Thoughts on the Auction

Feb 20, 2017

After the Auction..

It had all the makings of a classic business school case. Auction and Game theory. We could even call out parallels from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” the way it played out initially.

Teams waited for someone to make a move on the first pool of batsmen only. It was only when Diana Eduljee picked out the allrounders that the franchises seemed to warm up to the occasion. It was fascinating watching the exchange when Ben Stokes’ name came up for bidding. Mumbai didn’t care about disguising their intent – they kept their card high whoever the rival bidder was. It was only after the bid reached beyond ₹ 12 lakh that they withdrew. Pune seemed to have come up from behind – I didn’t expect them to go so far.  For a passage where no balls were bowled and no shots were hit – it was tense and exciting. At least now it means that Brathwaite and Stokes might face off again in a T20 match – isn’t that a delicious prospect.

I see lots of analyses in different websites. Stokes’ above is the one that seems to come up most often but it was also the day of uncapped Indian players.

One of the reasons I was keen on watching the Mushtaq Ali zonal T20 tournament was to build a sense of familiarity with the names that showed up at the auction.  Most names that came up in the auction were not surprising mainly because the amount of time scouts have spent digging up records and dissecting performances in various tournaments. Ishank Jaggi was a surprising name to be omitted earlier and it was great to see him reinstated in the auction first and later picked up by his Eastern Zone franchise.

I alluded to the IPL being the stage for unknown performers to step up and demand their time in the spotlight. Looks like we have too many contenders from the “unknown” side of the house. Would be watching them keenly. If I were to bet I think Ishan Kishen, the Sri Lankan Gunaratne, Nathu Singh and Natrarajan might be the ones who put their hand up.

There was also a lot of analysis on the players who went unsold. It’s not great for the players who were left out but it looks like franchises were very clear and focused on their goals. I was a bit surprised to see Ishaant coming in at a base price of ₹2 crore.

There were quiet comebacks also seen yesterday. Only yesterday I alluded to Manpreet Gony as being one of the guys who had a fleeting moment in  the IPL sun only to fade away quickly.  Apparently the scouts at Gujarat Lions think he still has the fire burning. Hopefully they are right. No better sight in sport than a resurgence and redemption.

I think the auction provided just enough of a teaser to whet my appetite for the real action. But before that there is the other clash of the summer – India vs Australia.

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