The 2017 IPL auction saw as many as 66 players getting picked by franchisees in a lot of 351 stars, who went under the hammer for the duration of the day. it was a frenetic auction, which saw many players go for exponential amounts to various teams while there were others as well, who did not get any buyers in the auction.
Also in the mix were a few surprise picks who went for huge amounts and here we take a look at 5 such players:
K Gowtham (2 Crores)
The Karnataka off-spinner had a good season for his state side in the Ranji Trophy, picking up 27 wickets in 8 matches at an average of 19.51. He proved to be the third highest wicket-taker for the side, behind experienced campaigners like Sreenath Aravind and R Vinay Kumar and led the way in the spin department for the team.
Those performances helped him earn a berth in the India A squad for the warm-up match against the Australians at the Cricket Club of India last week and he did not get enough overs to show his prowess, bowling just four overs for nine runs.
On Monday, during the IPL auctions, the 27-year-old found a buyer in the form of the Mumbai Indians, who roped him in for Rs. 2 Crores to add another component to their off spinning resources.
The addition of Gowtham is just another example of the franchise roping in a low-profile domestic player and providing him a platform to perform. Last season, it was Krunal Pandya who proved to be a very effective player and prior to that, it was Jagadeesh Suchith. Maybe in Gowtham, they may unearth yet another similar kind of player.
Rashid Khan(Rs. 4 Crores)
The 18-year-old cricketer has had a very impressive T20 and T20I career, with an economy rate of 6.03 and 6.14 and was among the most impressive players in the Afghanistan squad who, despite winning just the solitary game in the World T20, won everybody’s hearts with their performance.
Rashid’s inclusion in the Sunrisers squad, further strengthens their bowling arsenal, which already boasts of the likes of Ashish Nehra, Barinder Sran, Chris Jordan etc and his addition will only further bolster the David Warner-led squad.
Joining Rashid in the squad will be Mohammad Nabi, who was the first Afghan to be selected in an IPL team.
T Natarajan(Rs. 3 Crores)
The highest earning uncapped player in the auction, T Natarajan may just be the surprise selection, who could get the Kings XI Punjab out of the doldrums they have been found themselves in the past few seasons.
Natarajan may not be a household name, but the IPL could just be the platform which could put him in the limelight and on greenish Mohali wickets, he could just be the ideal player to have for the Murali Vijay-led side.
In the Tamil Nadu Premier League last year, the 25-year-old was one of the best performers in the competition, picking up 10 wickets in 7 matches at an economy of 7.33 and proved to be a great fast bowling option for the side.
Among all the players in the auction list, Natarajan claimed the highest Final Bid vs Base Price Multiplier, going from Rs. 10 Lakhs to Rs 3 Crores. Come the start of the League, it will now be interesting whether Natarajan can rise up to the stage and perform.
Darren Bravo (Rs. 50 Lakhs)
Towards the fag end of the day, when it seemed like most teams had formed a satisfactory squad, the Kolkata Knight Riders picked up Darren Bravo at the fag end of the day when he was part of the third set of players who went unsold during the course of the day.
The selection of Bravo was a big surprise, considering his T20I last game for the West Indies came in July 2014 and considering that he had not featured anywhere to the T20I setup of the Caribbean outfit, his selection really raised a few eyebrows and it remains to be seen how many matches he plays in the League beginning in April.
Nicholas Pooran(Rs. 30 Lakhs)
The West Indian left-hander was bought by the Mumbai Indians for a sum of Rs. 30 lakhs and he will add to the already existing two wicket-keepers in the squad in the form of Parthiv Patel and Jos Buttler.
The 21-year-old has a Twenty20 Strike-Rate of 143.29 and has played for his country on 3 occasions with a strike-rate of 113. The interesting thing will now be where do they fit him if they do play him?
Prior to the auction, one of the concerns for the two-time champions was the opening spot at the top of the order, where they had no one to support Parthiv Patel. Pushing Rohit Sharma there was an option, but the middle order then would not have had the same kind of strength.
So playing Pooran at the opening position could be the only way by which he could get an opportunity to showcase his talent in front of the world.