57 players were sold for a whopping total of Rs. 14,530 lakhs (145.3 crores) at the 2021 IPL Auction and we rate each team’s performance at the auction tables where we saw records shattered and plenty of big names go under the hammer ahead of this year’s IPL.
One of the most successful IPL franchises of all time, MS Dhoni and the Chennai Super Kings were expected to reboot ahead of the mini auction, after a poor campaign in 2020. The Chennai franchise, for the first time in their history, did not qualify for the playoffs last year but came into the mini auction keeping the faith in their core and releasing just six players, which also included the retirement of Shane Watson.
Dhoni seems to have banked on experience going into one more season ahead of a larger auction and with that in mind, CSK seemed to have a set shopping list coming to the auction table, knowing exactly what the skipper wanted.
AUCTION RATING FOR CSK: 8.5 / 10
We give CSK an 8.5 rating for the auction based on the efficiency with which they did their business and the surety with which they secured exactly what they needed. That rating could have easily been bumped up to 9 or more had they released the likes of DJ Bravo who has hit the twilight of his career and faces constant niggles and perhaps Karn Sharma, who hasn’t really been utilized at all thus far. Those releases would have given them over 10cr and opened up options to go after younger, more exciting talent that was available at the auction.
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CSK’s BEST BUY OF THE AUCTION
CSK turned up to the auction with a very clear plan of finding an Off-Spinning All-Rounder to replace the released Harbhajan Singh & Kedar Jadhav, and that was evident with their early bidding war with neighbours RCB for Glenn Maxwell. CSK was ready to spend a colossal sum of 14cr for the Aussie before bailing on the bid and handing him to Virat Kohli’s squad at 14.25cr. For CSK however that may have proved to be a blessing in disguise as they then went after what many thought would have been their first option, Moeen Ali. In all probability, had Moeen’s name popped up before Maxi, it’s highly unlikely that CSK would have chased Maxwell that hard!
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The feel good buy of the auction was possibly Cheteshwar Pujara at 50L but Moeen Ali (7cr) at less than half the price of Glenn Maxwell has to be the buy of the auction for CSK. The Englishman can not only bowl at any stage of the innings but also gives MS Dhoni the option of a left-handed batsman who can float through the order and hit the ball a long way from ball one! Stephen Fleming, the management and Dhoni have a habit of getting the maximum out of one’s potential and we’ve seen that with several cricketers including R Ashwin whose career was ignited at CSK, and it could be the case with both Moeen & K Gowtham who have both been massively underutilized by their franchises in the past.
GOWTHAM BECOMES CSK’s MOST EXPENSIVE BUY AT AN AUCTION
At 9.25Cr, many might argue that CSK paid more than most would have for uncapped Indian all-rounder, K Gowtham. But, as we said earlier, MSD has a habit of squeezing the most out of his men and we may well see the best version of the Karnataka hard-hitting batting all-rounder in this edition, with a specific role in mind from his skipper.
BASE PRICE (Cr)
SELL PRICE (Cr)
The addition of Robin Uthappa (via trade) was a smart one given the void that Watson left behind and the bond between Robin & MSD could see Uthappa play with the freedom that we all would love to watch. CSK also added Harisankar Reddy, Bhagat Varma and local Tamil Nadu hard-hitting batsman Hari Nishanth to the squad to add the exuberance of youth but perhaps also to bring down the average age of the popularly known “Dad’s Army”! CSK had a horrid season in 2020 but expect them to bring back the consistency that we all expect from the 3-time title-winning franchise!
[Image Credit: Chennai Super Kings]