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Well, the much-awaited razzmatazz is here. Amid all the gloom surrounding India's tumultuous overseas performances, this surely arrives as a breathing space for the zillions of fans. No matter how much sceptical we can be about India's dismal performances outside India, one thing we must not forget, the league is going to be played, in India, in conditions that are well suited for them. Am I being sarcastic? Well, interpretations are always welcome. Without further ado, let's have a look at some of the interesting stories from the first day of the auction. No buyers for the stalwarts with the most sixes and the most wickets in IPL The drama starts from here. Once a darling of the franchises, found no buyers this time, at least on Day 1 one of the auction. Yes, the names are Christopher Henry Gayle and Lasith Malinga. The Caribbean marauder has hit the most number of sixes(265) in the history of the IPL. Once a nightmare of the bowlers, Gayle powered RCB to the IPL finals in the first season he played for them. His name became synonymous with the tournament, ever since he had set the stage on fire for the Bangalore franchise. He was unsold then as well, only to return to the RCB side as a replacement of an injured Dirk Nannes. Source: Chris Gayle The Gayle storm, however, in the last few years showed signs of depreciation and that reflected in his numbers as well. In the last edition of the IPL, Gayle scored a meagre 200 runs at a strike rate 122.69, which is way low than his overall strike rate of 148.98. Gayle, the match-winner, turned into a liability for the RCB side and this year, the man from Jamaica found no buyers, on the 1st day of the auction. The similar fate awaited for the Sri Lankan speedster Lasith Malinga. Mumbai Indians can surely never forget the services offered to them by this Sri Lankan genius. That round-arm action, with those toe-crushing yorkers, made Malinga a legend in the T20 format, and his performances in the IPL only elevated his status to the next level. With 154 wickets in 110 games, Malinga helped Mumbai lift the coveted IPL trophy thrice. The economy of 6.86 and average of 19.01 only speak volumes about the man's credentials. However, like Gayle, his strengths too have deteriorated with age and he also showed signs of decay, when he took only 11 wickets in the 13 matches he played in IPL 2017 at an economy of 8.52 which is way higher than his overall IPL economy of 6.88. The days have gone by. And now the stalwarts are standing at such a juncture, where they must have surely asked a question to themselves-For how long, mate, for how long, do you want to continue? This IPL auction might just be the answer they were looking for.
Indian young batsmen-rake in the moolahIf KL Rahul's way of dismissals in the ongoing South Africa series has bothered you, please take a back seat as the young man from Karnataka earned a whopping bid of 11 crores to be sold to the Kings XI Punjab who seemed to be on a shopping spree, in the day one of the auction. Manish Pandey too earned the same amount as Rahul did, and he was sold to the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Kedar Jadhav and Karun Nair also earned hefty amounts as they were sold to the Chennai and Punjab franchise for 7.8 and 5.6 crores respectively. Manish Pandey (Source: Times of India) The absence of footwork was pretty evident for Rahul and Pandey when they were bamboozled by Suranga Lakmal in the 1st ODI of the Sri Lanka series. However, who cares about footwork, when you can blindly slog and earn a few brownie points for your side! The ODIs in South Africa will be an eye-opener for these young men, but as long as they are playing in India, they can be happy with the amount they are going to earn. Deep down, will there be a voice inside their heads, which might just prompt them to put their best feet forward? The answers will be there for everyone to see
Under 19 Indian players- Was it right to put them on the market?The coach of the Indian Under 19 cricket team, Rahul Dravid might just have to put in some extra words before his side takes on the archrivals Pakistan in the high-voltage semi-final clash of the Under 19 world cup. Some of the players of the side earned in crores in the day one of the IPL auctions and everyone would hope that the heads of the players do not turn in the wrong direction. If you ask me, I am personally against putting up these players for auction and even if they are in the auction, there must be a price cap for them, just to give them a feel about how hard it is to sustain at the highest level. The differences of their salary caps with the senior cricketers will give them the much-needed urge to do well in order to reach that level. The likes of Prithvi Shaw, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shubhman Gill have looked promising and it will be disastrous for India if they fail to live up to their price tags and that become a baggage for them to carry. There are positives as well, but if one starts to calculate the positives and negatives, the side of the negatives might just pip the other, keeping in mind the dubious fate of many a promising young talent.
The story of coming back home for the Indian legendsWell, you never forget your roots and after the end of the day one of the auctions, Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir might just feel that at the twilight years of their cricketing career, how appropriate it would be if they could finish on a high note representing the states, from where they started their cricketing sojourn. KXIP Punjab bought back their former skipper, Yuvraj Singh, who led them in the first few editions of the Indian Premier League; and for Gambhir, it was like leaving his'second home' for the first, as he returned to the Delhi Daredevils side after a gap of seven long years. They both would hope that they have enough ammunition up their sleeves to end their careers on a high.
The mixed fortunes of the England playersEveryone expected the English players to fill their bags with loads of money, but barring Ben Stokes, who once again was the highest buy of IPL 2018 with 12.5 Crores (Last year, he was bought for a whopping 14.5 crores by the Pune Franchise), no one seemed to make it big at the auctions. Even some of the huge names including Joe Root remained unsold at the auctions. Buttler and Roy went really cheap for their liking, 4.4 crores and 1.5 crores to Rajasthan and Delhi respectively and Woakes might have reasons to smile as he bagged 7.4 crores and was bought by Virat Kohli led Royal Challengers Bangalore. Ben Stokes (Source: Mirror UK) Surprisingly, England Test skipper Joe Root and Johnny Bairstow didn't find any buyers, despite having rich portfolios to show for. Root's T20 average in India is 53.57 and he plays the shit anchor role to perfection. Bairstow's case is also a bemusing one given the kind of form he is currently in and he is a brilliant fielder as well. Moeen Ali also went for cheap as the Bangalore franchise secured his services for a meagre 1.7 crores. As Harsha rightly said, 'Two completely different aspects of our game today. Commerce ruling in T20 in a very interesting IPL auction. And a riveting test match reaching a climax.(Cricbuzz)' The commerce side of the game surely made the headlines throughout the day before the purest format took over the charge, as the Indian cricket team triumphed over the South Africans on a track that tested their skills and characters.