IPL 2018 Auction: Winners, losers, and surprises

The IPL Auction has finally come and gone, and with it come a number of talking points. Some players have received life-changing contracts, while others were left disappointed by the outcome. Here’s a brief rundown of the winners and losers of the auction, both in terms of players and franchises.

Players

Winners

Ben Stokes was, once again, the biggest winner at the IPL auction. Though he will earn less than he did last year, 2017's most valuable player will net just under $2 million USD to strut his stuff for the Rajasthan Royals in this year’s tournament.

He will be joined in Rajasthan by Jaydev Unadkat. The fast bowler became the most expensive Indian player at the IPL in a surprising $1.8 million bid by the Royals. That he was so highly sought after was no surprisegiven the 26-year-old took 26 wickets in last year’s edition of the IPL, but even Unadkat himself admitted he didn’t expect a deal of that amount.

Big-hitting Australian duo, Chris Lynn and Glenn Maxwell, will both receive substantial pay checks after fetching significant bids from a number of teams. Lynn was the fifth most expensive player to be purchased at the auction, and will receive over $1.5 million USD to represent the Kolkata Knight Riders. Fellow Australian Glenn Maxwell will suit up for the Delhi Daredevils, who will be expecting plenty of big hitting and a few handy overs for the $1.41 million USD they paid for him.

Rounding out the other big winners from the auction were Manish Pandey and KL Rahul, both of whom will receive $1.79 million USD to play for Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab respectively. Australian strike bowler Mitchell Starc went to the Knight Riders for just under $1.5 million USD, while Rashid Khan highlighted the rise of cricket in Afghanistan, receiving $1.41 million to represent Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Losers

There were plenty of talented players left unsold at the auction, demonstrating the depth of quality which will again be present at this year’s tournament. In perhaps the biggest surprise of them all, star pace bowler and stalwart of the Mumbai Indians Lasith Malinga failed to find a home after earning well over $1 million USD last year.

England test captain Joe Root also went unsold, in what was supposed to be his inaugural venture to the world of the IPL.

After a nervous wait, Chris Gayle was finally purchased by Kings XI Punjab, but he will receive a significantpay cut from his previous IPL appearances. Gayle is one of the most destructive batsmen in world cricket, but his inconsistency has obviously cost him after he was purchased for his base price of $314,000 USD. This is less than a third of what he earnt last year, when Royal Challengers Bangalore paid him over $1 million USD.

Among the other high quality names left unsold at the auction include James Faulkner, Angelo Mathews, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Martin Guptill.

Teams

Winners

Royal Challengers Bangalore

An initial look at this year’s squads suggest the Royal Challengers may well be the team to beat in 2018. After retaining two of the best batsmen in the world in Virat Kohl and AB De Villiers, as well as explosive young star Sarfaraz Khan, they bolstered their squad significantly at the draft. Another of the world’s most exciting batsmen in Brendon McCullum will join the squad, and Quinten De Kock, Colin de Grandhomme and Moeen Ali cap off what must be the most exciting batting lineup in the IPL.

Rajasthan Royals

The Rajasthan Royals chose to retain only Steve Smith this year, but they quickly developed the makings of a talented squad at the auction. They kicked things off by buying the most expensive player in the draft, Ben Stokes, before adding a number of great value stars to their list. Ajinkya Rahane is a talented batsmen, while Jos Buttler is arguably the most explosive wicketkeeper-batsman in world cricket. Clearly, their list managers have been watching the Big Bash - impressive young Australian D’Arcy Short has been nothing short of exception in this season’s BBL, and they will enjoy having him at the top of the order, while Jofra Archer adds an element of fear to their bowling attack.

Losers

Delhi Daredevils

The Daredevils look set to remain out of the playoffs this year. They followed a youth strategy during the player retention phase, sticking with Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer, and though they picked up some talent in the draft they look thin compared to their opponents. Glenn Maxwell is capable of winning games off his own bat and will be a valuable addition, while Gautam Gambhir adds an element of experience after being discarded by the Knight Riders. Jason Roy and Colin Munro are capable hitters on their day, but overall this squad looks like it will struggle against the cream of the crop.

Kolkata Knight Riders

After narrowly missing the finals last season, the Knight Riders retained their two West Indian stars in Sunil Narine and Andre Russell. At the draft, they made some solid selections; the batting foursome of David Miller, Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis and Yuvraj Singh is explosive and could put up some big scores, but will also be prone to failure and their bowling lineup does not stack up against the best. They may be missing the finals yet again this year.

Ultimately, all the discussion of the auction’s winners and losers is mere speculation until the tournament kicks off in April. With the auction finally completed though, this speculation at last has some basis to it. To take a look at all the auction results and squad lists, take a look here. Undoubtedly, there will be teams and players who perform surprisingly well, and those who disappoint, but we will have to wait to find out just who these are. The IPL 2018 can’t come quickly enough.