The most thrilling part of any Indian Premier League auction is not seeing the bidding war for a big, established cricketer. Rather, it is the hustle shown by teams to get an uncapped player in their ranks.
Ever so often we see these punts go wrong but then every once in a while, when the scouts and the team management do get it right, it all seems to be worth it.
In the 2018 season, we saw Kolkata Knight Riders’ Shubman Gill make an impact in the few opportunities that came his way but in 2019, Varun Chakaravarthy, despite the Rs 8.40 crore price tag, just wasn’t allowed to settle in. The 2018 edition also saw Mumbai Indians’ Mayank Markande make a splash.
It is always an interesting mix between the players inspiring confidence in the team management and making an instant impact if they do get the opportunity.
Here’s a look at the uncapped Indian players who generated the most interest in Kolkata on Thursday:
Top uncapped players bought at IPL auction
|Player||Age||Reserve Price (Rs Lakhs)||Bought by||Bought for (Rs Lakhs)|
Varun Chakaravarthy (KKR - Rs 4 crore)
Varun’s good show in the Tamil Nadu Premier League clearly made enough of an impression on KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik and Abhishek Nayyar – the team picked him up for a steep Rs 4 crore. That said, in comparison to the Rs 8.4 crore price tag with KXIP from last season, this should be much easier to live with. He will also provide them with some mystery backup, in case the team decides to rest Sunil Narine or open up an overseas slot.
Varun’s breakthrough came in the TNPL where he was part of the title-winning Siechem Madurai Panthers. In the 2018 season, he took 9 wickets in 10 matches, with an extraordinary economy rate of 4.7. That earned him a call-up for the Vijay Hazare Trophy that season, where he finished as the top wicket-taker in the group stage, with 22 wickets in nine matches at an economy of 4.23. He has barely played this year but that, somehow, hasn’t stopped KKR from making him the most expensive uncapped Indian player for the second season running.
Yashasvi Jaiswal (RR - Rs 2.4 crore)
In October Yashasvi Jaiswal, who was then 17-years-old, set a world record when he became the youngest player to score a double-century in List A (senior 50-over) cricket.
Jaiswal registered a match-winning 153-ball 203 for Mumbai against Jharkhand in the Vijay Hazare Trophy, India’s domestic 50-over tournament. It was a stunning knock which saw even Varun Aaron and Shahbaz Nadeem being taken to the cleaners. The left-handed batsman smashed 17 fours and 12 sixes as he broke South African Alan Barrow’s record of being the youngest to score a double-hundred in the history of senior 50-over cricket.
This was also Jaiswal’s third century in five matches in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. And naturally, this phenomenal run has helped Jaiswal’s popularity get a significant bump. He is also expected to be one of the stars of India’s U-19 World Cup campaign.
But his rise isn’t sudden.
In 2015, Yashasvi etched his name in the record books by hitting 319 not out and registering bowling figures of 13 for 99 in the Giles Shield Cricket Tournament in Mumbai to set a record for the highest score and most wickets in a match in a school-level competition.
When he initially moved to Mumbai from Uttar Pradesh, he used to live at Azad Maidan since he didn’t have a house in the city. The tent he lived in didn’t have electricity or a toilet. It would get flooded during monsoons and he even had to sell pani poori’s to make ends meet. But all that hard work has now paid off.
Ravi Bishnoi (KXIP - Rs 2 crore)
Ravi Bishnoi is a promising leg spinner from Rajasthan and another of India’s U-19 players to strike it rich in the auction. He made his List A debut in September this year, playing for Rajasthan in the Vijay Hazare Trophy but had already represented his state in the T20 format in the 2018-’19 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
He would have first attracted the attention of teams when he picked 12 wickets in seven matches at an economy rate of 4.37 during the Youth one-dayers. With Anil Kumble at the helm at KXIP now, this will also be a great opportunity for Bishnoi to learn from one of the best in the business.
Priyam Garg (SRH - Rs 1.9 crore)
India’s U-19 skipper Priyam Garg still remembers when his father used to sell milk from door to door during the day and slip a Rs 10 note to him at night so that he could travel to Meerut for cricket nets. But he can rest assured that his dad won’t have to go down that path anymore.
A product of the Sanjay Rastogi’s academy in Meerut, which has produced swing bowlers Praveen Kumar and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the youngster broke through last year when he amassed 867 runs for UP in his maiden Ranji Trophy season, including one double hundred, two centuries and five fifties.
He is said to be a very stylish batsman who hardly ever hits an ugly shot. Much will depend on the frame of mind that he enters the IPL in. If he comes back with the U-19 Trophy, one can be sure that the added confidence will make him one to watch out for.
Virat Singh (SRH - Rs 1.9 crore)
The left-handed Virat Singh has been around for a while, having made his domestic cricket debut for Jharkhand in the 2014-’15 season. The 22-year-old is a top-order batsman who hit 343 runs in 10 innings at an average of 57.16 and a strike rate of 142.32 in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. His unbeaten 76 off 44 balls against eventual champions Karnataka showed that he can swing it with the best.
But over the years, he has shown a particular affinity for T20s – in 56 matches in the format, he has scored 1552 runs at an average of 35.27 and a strike-rate of 124.45.
Virat also did well in the Vijay Hazare Trophy. He scored 335 runs at an average of 83.75, which included a hundred and two fifties.
Kartik Tyagi (RR - Rs 1.3 crore)
Rajasthan Royals co-owner Manoj Badale on Thursday said Indian under-19 players Yashasvi Jaiswal and Kartik Tyagi were bought as future prospects for the team.
Kartik’s journey has not been an easy one. His father has a small farm in UP’s Dhanaura region but he has made his way to the Indian U-19 team on the back of solid performances.
He made his first-class debut for Uttar Pradesh in the 2017–’18 Ranji Trophy in October 2017 and his List A debut during the 2017–’18 Vijay Hazare Trophy.
The fast bowler has a smooth action and can touch 145 km/h per hour when in a good rhythm. But it will be just as important to build the physique and not get injured and the stint with RR might help in that regard too.