The 2019 Indian Premier League Auctions saw 351 players go under the hammer in an action-packed event in Jaipur on Tuesday. In total, about 60 players were sold, which included 40 Indian players and 20 overseas players. Like in IPL 2018 Auctions, Jaydev Unadkat, who had fetched Rs 11.5 crore at that time, broke the bank in this season as well as he became the joint-highest bid Indian, going to the Rajasthan Royals for Rs 8.4 crore. However, in what was a sensational bid, Varun Chakaravarthy, an unknown mystery spinner who had impressed in the Tamil Nadu Premier League, matched Unadkat’s bid and he went for the same price to Kings XI Punjab.
The story of Chakaravarthy is unique and inspiring. He played in school cricket without much success and he quit the game to pursue a career in academics. However, his love for the game was rekindled and he got back into the game. He played for a fourth division of a Chennai club and he reaped massive success. This got him a spot in the Tamil Nadu Premier League and he bowled brilliantly to guide Siechem Madurai Panthers to the title with nine wickets at an astonishing economy of 4.7.
Speaking to News 18 before the auction, Chakaravarthy said it was his love for the game that got him back into the game. “I don't know, I just built up so much pressure inside me and it blasted... I just quit. I walked in and right away said I want to stop working and I came back. I told my parents that my mind was not there, I just wasn't able to do it. They understood and supported me, although I didn't know what I was going to do next. I dusted off my old kit bag which I hadn't used for six years. I didn't know anything else. I had to take up cricket again,” Chakaravarthy had said.
Uncapped players rule
Along with Chakaravarthy, the other uncapped players who had a great time was Shivam Dube. The left-hander, touted by Sunil Gavaskar as the next Yuvraj Singh for his clean-hitting, gave the IPL franchisees a glimpse of his talent when he hit Swapnil Singh for five sixes in one over in the Ranji Trophy game between Mumbai and Baroda which ended in a draw. He was picked up for Rs 5 crore by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
However, the story of Prabhsimran Singh, the 17-year-old Punjab batsman, is inspiring to say the least. Prabhsimran, not picked for the U-19 World Cup, grabbed the attention of the cricketing public in India when he smashed a magnificent 298 in the Punjab U-23 Inter-District Cricket Tournament. Earlier, Prabhsimran had scored over 500 runs in the Cooch Behar Trophy. In October, he helped the India U-19 team win the Asia Cup with a blazing 37-ball 65. He was picked up for Rs 4.8 crore by Kings XI Punjab. Prayas Barman, a 16-year-old Bengal legspinner and batsman, was the other surprise millionaire when he was picked up for Rs 1.5 crore by Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Curran rules the world
For the second season running, an English player dominated the IPL Auction. Ben Stokes had become the highest paid overseas player in the 2018 IPL Auction when he was picked up by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12 crore. In 2019, Sam Curran, whose all-round skills had helped England win the series against India 4-1, was the big buy among the overseas players as he went for Rs 7.2 crore to Kings XI Punjab. Along with Curran, South Africa batsman Colin Ingram also went for Rs 6.4 crore to Delhi Capitals.
Earlier, it was the West Indies players who set the cash counters ringing. Carlos Barthwaite went to Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 5 crore while Shimron Hetmyer, who dazzled for the West Indies in the series against India, went for Rs 4.2 crore to Royal Challengers Bangalore. The other notable buys were Jonny Bairstow to Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 2.2 crore while Martin Guptill went for his base price of Rs 1 crore to the same franchise.
Return of the Indian bowlers
In this IPL 2019 Auction, the Indian bowlers reaped rich benefits. Mohit Sharma, who had a fruitful association with Chennai Super Kings a couple of seasons ago, returned to the franchise for Rs 5 crore. Ishant Sharma, who was unsold for several seasons, is back at home with the Delhi Capitals getting him for Rs 1.1 crore. Mohammed Shami, who picked up career-best figures of 6/56 in the Perth Test against Australia, was taken by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 4.8 crore. Axar Patel, who had not featured prominently in the league for a couple of seasons, was one of the major buys for Delhi Capitals with Rs 5 crore. Varun Aaron, who had played county cricket for Leicestershire, is also back in the IPL after he was bought for Rs 2.4 crore by Rajasthan Royals.
Hanuma Vihari was the first player to be bought in this IPL 2019 Auction as he went for Rs 2 crore to Delhi Capitals. The major names who went unsold in the auction are Cheteshwar Pujara, Dale Steyn, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Chris Woakes and Brendon McCullum. In the last hour, there was relief for Yuvraj Singh as the star left-hander was purchased by the Mumbai Indians for his base price of Rs 1 crore.