IPL Mega Auction: Franchises cautious while going for U-19 stars; uncapped players strike it big

Chennai, February 14

Cricket is a lot about timing and the Under-19 cricket team got it just right by lifting the World Cup triumph before IPL's Mega Auction. But did that translate into big bucks for the stars of that triumph?

At the end of two days of bidding wars, it seems the franchises chose to tread on the side of caution when it came to loosening the purse strings for the newest batch of young talent in Indian cricket.

While some uncapped, but proven performers like Avesh Khan, were laughing all their way to the bank with bids as high as Rs 10 crore, only a few of the Under-19 stars, skipper Yash Dhull included, managed to land deals with IPL teams in the two-day mega auction held in Bengaluru.

Dhull, a product of the academy run by Delhi Capitals and top-scorer of the U-19 World Cup, was picked up for Rs 50 lakh by the franchise that groomed him.

Exciting all-rounder Raj Bawa won a Rs 2 crore bid from Punjab Kings, while Rajvardhan Hangargekar (with a base price Rs 30 lakh) was roped in by four-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings for Rs 1.50 crore.

Dhull's teammate Vicky Ostwal was snapped up by Delhi Capitals later in the auction at his base price of Rs 20 lakh.

Hangargekar, the new entrant into the CSK stable, will hope to learn tricks of the trade from the legendary M S Dhoni, skipper of the four-time champion franchise.

The talented Maharashtra all-rounder is known for the ability to bowl yorkers at will, not so easy at any level, and can only get better by rubbing shoulders with Dhoni and the other big names at Super Kings.

It must be said that the various IPL teams seemed to be cautious while bidding for the under-19 players and did not appear ready to splurge. Bawa, who is rated highly for his all-round skills, won the biggest bid among his U-19 teammates.

While the teams did not go after Indian under-19 aces in a big way, South African Dewald Brevis, nicknamed 'Baby AB' and tipped to be the country's future cricket superstar, was snapped up by Mumbai Indians for Rs 3 crore where he would line up alongside Indian white ball captain Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and others.

Unlike in previous years when the under-19 players were in focus and even got lucrative offers, this time the franchises were rather subdued when it came to locking in the junior stars as evidently, it takes for them to be mature enough for top-flight cricket.

In previous years, under-19 stars like Prithvi Shaw and Shubman Gill, among others, have earned IPL contracts following their exploits at the marquee junior tournament.

Shaw, who was roped in by Delhi for Rs 1.2 crore in 2018 and Gill have since graduated to the senior team and established themselves as names to be reckoned with.

Like Shaw, Gill was signed up by Kolkata Knight Riders while he was in New Zealand for the under-19 World Cup and has since made a name for himself with some noteworthy performances for the national senior team.

While some of the members of the 2018 under-19 World Cup side like Shaw and Gill have made it big, some others like Shivam Mavi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Ishan Porel and Riyan Parag have been on the fringes. They featured in the IPL but not a regular basis.

Mavi, who is rated highly, got lucky and was picked by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 7.75 crore (base price Rs 40 lakh) while Kartik Tyagi, a key performer in the under-19 World Cup in 2020, was netted by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 4 crore.

Arshdeep Singh, a member of the victorious under-19 WC team in 2018, has struck it rich after being retained ahead of the auctions by Punjab Kings for Rs 4 crore after impressing in IPL 2021.

Left-handed batter Yashasvi Jaiswal is another of those from the under-19 teams to have been in the spotlight.

The star of India's campaign in 2020, which the saw the team lose to Bangladesh in the final, the Mumbaikar was bought by Rajasthan Royals in 2020 auction at Rs 2.4 crore and was retained by the same franchise ahead of the mega auction for Rs 4 crore.

Jaiswal's teammate in the 2020 under-19 WC, Ravi Bishnoi is another name who has hit paydirt already.

The leg-spinner, who was highest wicket-taker in the event in South Africa, was picked by Punjab Kings in 2020 for Rs 2 crore but was released before this season only to be roped in by new team Lucknow Super Giants for Rs 4 crore.

While the Indian players from previous under-19 World Cups have been able to get big-ticket deals, the current bunch, which was considered a notch lower when compared to teams of the past, got lukewarm response at the IPL auction this time.

As for the uncapped players, Avesh (base price Rs 20 lakh) got a Rs 10 crore contract with Lucknow Super Giants and became the most expensive uncapped Indian buy at the auction.

Avesh's auction price was 50 times his base price and beat K Gowtham's price of Rs 9.25 crore (by CSK) in 2021.

That's not all, Tamil Nadu power-hitter Shahrukh Khan earned a Rs 9 crore bid from Punjab Kings after having been purchased by the same team for Rs 5.25 crore last year.

One season wonder Rahul Tewatia went for Rs 9 crore to Gujarat Titans and Rahul Tripathi earned a Rs 8.50 crore contract with Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Nippy left-arm pacer Yash Dayal from Uttar Pradesh, who went to new team Gujarat Titans for Rs 3.2 crore and Himachal Pradesh bowler Vaibhav Arora bought for Rs 2 crore by Punjab Kings were the other uncapped players who got good deals.

Tamil Nadu spinner R Sai Kishore (snapped up by Gujarat Titans for Rs 3 crore) was another big deal grabber among those who haven't yet donned the India colours. PTI

Courtesy: Tribune India

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