Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions are often a major initial stepstone for the team to assemble the best possible team to stake their claim for the widely contested trophy.
Franchises plan for months, conduct mock auctions, and prepare backup contingency plans should their first-choice option go out of hand, to bring another edge to their squad or even potentially fill out a few gaps.
The timely occurrence of the auctions also allows franchises to rectify their mistakes. The IPL conducted a mega-auction in 2022, prior to which the teams were allowed to retain a maximum of four players with the rest of the squad being sent back into the auction pool, that too without the Right to Match (RTM) card.
The prospect of mega-auction largely breaches the core forged by the franchises, which proves to be a major win for the others. Several teams cashed in on the opportunity and went all in at the mega auctions, especially those franchises who had a larger purse by only retaining a couple of players.
On the other hand, the recently concluded IPL 2023 mini-auction brought forward a different dynamic altogether. With a glaring lack of big names, franchises went berserk over the few rightly recognizable names, along with the fact that there was supply for the demand.
Overseas all-rounders were the takeaway with their mind-boggling price tags, but the questionable tactics of some franchises on the auction table also shared the spotlight.
Here are the three franchises whose IPL 2023 mini-auction did not mirror their brighter outing from 2022.
The Punjab Kings (PBKS) released their skipper Mayank Agarwal and a couple of other huge signings in the form of Odean Smith and Ishan Porel to end up with the second-heaviest purse.
Heading into the IPL 2023 mini-auction with ₹32.25 crore to splurge, the northernmost franchise spent more than half of it on Sam Curran, who ended up being the most expensive player in the history of the competition.
However, what they did with the remaining money is a questionable aspect of their auction strategy. With still a relatively comfortable amount left in their kitty, the side were relatively quiet at the table.
They acquired the services of Sikandar Raza (₹50 lakh), Harpreet Bhatia (₹40 lakh), Vidwath Kaverappa (₹20 lakh), Mohit Rathee (₹20 lakh), Shivam Singh (₹20 lakh). Barring the English all-rounder, no player crossed the ₹1 crore mark.
A major revamp was expected from the 2014 IPL finalists considering that they changed their head coach from Anil Kumble to Trevor Bayliss well before the auction.
In comparison, PBKS were almost on point during the 2022 mega-auctions, roping in key players like Shikhar Dhawan, Jonny Bairstow, Kagiso Rabada, and Liam Livingstone.
The two-time champions’ strategy coming into the auction was as bizarre as they come. They acquired the services of Shardul Thakur, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, and Lockie Ferguson during the trade window, released several members of their squad that finished seventh in IPL 2022, and headed into the event with a paltry purse of ₹7 crore and plenty of spots to fill.
KKR were understandably mute for the major portion of the auction and sprung to life in the latter portion. Out of their eight acquisitions at the auction, six were bought for the base price. The Knight Riders endured little resistance to confirming the signings of Narayan Jagadeesan and Vaibhav Arora. They roped in the Bangladeshi duo of Litton Das and Shakib Al Hasan during the fag end of the auctions, in the second round of the accelerated stage.
The lack of depth as well as the quality of bench players poses an obvious issue for the side, who stretched their squad to 22 members courtesy of some cheap signings. Newly appointed coach Chandrakant Pandit will have to work around what he has in his grasp to avoid a second consecutive finish outside the playoffs.
In comparison, the side had a much better outing at the mega auction, where they brought in their skipper Shreyas Iyer, Pat Cummins, and Nitish Rana.
The three-time IPL finalists went heavy on their scouting, trusting their initial instincts to acquire a slew of domestic talents. They went into the auction having not made too many releases, leading to a meager purse to act on.
The Faf du Plessis-led side added overseas players like Reece Topley and Will Jacks to their ranks at the IPL 2023 mini-auction. While the franchise did not have any gaping gaps to fill following the retention process, one cannot help but feel that the acquisitions they have made lack impact.
RCB have fallen down the same rabbit hole before in terms of their overseas signings. As far as their domestic signings are concerned, it always proves to be either a hit or a miss, considering that the majority of the released players were domestic players, who barely availed a chance.
Moreover, RCB had a stellar outing at the mega-auctions last year, making their recent exploits rather diminished, even taking the purse out of the equation.
Which franchise do you think failed to live up to their performances from the IPL 2022 mega-auction during the 2023 mini-auction? Let us know what you think.
Also Read: 5 finishers who can break into the Indian team with a good IPL 2023 season
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