Twice Chris Gayle‘s name came up at the IPL auction, and twice he failed to get a bid. Just when it seemed like the highest-profile overseas player of the league over its first decade would not be part of the 2018 edition, Kings XI Punjab picked him up, triggering loud applause from all the other franchises in the room. Kings XI got Gayle at his base price, a mere INR 2 crore (USD 312,000 approx).
Other high-profile players who benefited from a second chance were India opener M Vijay (INR 2 crore to Chennai Super Kings), wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel (INR 1.7 crore or USD 265,000 approx to Royal Challengers Bangalore), and Australia quick Mitchell Johnson (INR 2 crore to Kolkata Knight Riders), all of whom were bought when they were recalled on the second afternoon after going unsold the first time around. As per the regulations, any player who went unsold the first time – or second, as in Gayle’s case – could be called up again, provided any of the franchises put in a request for the same.
Seamer Jaydev Unadkat became the first millionaire on day two of the auction, as well as the most expensive Indian buy over the two days. Rajasthan Royals made the winning bid: INR 11.5 crore (USD 1.8 million approx). The bidding went back and forth between CSK and Kings XI till INR 11 crore – the most paid for an Indian on day one – before Royals swooped in.
Australia seamer Andrew Tye also fetched in excess of a million – one of only two players to do so on the day – going to Kings XI for INR 7.2 crore (USD 1.1m approx). Legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane, meanwhile, became the first ever player from Nepal to be bought at the auction; he went for INR 20 lakh (USD 31,000 approx) to Delhi Daredevils.
Karnataka offspinner K Gowtham set the pace early in the day, going for 31 times his base price to Royals for a shade below a million dollars. RCB, KKR and Mumbai Indians were the other teams involved in the bidding, his price rocketing up from INR 20 lakh (USD 31,250 approx) to INR 6.2 crore (USD 968,000 approx).
The first sale of the day was another uncapped Indian spinner, legbreak bowler Rahul Chahar. He was picked up by Mumbai for INR 1.9 crore (USD 296,000 approx). Just before lunch, his brother Deepak Chahar was bought by CSK for INR 80 lakh (USD 125,000 approx). Deepak was the top wicket-taker in India’s domestic T20 tournament, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, this season with 19 strikes and an economy rate of 5.58 in nine games.
It was Royals who opened the bidding overall on a day when in effect 471 new players were up for grabs, plus any of the unsold players from day one. On day one, 78 out of 110 players were bought, with superstars from IPLs past like Lasith Malinga finding no takers.
Like on day one, several high-profile names did not get a bid on Sunday, including Australia’s Shaun Marsh, England’s Eoin Morgan, West Indies’ Lendl Simmons, South Africa’s Dale Steyn and New Zealand’s Martin Guptill – Guptill, like Gayle, was called up three times in all, but did not get a bid.
The first of the three Right To Match (RTM) cards used on the day was from RCB, on left-arm spinning allrounder Pawan Negi – he was taken off Mumbai for INR 1 crore (USD 156,000 approx). Two more came in quick succession when the pace bowlers’ set began: Royals retained Dhawal Kulkarni (INR 75 lakh, USD 117,000 approx) and Kings XI held on to Mohit Sharma (INR 2.4 crore, USD 375,000 approx).
Last year, two Afghanistan players were picked up at the auction. This time that doubled to four: experienced allrounder Mohammad Nabi (Sunrisers for INR 1 crore or USD 156,000 approx) and Under-19 players – both of whom are at the ongoing World Cup in New Zealand – Mujeeb Zadran and Zahir Khan got bids, in addition to Rashid Khan from day one. Sixteen-year-old Zadran, who can bowl traditional offspin and mix it up with legspin when required, was picked up by Kings XI after some extensive bidding for INR 4 crore (USD 625,000 approx). Zahir is a left-arm wristspinner who went to Royals for INR 60 lakh (USD 93,000 approx).