57 players were sold in the 2021 IPL auction in what was another battle between the eight franchises involved in the Indian cricket competition. Their rosters will now have been boosted by their latest purchases. The world’s leading T20 players who were free agents learned where their new destination will be ahead of the 14th season of the IPL. Here is a look at what some of the highlights from the action were.
Record Purchase Broken Again
South African bowler Chris Morris became the most expensive player in IPL history when the Rajasthan Royals paid £1.6 million for his services. The fee given by the franchise beats the previous record which came in 2015 when Delhi Daredevils signed Yuvraj Singh for £1.57 million.
The South Africa international will join the likes of Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, and Kartik Tyagi who will all be competing for places in the starting XI next season. As of the 19th February, the Royals were +900 in the outright betting for the IPL for the 2021 season. But what was it about Morris that convinced the Royals that he could help improve those odds?
Well, the 34-year-old has a lot of experience in the IPL, something which would have appealed. He has also collected 80 wickets in the competition since 2013 across 70 matches. His best figures came in 2015 when he picked up 4/23 in a victory over the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Morris is by no means the biggest name bowler in world cricket at the moment. However, Rajasthan were desperate to add to their bowling attack. The 2008 winners finished bottom of the standings last season, winning just six of their 14 matches.
Arjun Tendulkar Set For Debut
One player many cricket fans will be eager to see in the IPL in 2021 is Arjun Tendulkar. The 21-year-old is the son of former India legend Sachin Tendulkar. Reigning IPL winners Mumbai Indians signed the youngster in the auction. He is a player they know very well as he was used in their nets last year.
The left-arm seamer has played two T20 matches for the Mumbai cricket team. He made his debut for the domestic club 2020/21 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, taking one wicket for 34 runs from his three overs. Mumbai Indians fans will be hoping the young cricketer can have the same impact his father had for the franchise. The former captain scored 2,334 runs for the IPL team before he retired from the sport in 2013. His son will now be looking to add great value to the team with the ball.
It is unlikely that Mumbai’s new signing will be thrown straight into their bowling attack in the early stages of the season. They will want him to gain more experience before then. If the opportunity arises through injury or bad form from their bowlers, Tendulkar will be ready to test himself against some of the world’s best batsmen.
Alex Hales Goes Unsold
Arguably the biggest surprise from the 2021 IPL Auction was that Alex Hales was unsold. The opening batsman is one of the most destructive hitters in this format of the game so it was expected there would be a lot of interest in him.
The Englishman shone recently in the 2020/21 KFC Big Bash in Australia. He was the top scorer with 543 runs. Only one other player scored over 500 runs in the competition. Hales hit 30 sixes and 54 fours as he frequently entertained the crowds down under.
What was so impressive about Hales’ performances in Australia was that he was able to score runs at such a quick rate from the start of an innings. This got Perth Scorchers off to a fast start in a lot of their matches.
Hales’ form has led to many pundits in the game calling for the opener to be recalled to the England team this year. He was not selected for their recent tour of India, however, he will be aiming to be back in their set-up for the T20 World Cup in India later this year.
Although he has gone unsold, there is still a good chance a franchise will sign the player before the season begins. If not, if one of the eight teams picks up an injury to one of their openers, expect them to give Hales a call.
The opening match of the 2021 IPL is set to be between the Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals. This year’s competitions will span three months, with the final set for the 6th June in Mumbai.