There was something unique when the complete list of 351 players for the IPL 2017 auction was made official last week.
For the first time ever, five Afghanistan players -- Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Dawlat Zadran and Mohamad Asghar Stanikzai, were set to be auctioned, and two of them have already bagged an IPL 2017 contract with Sunrisers Hyderabad, who picked Nabi and Khan in Bengaluru on Monday.
Nabi became the first player from Afghanistan to be picked in any IPL auction. The all-rounder was picked by Sunrisers for Rs 30 lakhs, which was the opening as well as the closing bid. Though other teams might not have shown interest in acquiring Nabi, the case was different with Khan.
The leg-break bowler, who had a base price of Rs 50 lakh, received major bidding from Mumbai Indians as well. Sunrisers Hyderabad were desperate to sign the bowler, and outbid Mumbai, raising the paddle everytime MI officials lifted it up.
With SRH having released Karn Sharma, their aggressive bidding makes absolute sense as they were looking for a quality spinner. Bipul Sharma is their other spinner.
SRH, after picking Afghanistan players in the auction, have increased their fan base as cricket fans in Afghanistan will genuinely be supporting the defending champions.
Both Nabi and Khan have been decent performers for Afghanistan, which played an important role in helping them earn a good deal. Nabi has scored 704 runs and taken 56 wickets in 52 T20 matches, while Khan has been impressive with the ball, picking 31 wickets in 21 matches.
However, two (Shahzad and Mohamad Asghar) out of the five players remained unsold during the morning session of the IPL 2017 auction. Dawlat Zadran will also be up for grabs in the afternoon session. Even if he is not picked instantly, there are chances that all the three unsold players might come up once again in the auction if the franchises want their rebidding to be done later in the afternoon.