 6.82. His best score of 47 that season helped MI in posting a competitive total and then winning the final against RPS.
It is this impressive showing which augmented his price during the 2018 auction and MI had no other option but to use the right to match card and buy him at INR 8.8 crores, an amount too hefty for an uncapped player. It was a fairly successful season for Krunal, who contributed 228 runs from 14 games at a strike rate of 145.22 and also scalped 12 wickets at an average of 23.66 and an economy rate of 7.07.
3. Pawan Negi – INR 8.5 crores
A relatively unknown player around that time, Negi going for INR 8.5 crores to DC in 2016 came as a huge surprise for many. With that bid, Negi also became the costliest Indian uncapped player in 2016, raising a lot of eyebrows.
Given his left-arm orthodox bowling and free striking with the willow as a southpaw, DC expected him to play a much bigger role that year, getting them closer to clinching their maiden title. To their disappointment, nothing of that sort happened as the player felt the added pressure of the price-tag and crumbled under the weight of it.
In the 8 games that he played in IPL 2016, Negi could score just 57 runs at an average of 28.50 and picked only a solitary wicket at an underwhelming average of 84.
4. Varun Chakravarthy – INR 8.4 crores
Having created a few ripples through his performances in TNPL and for Tamil Nadu in the domestic circuit, Chakravarthy as a mystery spinner was carefully reviewed by every franchise before the auction for 2019 season.
It is this scouting and planning which resulted in an intense bidding war between CSK, KKR and KXIP to get him among their ranks. In the end, we had the Punjab-based outfit purchasing him for a mammoth INR 8.4 crores from his base price of 20 lakhs.
Unfortunately, he played in just a single game that season before an injury ruled him out for the entirety of the tournament. In IPL 2020, though, he got a long rope playing for KKR and his presence even kept Kuldeep Yadav out of contention in the XI. Chakravarthy scalped 17 wickets from 13 games at an average of 20.94 and an economy rate of 6.84.
5. Riley Meredith – INR 8 crores
A bowler who can bowl express quick and even bounce the batsmen off, Meredith’s impressive credentials were on full display in the recently concluded season of the BBL. The speedster snapped up 16 wickets from 13 games at an average of 24.62 and an economy rate of 7.83 playing for the Hobart Hurricanes.
It is this rip-roaring pace and shattering of opposition timbre which saw him fetch a bid of INR 8 crores from the Punjab Kings at IPL auction for 2021. The pacer now joins the likes of Shami, Jordan, Arshdeep and fellow Australian teammate, Jhye Richardson, forming a rounded bowling attack capable of giving the opposition a run for their money.
With these illustrious bowlers to the fore, the Kings, who have changed their name and logo will be hopeful of reviving their lost fortunes and securing their maiden triumph in 2021.