IPL auctions, the biggest cricket event in the country created a buzz all around the globe for the last two days. In the end, the auction saw all the franchise build up a new team. 581 players went down the hammer at the auctions in Bengaluru to fill a slot of 182 seats and by now it is no secret that the youngsters were given more preference.
When the tournament started ten years back, veteran cricketers had found a platform to play even after they retire or get dropped from the national team. But now it seems teams are focusing on fitness and young talents in the ground rather than big names. Every season of the IPL awaits with new surprises and this year was no different. Star international cricketers including the likes of Lasith Malinga, Hasim Amla etc. who have previously been bought for huge amounts by franchises, went unsold at the player auction.
Australian explosive batsman Shaun Marsh and all-rounder James Faulkner both have been an important part of their franchises and have been the men behind important victories. But this year’s auction saw both the veterans left unsold even at their base price. In a similar situation, Joe Root and Eoin Morgan, the captain of England’s test and limited over teams respectively were also unwanted in the 2018 auctions and remained unsold.
Team Mumbai Indians also decided to let go of important players such as Harbhajan Singh who played for the franchise since the beginning of the tournament. Although, Chennai picked up the off-spinner later for his base price. Mumbai chose young Bumrah over Bhajji.
Gautam Gambhir was also not retained by his former club KKR where he led the team to victory twice. He was later picked up by Delhi for Rs 2.8 crore but it was evident by the fact that KKR was opting for youngsters and they want a young team now. Yuvraj Singh was sold for his base price to Punjab. Royal Challengers Bangalore did not retain the king of sixes, Chris Gayle. He was later taken by Punjab for his base price of Rs 2 crore.
Ricky Ponting, former Australian skipper and the new coach of Delhi Daredevils, explained why many of the senior Indian players were bought cheaply at the auctions. "This game is getting increasingly difficult to play. Younger players are picking up skills a lot earlier. Young Indians are getting to learn early. As an older player, it's tough to improve. You can maintain, but you're on a steady decline. That might be the major reason," said Ponting.
With a new era of IPL ready to begin, this year’s action and entertainment is definitely promising with new talent from the country ready to take challenges and prove their mantle.