The IPL 2016 Player Auction had some big marquee players in the first hat, and it did throw in some surprises. Martin Guptill was one of the biggest surprises, as none of the teams bid for the New Zealand opener, even when his name was brought back in the accelerated process of the auction later on in the afternoon.
Shane Watson, who was bought for Rs 9.5 crore by Royal Challengers Bangalore, was the costliest buy at the auction in Bengaluru. Former Chennai Super Kings' player Pawan Negi was bought for Rs 8.5 cr by the Delhi Daredevils, making him the most expensive Indian buy. Negi could prove to be quite valuable for Delhi with his all-round skills.
Kevin Pietersen and Yuvraj Singh were bought for Rs 3.5 crore and Rs 7 crore by the Rising Pune Supergiants and Sunrisers Hyderabad respectively. SRH also bought Ashish Nehra for Rs 5.5 crore.
However, Guptill remaining unsold has to be the major highlight, along with Watson bagging a mega deal.
Did the franchises not do their homework on Guptill before the auction? Guptill has been scoring runs with utmost ease for his country in coloured clothing. He was expected to be one of the most expensive buys as he can go hammer and tongs at the top of the order.
What makes it even more surprising is that the New Zealand batsman only had a base price of Rs 50 lakh, which should have prompted teams to at least to put in a bid. To be fair, form-wise, Guptill deserved a big deal, but, perhaps, the fact that most teams have settled opening partnerships worked against him.
Another player who nearly went unsold was Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch, who was not picked up in the first phase, before being bought by the Gujarat Lions for Rs 1cr during the accelerated auction process.
RCB dug deep into their pockets to sign Watson for Rs 9.5 crore. Watson will strengthen the already deadly batting lineup, which includes AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli. Mumbai Indians also wanted to sign the all-rounder, but lost out to RCB.
Watson was sold at an even higher price than Yuvraj Singh and Kevin Pietersen, who were expected to be the two most expensive buys in the IPL. Yuvraj is expected to strengthen SRH's batting lineup, which includes David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan and Eoin Morgan.
The two new teams for IPL 2016 -- Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions – did some pretty smart business, with RPS signing Ishant Sharma (Rs 3.8 crore) and Pietersen, and Lions buying Dale Steyn and Dwayne Smith.
Complete list of marquee players sold
Shane Watson - RCB Rs 9.5 crore.
Yuvraj Singh - SRH Rs 7 crore.
Ashish Nehra - SRH Rs 5.5 crore.
Ishant Sharma - RPS Rs 3.8 crore.
Kevin Pietersen - RPS Rs 3.5 crore.
Dale Steyn - Gujarat Lions Rs 2.3 crore.
Dwayne Smith - Gujarat Lions Rs 2.3 crore.
Aaron Finch - Gujarat Lions Rs 1 crore.