IPL 2016 auction February 7, 2016

IPL insiders shed light on Big Name snubs

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'Guptill going unsold defies logic'

Every IPL auction brings with it its regular quota of surprise picks and omissions. While many uncapped India players made the first category on Saturday's auction, Usman Khawaja and Martin Guptill were probably the shock omissions this time around. Guptill has been one of the world's best white-ball players in the past year; during this period, he averages 49.12 in nine T20Is with a strike rate of 165.12, besides scoring nearly 1600 runs at 63.72 in ODIs.

Khawaja, on the other hand, is in the form of his life, having racked up three big hundreds and a fifty in his last five Test innings. More pertinently from an IPL perspective, he smashed 345 runs in four innings at a strike rate of 163.5 not too long ago to give Sydney Thunder their first Big Bash League title. Some of the other big names missing out were Mahela Jayawardene, Michael Hussey and George Bailey The marketplace, though, is not given to such sentiments, and franchises said there were good reasons why they did not go for these players. "I think teams had very clear strategies at the top of the [batting] order," Raghu Iyer, CEO of the Rising Pune Super Giants, told ESPNcricinfo.

"Almost every team had a settled opening pair. We, too, had Faf du Plessis, and then bought Kevin Pietersen and Steven Smith. However good these players were we couldn't accommodate them in our plans. [However] Khawaja was really unlucky not to have been picked by any team."

Another franchise's mentor, however, said it was pointless to pick up players if the teams were not going to play them. "Although they are very good T20 players, all these teams have settled opening pairs," he said. "If you look at Sunrisers Hyderabad, they have [David] Warner and Shikhar [Dhawan], Mumbai Indians have Lendl [Simmons] and Parthiv [Patel]. You don't want a class player like Guptill or Khawaja to sit out the entire season."

Iyer felt this was an extension of the prudence that franchises have displayed in recent years when it comes to spending on foreign players. "Even in this auction they have been a lot more rational with their prices on foreign players. They went all out only for the players they wanted. In Shane Watson, RCB got the allrounder they wanted, likewise we went for Mitchell Marsh and Delhi for Chris Morris. These are sureshot picks in the playing XI.

"The Indian boys, on the other hand, have gone for a lot of money. It's sometimes difficult to predict the auction dynamics, but it augurs well for the Indian boys."

Iyer also said that a number of players were likely to not be bid for given the nature of the auction itself. "It's a mini-auction with most teams going into it with a settled core already. Of course, in our case we had to build our entire squad and we are quite satisfied with we bought. But settled teams like MI or KKR were looking for back-ups and to plug a few holes here and there."

A member of the coaching staff of a franchise, however, said some players were not in the wishlist of teams because of their relative ineffectiveness in Indian conditions: "How much of Guptill's performances are inside New Zealand and how much outside? There were doubts about his adaptability in Indian conditions. Even [RPSG coach] Stephen Fleming didn't go for him."

Guptill has an average of 38.37 from the 10 ODIs he has played in India. He has, however, played only one T20I and scored five runs. Khawaja, though, did well in India last year when he captained the Australia A team and scored two fifties and a hundred in a tri-series featuring India and South Africa's A sides.

Players like Bailey or Hussey, despite his successful run with the Sydney Thunder, were perhaps deemed to be relatively high-priced. While Hussey had put his base price at INR 2 crore, Bailey sought one crore for his services. It is understood there were reservations in the Kings XI Punjab camp about Bailey's ability to command a place in the side as a specialist batsman alone. "They might have thought that having him as captain blocked a slot for another foreign player, like Shaun Marsh," an IPL insider said. "These things matter a great deal too."

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • unknownjohnson on February 9, 2016, 12:55 GMT

    Guptill and Kawaja probably missed out probably because some other foreign players have already proven themselves in the IPL, in spin friendly conditions. They have already settled into the teams that purchased them. For example, let's look at Lendl Simmons who is probably one of the lesser ranked batsman (when compared to De Villiers, KP or Steve Smith) but scored tons of runs in spin conditions and wickets that keep low. Neither Guptill nor Khawaja would be worth the gamble over Simmons.

  • Starvybz on February 9, 2016, 1:01 GMT

    Lendl Simmons for Mumbai Indians in 2015 - 13 matches - 540 runs at an average of 45.00 with a strike rate of 122.44 and in 2014 - 8 matches - 394 runs at an average of 56.28 with a strike rate of 135.39. Oh nooooo this guy is terrible let me remove him after all who needs a genuine and consistent opener. Simmons was solely responsible for the revival of Mumbai Indians' shaky batting lineup during the 2014 season and he continued in 2015. Lendl Simmons can't play spin? Kids this is exactly why you shouldn't drink and browse. Simmons is the best limited overs player of spin for West Indies. He can rotate strike and attack. Also every knowledgeable West Indian knows his weakness is 147kph+ pace. The only criticism you can have of Lendl is that he runs out of gas just after the 15th over and not a soul in the "criticise Lendl crew" has mentioned that. If you are unhappy that Martin Guptill didn't receive a bid, calm down, there's still time foreign players never go a season uninjured.

  • NivinPauly on February 8, 2016, 16:30 GMT

    Drum Roll....and the highest scorer for NZ in world T20 in India will be GUPTILL. and this will happen exactly before the IPL !!

  • Ashwingangulydhoni on February 8, 2016, 9:05 GMT

    Guptil form in small format in Asia is very less. Guptil average only 23 in Asia

  • BeAHuman on February 8, 2016, 8:56 GMT

    I believe that players need to market themselves. Someone has to have the right contacts in the franchise. Or they need referrals like Brendon Taylor got from Tom moody but never played a game. So they don't go by skills alone. They look for charisma and pull. Word of mouth is key.

  • roversgate on February 8, 2016, 8:35 GMT

    I think Guptill should have been picked by DD who don't exactly have a solid experienced opener in their team. I am not too surprised that Khawaja didn't get picked because there was a clear attempt to go for less foreign players this time and obviously big names would be the ones to go for. I think SRH or DD could have gone for Bailey who would be good in leading a lot of inexperienced players.

    What baffles me is why Pragyan Ojha didn't get picked? Can someone explain to me why one of the leading wicket takers in IPL history didn't find a franchise?

  • Samu on February 8, 2016, 6:02 GMT

    My 2 cents worth comment, I am sure Guptill will play in IPL this year. I see someone in an IPL team egtting injured to be replaced by Guptill or even Khawaja! Let us all wait and watch!

  • Prats6 on February 8, 2016, 4:32 GMT

    As someone rightly put it - It defies logic. Quite a few of the buys defy common sense and logic.

  • satishchandar on February 8, 2016, 3:30 GMT

    I see real reasons for not picking Guptill or Khawaja. The only thing I was puzzled is, Bailey not picked by DD. They don't have a readymade captain within the team. Bailey could have put his case strongly as a very good captain who can handle a team easily. He was in good touch in the ODI series as well.

  • Bala Gopal on February 8, 2016, 2:45 GMT

    I as a supporter of a rival team of MI, I rate Simmons highly.. People speak of strike rate is low.. He is a opener not a finisher. If you understand how a t20 should be played you don't require a strike rate of 150 to be a great strike rate. You need a consistent opener to sets up a platform so that other middle order batsman can launch. And in the previous edition of IPL, Mumbai was floundering with 5 losses in 5 matches(a team without Simmons). Their resurgence coincided with making Simmons over finch and they went on to win the IPL. check the stats if you are doubtful.

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