The auctions for the 2020 edition of the Indian Premier League that was held in Kolkata last December had an early shock when Pat Cummins was bought for over INR 15 crore to become the most expensive overseas player in the history of the league. While the decision, on many counts, was justified considering the stellar run the Aussie had in 2019, his frequent injury concerns may have left many scratching their heads over Kolkata Knight Riders’ decision.
There were a number of other oddities as well, like James Neesham becoming the only Kiwi player to be signed up for the tournament. Considering New Zealand’s World Cup final-run and their heroics in the T20 format, the cricketers from the nation were expected to return home with a heavy cheque.
Here are three surprise signings in the event, for different reasons.
Jason Roy bought by Delhi Capitals for INR 1.5 crore
Jason Roy has all the skills of a big-hitting opener, which were all too visible in the World Cup, where he played a huge role in England’s run to the title. A proven player at the top level and one who can destroy the best bowling attacks on his day, many would have expected IPL teams to shell out similar figures for Roy as they did for Cummins. With a number of teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders in desperate need of a pinch-hitter at the day, the Englishman was touted as a player who could start a bidding war. However, that was not the case as the World Cup-winner was snapped up for his base price of INR 1.5 crore by Delhi Capitals, with the other teams hesitant to raise the paddle for the player. What was even more surprising was that he went to a team that have no dearth of top-order players. Is he likely to get a chance? Only time will tell.
Nathan Coulter-Nile bought by Mumbai Indians for INR 8 crore
It was beyond surprising to see Mumbai Indians going for and splurging on yet another overseas fast bowler, given their strong options in the bench already. With Mitchell McCleneghan and Lasith Malinga in the team already and with Trent Boult being traded to the frachise ahead of the auctions, purchasing Coulter-Nile for INR 8 crores made little sense. Along with Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and Dhawal Kulkarni, the Mumbai team are well-stocked in their pace arsenal, and going for a slower bowler would have been a better option considering their limited choices. Coulter-Nile does not have the best record in the tournament either. Having made his debut in the IPL in 2013, the seamer has played only 26 wickets over the years with injuries constantly hampering his progress. The choice, then, remains a hard one to decipher.
Varun Chakravarthi bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for INR 4 crore
The Tamil Nadu spinner was picked up for an hefty sum of INR 4 crore and became the second most expensive Indian in the 2020 IPL auctions. However, considering his past record and his recent form, the fact that he was picked up in itself came as a surprise. In his only IPL outing in 2019 for Kings XI Punjab, the mystery spinner, as he was being called, picked up just a wicket whilst conceding 35 runs. Since the tournament, Chakravarthi has fallen down the radar and has not even played for the senior level in domestic cricket. With the KKR management letting go of consistent campaigner Piyush Chawla due to the changed striped at Eden Gardens that no longer assists the spinners, the move, then, to purchase Chakravarthi seems to have befuddled many.