Stats Analysis

Who was worth the money

A look at the best and the worst buys from the auction based on players' performance in IPL 2014

Shiva Jayaraman
Akshar Patel in his delivery stride, Kolkata Knight Riders v Kings XI Punjab, IPL 2014, final, June 1, 2014

Akshar Patel of Kings XI Punjab might well have been the most profitable buy of the IPL auctions.  •  BCCI

Yuvraj Singh made news during the auction for being the most expensive purchase of the IPL, at INR 14 crore, while Pravin Tambe - one of the leading wicket-takers in this IPL - received no bids from other teams before being retained by Rajasthan Royals with a right-to-match card that depleted their purse by only INR 10 lakh. How did these buys fare for the teams? Who ended up being the most profitable purchase of the IPL? Which team spent their purse money most productively? This piece makes an attempt at answering such questions.
Performance on the cricket field is not easily quantifiable: it cannot be measured purely by the runs scored by a batsman or the wickets taken by a bowler. A quickfire 30 in a crunch situation of a chase may turn out to be of greater value than a 60 earlier in the innings. A wicket of an in-form opposition batsman might carry more value than the wicket of a tail-ender. And there is the question of how to value wicketkeepers' contributions, fielding efforts, catches taken etc. Surely, the catches taken by Kieron Pollard and Chris Lynn would be worth a few crores, if not more?
This piece aims to give the readers a reasonable idea about who were the top buys and the worst punts in this IPL season. To this end, only the runs scored, strike rates, wickets taken, and the economy rates have been taken into account to come up with a return on investment value for each player and thereby, for each team. The context in which the batsmen scored their runs and bowlers took their wickets have not been taken into account, and neither have been their fielding contributions.
An aggregate of 17922 runs were scored from the bat in this IPL and 606 wickets were taken by the bowlers - an average of 29.57 for each wicket. Roughly translated, each wicket that a bowler took in this IPL was worth 29.57 runs. A total of INR 468.1 crore was spent on buying players in this IPL, which means that every run scored was worth INR 1,30,594 and every wicket taken was worth INR 38,62,211. Each batsman earned value (or generated returns) based on how many runs he scored and at what strike rate. If his strike rate was less than the overall tournament strike rate, the number of runs scored by him were weighted down to a value lower than the actual runs he scored and vice versa. Similarly for bowlers, the number of wickets were weighted up or down based on the economy rate.
For example, Shakib Al Hasan scored 227 runs at a strike rate of 149.3. His strike rate was a good 20% better than the tournament's average strike rate of 129.0, so he is credited with more runs than he actually scored, which works out to 256. This multiplied by the value of each run - INR1,30,594 - means he generated a batting value of INR 3.34 crore. Similarly, Shakib took 11 wickets at an economy of 6.68, which was much better than the tournament economy rate of 8.01 runs per over. So his 11 wickets are weighted up for his better economy and get him returns equivalent to 12.8 wickets. The bowling value he generates is 12.8 multiplied by the value of each wicket, i.e. INR 38,62,611, which works out to INR 4.95 crore. The total notional money he generates for his team is the sum of his batting and bowling values - INR 8.30 crore. This minus the price at which Shakib was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders will give the gains made by the team by investing on him. This figure works out to INR 5.50 crore.
Kings XI Punjab's Akshar Patel leads - by some distance - the list of players who generated the maximum gains for their respective teams. He took 17 wickets at an excellent economy rate of 6.14, which boosted the total value he generated for his team to INR 8.97 crore. Kings XI bought him for a sum of INR 75 lakh and made a profit of INR 8.22 crore - the most any team profited from a single player. Six bowlers make it to the top ten of this list. Lendl Simmons - cost to the team assumed at his base price of INR 50 lakh - and Glenn Maxwell are the only players who make the top ten based purely on their batting performance. Shakib and JP Duminy take the remaining two places in the top ten on the back of their all-round show.
Top ten auction investments IPL 2014, in INR crores
Player Runs SR Batting value Wkts Eco Bowling value Total Value Cost Returns
Akshar Patel 62 103 0.63 17 6.14 8.34 8.97 0.75 8.22
Mohit Sharma 1 33 0.00 23 8.40 8.25 8.25 2.00 6.25
Pravin Tambe 5 56 0.02 15 7.27 6.22 6.24 0.10 6.14
Shakib-Al-Hasan 227 149 3.34 11 6.68 4.95 8.30 2.80 5.50
Sandeep Sharma 2 40 0.00 18 8.81 6.15 6.15 0.85 5.30
Lendl Simmons* 394 135 5.26 1 11.33 0.27 5.53 0.36 5.17
Yuzvendra Chahal 1 100 0.00 12 7.02 5.15 5.15 0.10 5.14
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1 25 0.00 20 6.66 9.04 9.04 4.25 4.79
JP Duminy 410 134 5.43 3 7.27 1.24 6.67 2.20 4.47
Glenn Maxwell 552 188 10.22 1 12.00 0.25 10.47 6.00 4.47
* Lendl Simmons' auction price has been assumed at his base price of INR0.5Cr
Knight Riders' skipper Gautam Gambhir was the most unattractive buy of this season, given the high price at which he was retained for by the team. His 335 runs in the tournament came at a strike rate of 114.33, well below the average for the tournament, and generated only INR 3.78 crore. India internationals Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli and Shikhar Dhawan went for INR 12.5 crore each, but couldn't generate enough value for their teams, thus ending up at the bottom of the table. Chris Gayle - who was retained for INR 9.5 crore and failed to come good for his team - rounds off the bottom five. Yuvraj, the most expensive player of this IPL, just escaped being in the bottom five. His performances created notional money worth INR 6.84 Crores for his team, but his high auction price meant that he ran a deficit of INR 7.16 Crores, ending up at the seventh place from the bottom.
Bottom five auction investments IPL 2014, in INR Crores
Player Runs SR Batting value Wkts Eco Bowling value Total Value Cost Returns
Gautam Gambhir 335 114 3.78 0 0.00 0.00 3.78 12.50 -8.72
Dinesh Karthik 325 126 4.04 0 0.00 0.00 4.04 12.50 -8.46
Virat Kohli 359 122 4.32 0 0.00 0.00 4.32 12.50 -8.17
Shikhar Dhawan 377 118 4.39 0 0.00 0.00 4.39 12.50 -8.11
Chris Gayle 196 106 2.06 0 0.00 0.00 2.06 9.50 -7.44
While the above two tables give us a sense of who the most profitable and unprofitable purchases in the auction were, these may not be the best and the worst players this year. The players can control their base price, but can't control the upper limit, which depends on the dynamics of the auction. So, it makes sense to see who generated the most value (made the most money for their teams) without penalising them for their auction prices.
This list is led by Glenn Maxwell. His 552 runs at a strike rate of 187.7 - almost 59 more than the tournament average - meant that he was one of two players to cross the INR 10.0 crore mark. Sunil Narine, with his 21 wickets at an economy rate of 6.36, was the only other player whose performance was worth more than INR 10.0 crore. This year's top runscorer Robin Uthappa slots in at No.5 in this list and is one of the three players - along with Maxwell and Dwayne Smith - to weigh in purely on his batting performance.
Top peformers IPL 2014, by value created (in INR Crores)
Player Runs SR Batting value Wkts Eco Bowling value Total Value
Glenn Maxwell 552 188 10.22 1 12.00 0.25 10.47
Sunil Narine 10 71 0.07 21 6.36 9.94 10.01
Bhuvneshwar Kumar 1 25 0.00 20 6.66 9.05 9.05
Akshar Patel 62 103 0.63 17 6.14 8.34 8.97
Robin Uthappa 660 138 8.97 0 0.00 0.00 8.97
Ravindra Jadeja 146 133 1.91 19 8.15 7.02 8.93
Dwayne Smith 566 136 7.59 4 9.50 1.27 8.86
Shakib-Al-Hasan 227 149 3.34 11 6.68 4.96 8.30
Mohit Sharma 1 33 0.00 23 8.40 8.25 8.25
Suresh Raina 523 146 7.51 1 7.44 0.40 7.92
And finally, a look at how the teams themselves fared in terms of the returns they got from the purse money they invested in building their teams. Not surprisingly, Kings XI Punjab made the most profitable buys, getting a whopping 52% return on investment (ROI). The other finalists, Knight Riders were a distant second in this list with an ROI of 12.9%, followed by Chennai Super Kings at 11.8%. Mumbai Indians got to the playoffs despite their negative ROI of 6.3% and, in line with their shocking exit from the tournament, Rajasthan Royals failed to make the playoffs in spite of an ROI of 4.6%. The other three teams returned negative ROIs, with Delhi Daredevils being the most unprofitable of the lot, at a ROI of - 28.1%.
Teams and their ROIs
Team Auction costs (INR Cr)* Value created (INR Cr)
Gains (INR Cr) ROI
Kings XI Punjab
Kolkat Knight Riders
Chennai Super Kings
Rajasthan Royals
Mumbai Indians
Sunrisers Hyderabad
Royal Challengers Bangalore
Delhi Daredevils
* Auction costs might vary slightly from the actuals owing to replacements during the tournament

Shiva Jayaraman is a sub-editor (stats) at