More than a decade ago, one of the main objectives outlined by the founders of the Indian Premier League was promoting local talent in the country.
So, for the first few seasons, the league would throw up products like Rashid Khan, Paul Valthathy, Ravindra Jadeja and Anureet Singh. A fresh-faced Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli were also in the mix. As time progressed, though, the focus slowly shifted to accumulating established foreign stars. The glitz, glamour, and the moolah was too much to resist for the rest of the world.
One IPL contract was enough for some of the big names around the world to secure their futures. Even the English, who viewed the league with a stiff upper lip, eventually thre their hat in the ring. Yesterday, as many as four Englishmen secured bumper contracts, and will be making their debut in the upcoming season.
Again, did this mean that Indian talent was getting sidelined? With only four foreigners allowed in a XI, teams have to have a good pool of young Indian talent. Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bumrah, now established Indian stars, first made a mark for Mumbai Indians. The Delhi Capitals have got a sizebale chunk of players from India’s next-gen, including Prithvi Shaw, skipper Shreyas Iyer and the swashbuckling Rishabh Pant.
The recent auctions saw a revival of sorts for franchises securing the talent of untried gems. It helps to have the states having their own IPL of sorts. By the time the auctions come around, a respective franchise’s think-tank are already know who they are bidding for and are not afraid to throw big money at even untested talent. And, they got even younger as well. A handful of teenagers turned millionaires on Tuesday.
It could also be pointed out that a bulk of the work was already done by all the franchises last year, which witnessed a mega auction. Now, it was all about value addition. Champions Chennai Super League, for instance, barely added to their “dad’s army” squad. Rajasthan Royals ripped up their strategy of frugal spending to splash the cash as they looked to rework their core. They, along with Kings XI Punjab, were once again, were among the most active franchises in Jaipur, where the auctions were held.
Uncapped players bought higher than base price
|Name||Price sold for (in lakhs)||Team sold to||Times above the base price|
|Prayas Ray Barman||150||RCB||7.5|
Last year also saw the teams form a beeline for India’s World Cup winning U-19 squad, many of whom found takers.
Here are some of the lesser-known campaigners who will be in action in IPL 12.
Mumbai’s Shivam Dubey has undoubtedly been one of the players of the Ranji Trophy so far, shining with the bat and ball despite the 41-time champions limping in the first few games. Royal Challengers Bangalore had to cough up Rs 5 crore for the 25-year-old, whose rise to prominence has been fairly recent.
In the Mumbai T20 tournament, he tonked experienced leg-spinner Pravin Tambe for five sixes in an over, underlining his big-hitting prowess.
“No doubt he is a very good player and hard hitter of the ball. But he has to work on his fitness because he is not agile. And also T20 cricket is fast,” Mumbai coach Vinayak Samant said. “He is focussed and has improved a lot (in the past year).”
Varun Chakravarthy – Rs 8.4 Crore
Tamil Nadu mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy turned heads at the auction after being bought by Kings XI Punjab for a whopping Rs 8.4 crore, more than 40 times his base price.
Like Dubey, Varun didn’t get an early break in his career. The 27-year-old, an architect turned cricketer, was a revelation in the Tamil Nadu Premier League and the subsequent Vijay Hazare trophy, where he finished as the second-highest wicket taker. He registered staggering figures, picking up 22 wickets at at an economy of 4.7 runs. Like Kuldeep Yadav, the batsmen found it hard to read the spinner.
Prabhsimran Singh – Rs 4.8 Crore
The hard-hitting wicket-keeper from Patiala went for Rs 4.80 crore after being snapped up by Kings XI Punjab. The 18-year-old was hoping to be a be a part of Prithvi Shaw’s World Cup winning side but missed the cut.
Dejected but eager to prove his mettle, Singh’s big scores eventually saw him being noticed. He has played only four List A matches and was part of the Indian team which finished a runner-up at the recent ACC Emerging Teams Asia Cup in Sri Lanka. In an U-23 match, Prabhsimran smashed an astounding 298. In the Cooch Behar trophy, he was imperious, getting 547 runs which included three hundreds.
Prayas Ray Barman – Rs 1.5 Crore
Bengal spinner Barman is not old enough to drive a car but RCB spent Rs 1.5 crore on the 16-year-old. A report in the Times of India says he is 17. After the success of Mumbai’s Mayank Markande last year, leg-spinners are clearly the flavour of the season. This prodigy will now be rubbing shoulders with Kohli and AB de Villiers. Talk about taking the escalator to the top of the cricketing tree.
Rasikh Dar – Rs 20 lakh
This 17-year-old became only the third cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to secure an IPL contract after Parvez Rasool and Manzoor Dar. Dar is a right-arm pacer and also made his List A debut at the Vijay Hazare Trophy this year. Mumbai Indians got him at his base price, which was Rs 20 lakh.
The three-time champions, though, have made it a habit of gambling with rookies. Dar has already attended a trial for the Mumbai Indians camp. Can he be the next big talent that Mumbai unearth? Only time will tell.
The IPL, as much as it is a land of dreams, can be a brutal place with instant results the need of the hour. Some make it, many don’t. But it is precisely such moments that give everyone the power to dream.