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.
The IPL’s most successful franchise arrived at the auction table with minimum requirements and a purse of Rs. 15.35Cr, but with the confidence that they already had the squad that could potentially give them the 3-peat in 2021! It came as no surprise that Rohit Sharma and the Mumbai Indians retained the core of their squad but did have 7 releases including 5 overseas men, with 4 fast bowlers among them.
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Nathan Coulter Nile (at 8cr), James Pattinson (who often carries injury concerns), Mitchell McClenaghan, Sherfane Rutherford and the retired Lasith Malinga were the overseas stars that weren’t retained and it meant that MI would have a pretty straightforward shopping list – overseas fast bowlers / fast-bowling all-rounders & perhaps an Indian spinner to support the lean spin options in the squad.
AUCTION RATING FOR MUMBAI INDIANS: 10 / 10
We’ve talked previously about the need to back your players and over the years, the Mumbai Indians have done just that, and the success is a clear indicator of it working. There’s been minimal chopping and changing and it’s been team over individual for MI, evidence of which we saw in the 2020 Final where Rahul Chahar (who was bowling brilliantly) made way for off-spinner Jayant Yadav purely on the basis of opposition match-ups…and it worked too!
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The plan at the auction was straightforward but the execution was extremely efficient. They released Coutler Nile for 8cr, but buying him back along with Adam Milne (3.2cr) & Jimmy Neesham (50L) meant it was essentially a 3 for the price of 1 deal…and it meant their work was pretty much done! They then could play with the remaining funds and the addition of the experienced Piyush Chawla sits nicely alongside Krunal & Rahul Chahar, should any of them find themselves out of form or injured. Marco Jansen, who featured for South Africa in the U-19 world cup and bowls in excess of 140 km/hr could be an exciting talent too and might have been the work of Proteas skipper, Quinton De Kock. The last buy of the auction in the form of Arjun Tendulkar was somewhat expected and it will be a steep learning curve but the best school of education, in familiar surroundings, for the young left-arm medium-pacer from Mumbai.
MUMBAI’s BEST BUY OF THE AUCTION
While Mumbai avoided any big-name buys, they went after role-specific cricketers to fit their already established team of champions and as such, didn’t really have a standout buy of the auction. In our opinion though, the triple buy of Neesham, Coulter Nile and Milne for roughly the same amount as Coulter Nile’s release was brilliantly done. Jimmy Neesham could thrive in this squad and give them those filler overs alongside Hardik & Pollard while packing a serious punch with the bat at the death too. Neesham has been sensational for New Zealand of late and being a left-hander adds a dimension that could be vital for MI’s middle order as well as joining fellow southpaws Quinton, Ishan Kishen and Krunal.
While Marco Jansen will probably warm the bench for the first half of the tournament at least, it would be great to see this fiery young South African alongside Jasprit Bumrah and Trent Boult on a surface that gives them a little help too.
Mumbai Indians could have sat back with essentially the same side coming into 2021 but in typical fashion, made tiny adjustments which now could once again put them in the driver’s seat as the hot favourites going into the 14th edition of the IPL.
[Image Credit: Mumbai Indians]