The IPL 2021 auction was a highly exciting event for a lot of reasons. The fans witnessed multiple million-dollar men, a string of domestic cricketers getting bids worth their wait and the fast bowlers and all-rounders being excessively in demand. Thus, most of the players bore their fruit of delivering magnificent performances in the shortest format recently.
Nevertheless, there were a handful of Indian players who the franchises preferred and could have been left out. While such cricketers were undeniably an asset in the past, based on the recent form, the franchise owners had better choices to go after. Having secured their deals already, the teams could only hope that they are worth the amount invested.
IPL 2021 Auction: 5 Indian Players Who Shouldn’t Have Been Picked
Left-arm spinner and lower-order batsman Pawan Negi was the costliest Indian player in the IPL 2016 auction when Delhi Daredevils pouched him for INR 8.5 crores. Pawan Negi surpassed a stalwart like Yuvraj Singh, who fetched seven crores in the bidding event. Nevertheless, Negi had very little to show for it. He played in 11 matches and scored only 119 runs at 29.75.
The franchise might have underutilized him in the bowling department that year as he bowled 1.4 overs but took two wickets in the process. And having played his last IPL game back in 2019, Kolkata Knight Riders’ decision to go for him at INR 50 lakhs (base price) was debatable. The Knight Riders have enough cricketers to cover all their bases. Like in the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2020, Negi might be confined to the bench only.
Considering Kedar Jadhav’s forgettable IPL 2020 campaign, several experts predicted the franchises to give him a pass. And they did the same initially. But during the accelerated session of the auction, SunRisers Hyderabad decided to secure his services at a base price of INR 2 crores. The veteran right-handed batsman was part of Chennai Super Kings last time and they released him.
VVS Laxman, who serves as SunRisers Hyderabad’s mentor, justified the 35-year old’s selection, saying that his experience will strengthen their middle-order. But the Orange Army boasts of a classy and composed batsman like Kane Williamson, who could guide promising youngsters like Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Virat Singh, and Vijay Shankar.
Karun Nair is one batsman with massive potential in his repertoire, even as his records do not say so. Karun Nair was perhaps the first player picked by the auctioneer; however, he earned no bids, going unsold. Towards the end, Kolkata Knight Riders decided to purchase him at his base price of INR 50 lakhs. The 29-year old was part of Kings XI Punjab last year and managed only 16 runs in four games.
While there’s no doubt that Karun Nair remains a handy top-order batsman and could play in the middle-order too, the Knight Riders have plenty of candidates for that role. They have Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, and Dinesh Karthik – all of who are in the pecking order before Nair. Perhaps, the Karnataka batsman could have been a tad useful addition for some other franchise.
While Cheteshwar Pujara’s legacy as India’s one of the best Test players remains etched, it did come as a surprise when Chennai Super Kings picked him up. Cheteshwar Pujara last played in the cash-rich league back in 2014 when he opened the innings for Kings XI Punjab and struggled. It was all the more surprising to see Super Kings bid for him since they struggled in their batting department in 2020.
At the same time, it might be imperative to remember that the right-handed batsman mustered an unbeaten 61-ball hundred in a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy match back in 2019. But if the yellow army does prefer him in the playing eleven, Pujara needs to score at that rate reasonably consistently. But it shouldn’t be at the cost of ignoring players like Ruturaj Gaikwad, Narayanan Jagadeesan, and C Hari Nishanth – all of whom have made compelling cases in T20s.
Arjun Tendulkar, who is the son of the pioneer batsman Sachin Tendulkar entered the IPL 2021 auction for the first time this year. Based on his performances in the 2020-21 edition of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, it hardly seemed like Arjun Tendulkar would gain a contract. However, Mumbai Indians came forward and secured his deal at a base price of INR 20 lakhs.
Arjun Tendulkar might go on to become one of the best cricketers in the future, similar to the likes of Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya, and Krunal Pandya, but he might be far too raw. The performance pressure might already be there, considering he is Sachin Tendulkar’s son. And keeping nepotism murmurs aside, after a full-fledged domestic season and enough experience, the 21-year old getting an IPL contract might have been justified.
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