While this year’s auctions did not see a Pawan Negi type of acquisition, uncapped players did contribute close to Rs.11 crore of the total 91.15 crore spent on the day.
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Tuesday, 04 April 2017 | 6:46 PM
While this year’s auctions did not see a Pawan Negi type of acquisition, uncapped players did contribute close to Rs.11 crore of the total 91.15 crore spent on the day. For those who aren’t familiar with Pawan Negi, the all-rounder was bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs.8.5 crore in 2016. His return of 57 runs and a wicket could be considered impressive for an all-rounder if those were stats for one game. But the problem for Delhi and Negi was that those were his stats for the entire season. No-wonder we didn’t see a repeat this year and Negi joined Royal Challengers Bangalore for ‘just’ a crore. While I don’t expect Negi to be among the top performing uncapped players this year, we can keep an eye on him only because of the price he commanded at last year’s auction.
As we saw with Negi, a few good performances by an Indian uncapped player and franchisees are ready to splash the cash on them looking for great return. But as we’ve seen in previous editions of the tournament with Negi being a prime example, that these players don’t come cheap, and the risk involved is high.
Players from associate nations make it to the list of uncapped players. Rashid Khan who had a base price of Rs.50 lakhs will go into this season of the tournament as the most expensive uncapped player after Sunrisers Hyderabad spent Rs.4 crore of their kitty on him. Just 18-years of age, Khan falls in to the same age category of his idol, Shahid Afridi. And that’s who you could compare his bowling style to as well. Much like Afridi, the leg-spinner is also a useful hitter and fielder. What has to be seen is whether he will make it to the playing eleven. With Warner almost being a certainty as he’s captain, the other overseas players he has to compete with include other the skipper’s compatriots Ben Cutting and Moises Henriques. With an Australian coach in Tom Moody as well, the Australians might be a certainty in the team. There’s also Kane Williamson and the impressive Bangladeshi left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rahman along with Khan’s compatriot Mohammad Nabi.
Nabi was also part of the uncapped list and was bought by the defending champions for Rs.30 lakh. He’s too an all-rounder, of the off spinner variety though.
Among the Indians, T Natarajan was bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs.3 crore, 30 times more than his base price of Rs.10 lakh. And it’s his journey to the top that’s caught the eye. He didn’t play cricket on a ‘proper’ cricket ground until the age of 20. Then in 2015, soon after making his Ranji Trophy debut for Tamil Nadu, he was reported for a ‘suspect’ action. He sorted that out and returned to represent Dindigul Dragons in the
Tamil Nadu Premier League. That’s where he made his name by taking 10 wickets in the seven matches he played. Punjab will hope he can repeat the accuracy he showed in one super over during the tournament which saw him with almost Lasith Malinga type accuracy bowling six consecutive Yorkers.
Along with Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi, the Sunrisers also invested Rs.2.6 crore in an Indian uncapped player, Mohammed Siraj. The seamer who turns up for Hyderabad in the IPL had an impressive Ranji Trophy season and scalped 41 wickets. He will face competition from Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Abhimanyu Mithun and Barinder Sran among others to make it to the playing XI. Even if Siraj doesn’t make it to the line-up, the presence of those bowlers who have played for India could help the 23 year-old in the learning process.
While Sarfaraz Khan was not a purchase from this year’s auction, he’s another of the uncapped players to look out for this season. It’s going to be a face-off between him Kedhar Jadhav and Stuart Binny for two of the three places in the lineup, and I expect Khan to get a few games at least under his belt this season.
Khan’s team mate from the 2014 U-19 World Cup, Shreyas Iyer will be another player to watch out for this year. The Delhi Daredevils batsman was called upon as back-up for Virat Kohli in the Test squad for the last match of the series against Australia, but did not make it to the team. He did make it to the field though and helped get a crucial run out. Iyer top scored in the Ranji Trophy this season and also made a double hundred in a first class tour game against Australia. He was bought by Delhi Daredevils at the 2015 IPL auction for Rs.2.6 crore. He opened the batting that season and his performances helped him bag the IPL emerging player of the year award.
The Daredevils did invest in an Indian uncapped spinner this year too though, the mysterious Murugan Ashwin. They bought Ashwin for Rs.1 crore, who was bought the year prior by Rising Pune Supergiant’s for Rs.4.5 crore. Murugan was praised by his namesake R Ashwin during last year’s tournament and will be looking to leave a mark by the end of this year’s tournament.
No Indian uncapped player’s list over the last few years can be complete without Praveen Tambe. The 45-year old leg spinner signed for Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs.10 lakh this year after representing Gujarat Lions last season. If he does get a run, he will look at improving the five wicket return from the seven games last season.
The tail-end of the uncapped eleven is completed by Mumbai Indians. The team has two uncapped players of their own to watch out for and what makes it more interesting
is that it could be a toss off between those two for one place. Krunal Pandya was bought by Mumbai Indians for Rs. 2 crore prior to last year’s tournament and amassed 237 runs and took six wickets during the tournament.
Pandya will be up against Mumbai’s latest Rs.2 crore-man K Gowtham. Gowtham like Pandya is a bits and pieces player as he offers an off spin option and will occupy the number six or seven spot in the team if played. He comes into the tournament with a 74 playing for India A against Australia in the warm up game and was also among the wickets in the Vijay Hazare Trophy.
Here’s wishing these uncapped players luck, and hoping they don’t make it to this list at this time next year!
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