IPL 2016 auction February 7, 2016

IPL franchises target India's generation next

Young, talented, uncapped Indian cricketer? Hot property at the IPL auction then, as teams look to build strong local nucleus to boost results. A better scheduled domestic T20 competition helps in this regard too

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Franchise officials explain their preference for uncapped Indian players

When Shreyas Iyer outshone Kevin Pietersen at the auction last year it was seen as little more than an aberration. This year choosing young, even uncapped Indian players, over big names became de rigeur. Even as the Mike Husseys and Darren Sammys went unsold, the uncapped Pawan Negi and Karun Nair, and Sanju Samson, who has played only one international T20, and even India under-19 wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant attracted high prices. Uncapped players weren't even part of the auction three years ago.

There are several factors that have made young Indian players hot property in the IPL market. Franchises have become increasingly prudent over the years. There is greater emphasis on building teams around Indian players, and there are only so many of them who are part of the national side. WV Raman, who has worked with Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, feels a good core of local talent was critical to an IPL franchise's success.

"This has been proved by Chennai Super Kings over a long period of time," Raman tells ESPNcricinfo. "You take the teams that have won the titles, starting from RR [Rajasthan Royals] in the first year. You will see a trend of a very good pool of Indian cricketers. Quite obviously the line of thinking is the same with other franchises as well because your foreign players can strategically be used only as impact players."

The most discernible change is that players are no longer picked on reputation. With talent scouts fanning out everywhere, every player's current form is well documented. According to Madhya Pradesh seamer Ishwar Pandey, who was bought by Rising Pune Supergiants, it becomes very difficult to get picked if there is a loss of form. "Aap ko faltu koi paisa nahin dega itna [nobody is going to splurge on you just like that]."

IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla approves of the shift, and told ESPNcricinfo: "Franchises have done their homework on players on the domestic circuit. That has been the USP of this auction. They have picked players who are unknown to many of us. If they become famous or millionaires through IPL, that is good for all of us. It achieves the our basic goal that IPL was launched for."

What has also helped is the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, India's domestic T20 tournament, preceding the auction, which was not the case until now. It was a change that had been suggested by captains and coaches at the pre-season enclave for domestic cricket. "I think that is the right way to go," Raman says. "The Australians have shrewdly organised the BBL just before the auction, which led to many uncapped Australians benefiting in the past. Mushtaq Ali has helped the Indian youngsters showcase their talents at the right time."

A senior scout believes that the trend of younger Indian cricketers being in demand is here to stay. "The younger lot these days are much more confident than the previous generation," he says

Tamil Nadu legspinner M Ashwin, who was bought by Pune Supergiants for INR 4.5 crore, says the SMA Trophy was a "life-altering" competition. With 10 wickets from six games and an economy rate of 5.52, Ashwin was one of the tournament's success stories this year. "It was very, very helpful. To have it just before the IPL is a big boost and a great opportunity to come into the limelight."

The scouts, too, don't confine themselves to first-class and under-19 games. Tournaments like the DY Patil and the Karnataka Premier League are fertile ground for spotting freakish talents. Players like Pravin Tambe and KC Cariappa were first discovered in tournaments like these and this time too three players from the KPL have been picked up at the auction. One of them - Kishore Kamath - was fought over so vigorously that he ended up with a contract worth INR 1.4 crore. He had listed his base price as INR 10 lakh.

Former India legspinner L Sivaramakrishnan, who did commentary at the KPL, says taking cricket to the hinterland has led to the creation of a new pipeline of talent. "There is quite a bit of talent here and scouts like Robin Singh and Praveen Amre were there.

"Not too many states have a state-level tournament, so you get to see some good talent from the districts. This Shivil Kaushik [picked for INR 10 lakh by Gujarat Lions], for instance, is a left-arm chinaman bowler with a very funny action so it's difficult to pick him. And teams look for such quirky bowlers all the time."

There has also been a significant number of matches played at the India A and Under-19 level, especially after Rahul Dravid took over as coach. Even before the Under-19 World Cup was underway, a few franchise officials had seen enough of Pant or Ishan Kishan to have them on their radar.

A senior scout believes that the trend of younger Indian cricketers being in demand is here to stay. "The younger lot these days are much more confident than the previous generation," he says. "They are not afraid to go up to senior cricketers or coaches and speak their mind. More often than not franchises don't just go by numbers, but also look at other aspects like how someone demonstrates character and performs at a critical stage."

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ashish on February 8, 2016, 12:47 GMT

    Mumbai Indians XI - Parthiv, Simmons, Rohit, Rayudu, Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Harbhajan, Southee, Malinga, Bumrah...

    Effective Opening pair(Parthiv & Simmons), Concrete and trust-able middle order(Rohit & Rayudu), Explosive Lower order( Pollard & Hardik Pandya) & a very explossive & effective tale(Harbhajan, Southee & Malinga). Bowling options includes 4 quality international players( Malinga, Southee, Harbhajan & Bumrah) with the all round option of Hardik Pandya & Pollard to finish up with. Looks like a settled & formidable XI not looking too dangerous but it's dangerous at the time.

    Love you MI..... Duniya Hila Denge Hum..

  • sree on February 8, 2016, 10:40 GMT

    KKR XI: Gambhir, Robin, Pandey, Shakib, Lynn, Yusuf, Russel, Kuldeep, Piyush, Morkel, UYadav

    Genuine and experienced openers. Concrete 3 and 4. Explosives from 5 to 8. 7 bowling options that includes 3 super pacers, 4 spinners. Perhaps only side that can field leg spin - off spin - left arm spin all together, talk of variety. Imagine Russel who can win matches on his own at No.8 with no less power preceding him. Imagine if their main bowlers are Morkel, Umesh, Russel, Piyush, Kuldeep, then Shakib is 6th bowler!

    For KKR, RCB and MI will be the teams to beat. Pune will trouble them with their batting but KKR can chase it down. Overall it will be a nightmare for teams that chase against KKR. The only way KKR can lose is batting collapse.

  • Sunny on February 8, 2016, 10:03 GMT

    I totally agree with Corridor of Certainty...what about players like Abhinav Mukund who have consistently and constantly scored runs throughout the domestic seasons... Why are they playing uncapped players and the capped ones who have a proven track record been ignored? What logic is there in this?! Some of the players who were selected do not even have a full season of Ranji Trophy under their belt but now have been miraculously been picked for the most demanding format of the game...?! Where is the logic in this?! Selectors need to get his head out of the tabloids, movie premiers and party scenes and start reading some hard statistics.

  • Sunny on February 8, 2016, 9:59 GMT

    I totally agree with Corridor of Certainty...what about players like Abhinav Mukund who have consistently and constantly scored runs throughout the domestic seasons... the IPL is now a joke where political favours rule instead of cricketers who have dedicated their lives to the art!

  • sree on February 8, 2016, 9:36 GMT

    Gujarat Lions XI: 1. McCullum 2. Finch 3. Raina 4.DKarthik 5. Bravo 6. Faulkuner 7.Jadeja 8. Praveen 9.Jakati 10.Dhawal 11.Tambe

    Opening combo to die for followed by IPL-only reliable Raina. Concern is their troubles start from No.4, not so reliable DKarthik followed by cameo players Bravo and Faulkuner each will have their day but not the marathon types. Jadeja hardly counts for runs. So unless one of their top 3 bat through it is tough to see them put up or chase down big totals. Bowling is ummm...cousin of their batting. Effective at its best but never menacing. Will be tempted to bring in Steyn sacrificing Finch. But batting already looks shaky, and worst, no Indian spare batters in the squad!!

  • sree on February 8, 2016, 9:03 GMT

    MI XI: 1.Rohit 2. Parthiv 3. Rayudu 4.Butler 5.Pollard 6.Anderson 7.Hardik 8.Harbhajan 9.Krunal 10.Bumrah 11.Malinga

  • sohail on February 8, 2016, 6:29 GMT

    Sarfaraz khan will get highest pay in among youngstr when he appear for auction next year

  • Gurpreet Singh on February 8, 2016, 4:59 GMT

    CricCzar tgere is talent i agree. However i believe Dhoni is talk about right now and not a year two from now. IPL will do well to have young talent that can grow and join the national side but as if right now i agree with Dhoni not a lot. There are a few good players but without competition to hold their spot in the national side i feel the youngester never truly grow.

  • Karthik on February 8, 2016, 3:14 GMT

    There is upcoming talent in the Indian domestic scene, unlike what Dhoni has us believing. Its just that you need to be open to giving them chances. Hope this IPL will show how good they are.

  • AJ on February 8, 2016, 0:36 GMT

    Its too late in the life cycle of IPL for the franchises to go for uncapped indian players. IPL is desperate for globalization to survive. The competion from BBL is immense, this is the time IPL needs to shine with stars and performenve too late to focus on local talent as main strategy.

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