IPL 2017 auction: From Trent Boult to Ishank Jaggi, 10 players who could prove to be smart picks
We pick out the top 10 smart buys from the 2017 Indian Premier League auction, which saw a total of 66 players sold.
Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) were running on empty after spending Rs 14.5 crore on Ben Stokes. Kings XI Punjab were strangely conservative when it mattered and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) were perhaps the cleverest with their purchases. Firstpost picks out the top 10 smart buys from the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, which saw a total of 66 players sold:
1. Chris Woakes (Rs 4.2 crore to Kolkata Knight Riders): While not a like-for-like replacement for Andre Russell, who was banned due to a doping code violation earlier this year, there's no denying the fact that Woakes was the only other genuine all-rounder available after Stokes was bought. KKR have a strong Indian batting contingent and Shakib Al Hasan at their command, and Woakes can act as a bridge between the top and middle order and the tail, besides giving KKR an invaluable 'death' bowling option. He would have fond memories of the Eden Gardens, where he held his nerve in the final over in the third and final ODI of the series against Virat Kohli and Co last month, giving England their first win on the tour of India.
2. Trent Boult (Rs 5 crore to Kolkata Knight Riders): Having released South Africa's Morne Morkel, KKR were in dire need of replenishing their pace-bowling stock. As the relayed pitches at Eden Gardens have settled, they have tended to aid fast bowling, which may also have been a consideration for roping in the left-arm pacer from New Zealand.
3. Tymal Mills (Rs 12 crore to Royal Challengers Bangalore): Sold at 24 times his base price, Mills was the second most expensive player sold at the auction and the highest paid overseas bowler in the tournament's 10-year history. RCB, who had hitherto been mysteriously reticent, sprang into action midway through the bidding war for Mills, and pipped KKR in the race. With Mitchell Starc pulling out of the tournament, RCB were in desperate need of bowling reinforcements. Mills, who plies his trade as a T20 specialist around the world, seemed like the obvious choice, especially given his recent success against India.
4. Lockie Ferguson (Rs 50 lakh to Rising Pune Supergiant): Having exhausted most of their purse on Stokes, RPS were left scrambling for in the rest of the auction. However, they managed to get their hands on New Zealander Ferguson, who could be a genuine wicket-taking option for a side bereft of quality in the pace-bowling department.
5. Pravin Tambe (Rs 10 lakh to Sunrisers Hyderabad): Tambe is not your archetypal, attacking leg-spinner, who would bowl you the ball of the century, but his defensive skills are equally valuable in this form of the game. He provides SRH the spin option they were scouring for the whole of last season.
6. Murugan Ashwin (Rs 1 crore to Delhi Daredevils): Almost the antithesis of Tambe, Murugan gives the ball an almighty rip. The surprise release of Imran Tahir - the number one-ranked T20I and ODI bowler - might have been a contributory factor in Murugan's inclusion, as Delhi would have liked someone to partner Amit Mishra.
7. Mitchell Johnson (Rs 2 crore to Mumbai Indians): Mumbai's formidable pace attack received a boost with the inclusion of Johnson, whose recent form and availability through the tournament would have been favourable factors. When Johnson last played for Mumbai in 2013, he contributed 24 wickets to their inaugural title win. He may not be an immediate starter, but with Lasith Malinga on the wane and Mitchell McClenaghan returning from injury, he will have a big role to play.
8. Kagiso Rabada (Rs 5 crore to Delhi Daredevils): An embarrassment of riches in the batting department, especially in terms of Indian batsmen, allowed Delhi a free hand in acquiring world-class bowlers. Rabada was one of them for whom Delhi bid heavily. With his inclusion Delhi can field a star-studded pace attack comprising Mohammed Shami, Zaheer Khan, Chris Morris and Rabada himself.
9. Chris Jordan (Rs 50 lakh to Sunrisers Hyderabad): On the face of it, picking him may have appeared to be a bit of an afterthought, but in hindsight it was a move backed by logic. Despite a pool of Indian pacers at their disposal, SRH needed a backup for Mustafizur Rahman, who is prone to injury. Like the left-arm Bangladeshi, Jordan is a slog-over specialist, who brings the added bonus of his power-hitting lower down the order.
10. Ishank Jaggi (Rs 10 lakh to Kolkata Knight Riders): Like Delhi, Kolkata's batting strength revolves around their Indian players. The addition of Jaggi gives them just another option in case of an injury or loss of form. Jaggi was a prolific scorer in the Ranji Trophy for Jharkhand this season and is the leading scorer in the Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy with 1,246 runs at an average in excess of 34.
KKR produced a clinical performance to beat RR by a massive 86-run margin and virtually assure their place playoff berth.
With three playoff spots — DC, CSK and RCB — already sealed, KKR consolidated their position for the 4th spot. Mumbai Indians are the only team still in the race but an impossible task awaits them: they need to win by 171 runs against SRH. If they chase, it's all but impossible for them to make it to the last four
Harshal stressed that Kohli, who has decided to step down as India T20 captain after the upcoming World Cup and RCB skipper post the ongoing IPL, remains a "leader".