The IPL 2016 Auction threw up some big surprises – it was a day where reputation and records went to the dumps, and stategy and playing according to your strengths and conditions came to the forefront. Imagine a Hashim Amla or a Tillakaratne Dilshan or someone as classy as a Mahela Jayawardene getting ignored while a Pawan Negi becomes a millionaire. This is the beauty of the IPL – and the IPL 2016 Auction was a classic case of teams spending according to their needs and available purse. Here, we look at 5 of the biggest and most exciting superstars unsold at this year’s IPL Auction.
1. Usman Khawaja
The southpaw was expected to be a hot commodity at this year’s IPL Auction after racking up 345 runs in 4 matches including two centuries for Sydney Thunder in this year’s Big Bash tournament in Australia. The left handed Islamabad-born Australian cricketer was instrumental in Sydney Thunder’s maiden BBL win earlier this year and earned his way back into the Australian fold for the NZ tour – scoring 50 off 49 in Wellington earlier today. But the IPL teams opted for young Indian talent instead of exciting foreign players and Khawaja remained unpicked.
2. Martin Guptill
Another big-hitting limited overs batsman ideally suited to the T20 format, but overlooked at the IPL 2016 Auction. One could argue the teams were looking at players who have proven themselves in Indian conditions, which is the best reason why none of the IPL franchisees placed a bid for the swash buckling New Zealand opener. Guptill, who was listed as one of the eight marquee players to be presented in the first lot, had his base price set at Rs 50 lakh but there was no interest when his lot came up before the end of a New Zealand innings in which he made 31 off 45 balls. Understandable decision given the conditions, but another big name misses the cut!
3. Michael Hussey
The veteran was ignored at the IPL 2016 Auction despite leading his BBL side Sydney Thunder to a maiden win in this year’s tournament. Hussey, who has represented the likes of Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians in previous editions of the tournament, had his reserve price set at Rs 2 crore, which meant teams were unwilling to pay such a huge amount despite the wealth of quality and experience at the Australian’s disposal. Made perfect business and cricketing sense, but it is always disappointing to see another legend miss out.
4. George Bailey
The former captain of the Kings XI Punjab, who led the franchise to the final of the IPL 2014, would be very disappointed not to attract a single bidder at this year’s IPL Auction. Bailey, who has been in scintillating form with the Australian team in the recently concluded ODI series against India, failed to impress the eight teams that his base price of Rs 1 crore was worth it. And to add to his troubles, Bailey was dismissed for a golden duck against New Zealand. Talk about a bad day!
5. Jimmy Neesham
Jimmy Neesham, arguably the funniest cricketer on Twitter, tweeted a picture with the caption “I understand nothing,” after missing out on the IPL Auction. Neesham whose base price was Rs 1 crore failed to attract any bids and remained unsold. Neesham is a handy seam bowling allrounder who could have added value and quality to any franchise but was overlooked, much like his Kiwis Nathan McCullum and Grant Elliott.