An entertaining edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction came to an end in Chennai last night, and most teams walked away satisfied.
Chris Morris became the most expensive player in the history of the IPL auction at a mind-boggling 16.25 crores. But the move can’t be faulted, as the Rajasthan Royals desperately needed support for Jofra Archer and Morris was spectacular in IPL 2020 for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
However, many other trades raised eyebrows. Here are the 3 worst buys from the IPL 2021 auction, based on overall fit and value for money.
Adam Milne is one of the few bowlers in world cricket capable of touching the 150-kmph mark, but he has been plagued by a plethora of injury issues over the years. And the Mumbai Indians, for whom he has played for in the past, did not need to sign him at all.
In Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah, MI have two solid pacers who aren’t going to be dropped when fit. The defending champions then went for Nathan Coulter-Nile, whom they always intended to buy back on a cheaper contract. James Neesham, Hardik Pandya and Dhawal Kulkarni are some other pace options they have.
Milne played 12 games in this year’s Big Bash League for the Sydney Thunder, and he took only 5 wickets although his economy rate was a respectable 7.57. In 5 IPL games, the Kiwi has taken only 4 wickets at a poor economy rate of 9.83.
Milne might still do well for MI if they can afford to field him in the playing XI, but there were undoubtedly better options available in the IPL 2021 auction in the fast-bowling department.
Jhye Richardson finished this year’s Big Bash League as the leading wicket-taker with 29 scalps in 17 games at an economy rate of 7.69, and put in a couple of eye-catching performances with the bat as well.
But was that enough to warrant his ginormous price tag? Probably not. Richardson has played only 2 Tests, 13 ODIs and 9 T20Is for Australia, and is hardly experienced at the top level. With a highest score of 71 in all cricket (first-class + List A), his batting isn’t anything to write home about either.
To put Richardson’s achievements into perspective, we take a look at the BBL’s 5 highest-wicket takers of all time and whether they’ve been able to achieve success at the IPL level. Ben Laughlin, Sean Abbott and Kane Richardson make up the top 3, and they’ve played a combined 23 games in the league, while Andrew Tye and Adam Zampa (4 and 5 respectively) have been impressive but only in flashes.
Richardson is a massive risk that PBKS have taken, especially since they already had Chris Jordan, and later acquired Riley Meredith and Moises Henriques. But maybe they had to shell out the big bucks for him, given how much money they had in their purse.
Over the last three IPL seasons, Glenn Maxwell has played 39 games and scored only 587 runs, recording averages of 15.42, 14.08 and 31 respectively. 4 of his 6 fifties in the IPL came in the only notable season he has had – 2014.
And IPL 2020 was Maxwell’s worst campaign by far. He failed to clear the boundary even once, and his strike rate was 101.88. Yet, only a few months later, his paycheck is fatter by INR 4 crores and his team is one of the biggest in the IPL.
Maxwell’s inclusion at No. 5 has Royal Challengers Bangalore salivating at the prospect of him following captain Virat Kohli and the maverick AB de Villiers. And on paper, RCB’s top 5 looks as solid as any.
But Maxwell’s performances in the IPL, barring the 2014 season, have been consistently disappointing. He has eaten up a large portion of the RCB budget, and the team’s depth is almost non-existent as a result.
Had Maxwell been a proven performer, this sacrifice would’ve been understandable. But gambling 14.25 crores on a player who has done nothing but let his team down over the years was a highly questionable decision by Mike Hesson and Co.