Thursday, February 21, 2008

The BID-O-METER - Who were the Smartest Bidders?

The cricket world came to a standstill yesterday as all those who mattered gathered around the Hilton Towers in Mumbai and spent millions on cricketers for their IPL franchises. The media frenzy and crowd pull to the cricketers auction was such that other cricket happenings around the world went by unnoticed.

England and New Zealand played out a 340 run tied ODI match, which was probably the most interesting ODI in recent times, the U-19 world cup marched on with its 4th day of matches, a Duleep Trophy Final was being played at the Wankhede, and the ICC announced a shorter 2011 World Cup.

Despite all this, all eyes were on the auction. So how did the bidders fare? Who were the smart ones? Who got it wrong? My Bidometer answers all your questions.

Team Jaipur
Franchisee: Emerging Media
They picked an able leader in Shane Warne at a good bargain along with a potentially dangerous opening combination in Smith and Langer. The middle order looks good too with Younis Khan and Kaif, however the two may not be suited to the T20 game. In Kamran Akmal they have a valuable late order batsman ideal or the T20 game, however their bowling picks look thin - apart from Shane Warne there is Munaf Patel whose history of breaking down makes him a risky choice. They dished out over a million for Yusuf Pathan and Kaif, which is on the high side in my opinion. Apart from Warne, there isn't much star value in the team either, which is essential to oull the crowd in.
Bidometer: 3/10

Chennai Super Kings
Franchisee: India Cements
They made sure that they pick the T20 world cup winning captain in Dhoni, who along with being a sound leader in the shorter versions of the game, also adds the star value required to pull a crowd and add to the brand equity of India Cements. They also got it right with the openers in Hayden and Fleming and a good looking middle order with MEK Hussey and Raina. Add to that hard hitting allrounders Oram and Albie Morkel followed by Dhoni and the Super Kings' batting line up looks very strong. On the bowling front Ntini and Murali are potentially threatening; and they've also got India's T20 WC star Joginder Sharma to bowl the last overs of the innings. They got a very good deal for Hayden and Hussey but may have over paid for Oram and Morkel - but if those sixes start flowing in the last few overs with these 2 in the middle, $1.3 million for both of them may prove to be worth it.
Bidometer: 7/10

Team Mumbai
Franchisee: Reliance India Limited
Mukesh Ambani and his men were blessed with Sachin as their Icon and they ensured that they get te best opening partner for him - Sanath Jayasuriya. This is a dream opening combination for any team and I reckon the best opening pair that will walk out once the IPL kicks off. Both of them bring ample star appeal to the team as well. With Uthappa in the mix they've got a solid top order but the middle order is missing. As is the wicket keeper. Mumbai missed a trick there but they ended the bidding war on a good note by stocking up their bowling with Pollock, Malinga, Fernando, and Harbhajan. Thats a very varied attack and has the potential to trouble all the oppositions batsmen - probably one of the best bowling attacks picked up at the auction. I think they dished out way too much for Bhajji and Uthappa but it got it right with the other bids.
Bidometer: 6/10

Bangalore Royal Challengers
Franchisee: UB Group
Vijay Mallya had Rahul Dravid by his side during the auction but even he could not help Bangalore pick suitable men for the T20 game. Dravid, Kallis, Chanderpaul, and Wasim Jaffer look more like a test batting line up than one for a T20 match. Moreover, they spent as much as $900,000 for Kallis, who was dropped by his national team for the T20 World Cup played in his own backyard. On the bowling front however, with Steyn, Bracken, and Zaheer they probably picked up the best pace battery out of all franchisees and all at very good prices. They got a very good deal for the best keeper in the world, Boucher, and they gambled half a million on Cameron White. With the 3 pacers, White, and Kumble; Dravid has managed a varied and dangerous attack but the batting is on the weak side and apart from home boy Dravid, Bangalore haven't really managed any crowd pullers.
Bidometer: 5/10

Team Hyderabad
Franchisee: Deccan Chronicle
VVS Laxman withdrew his Icon status so that his team could play with a larger budget. That worked very well for they picked up the most apt batsmen for the T20 game - in Gilchrist, Symonds, Afridi, and Gibbs they've got a hard hitting batting line up that will send shivers down the spines of bowlers, they've got multi dimensional cricketers, and they've got the stars that can fill the stadiums. Add Laxman, Styris, Chamara Silva and Rohit Sharma to that batting line up and you've got the strongest one out of the eight. The bowling picks area a bit weak though with all left armers in RP, Vaas, and Zoysa. They made sure they pay high for the stars, which makes sense but $875K for RP is probably too high.
Bidometer: 8/10

Team Mohali
Franchisee: Preity Zinta led Consortium
They started off with probably the best T20 batsmen in Yuvraj as their Icon and made sure they got one of the best middle orders with Mahela and King Sanga who will get to work with their World Cup coach Tom Moody, along woth Katich and Sarwan who were picked up at good bargains. But they didn't pick any openers. Priety also managed to grab a lethal new ball attack in Lee, Pathan, and Sreesanth who will be well supported with spinner Powar and Chawla - plus all 5 bowlers have the ability with the bat as well. They've got the crowd pullers in Yuvi, Lee, and Pathan but the openers slot is a major issue.
Bidometer: 7/10

Team Kolkata
Franchisee: Shahrukh Khan's Red Chillies Entertainment
Being the King of entertainment Shahrukh Khan made sure he fills his side with entertainers in Shoaib Akhtar, Ponting, and Gayle - all more than able cricketers. Led by Ganguly, the prince of Kolkata and SRK's managed the players who can fill up the 100,000 plus seats at the Eden Gardens. Shoaib sharing the new ball with Ishant Sharma followed by Umar Gul's toe busting yorkers looks like a solid pace attack on paper which can be ably supported by the spin of Gayle and Murali Karthik. They also gambled by paying a pricey $675K for arguably Australia's best T20 batsman in David Hussey. Add McCullum as the keeper to the mix and Kolkata looks like a well balanced side that could be one of the favorites as well as one of th most entertaining side of the competition. SRK bagged the best bargain in the auction with Ponting, Akhtar, and Gul but may have overpaid for Ishant.
Bidometer: 9/10

Delhi Daredevils
Franchisee: GMR Holdings
They didn't pay over a million, made sure their Icon doesn't go over a million, and made sure they got local stars able to turn the game on smartly using the stipulation that allows only 4 international stars in the final XI. Sehwag, Gambhir, Tiwari, and Dinesh Karthik makes for a solid batting line up and all able to take the field and attract the local crowd. Add to that Shoaib Malik , Dilshan and AB De Villiers and the batting line up seems more than decent. Glen McGrath and the Pakistani version Mohammad Asif make for a dream new ball attack and only had they been aggressive on home by Ishant Sharma it would have been perfect. Mahroof and Vettori provide the support to the bowling and Dilshan, Malik, and Sehwag add variety to the spin department. They didn't over pay for anyone and managed smart deals for all their players.
Bidometer: 9/10

Thats how all the bidders fared in my opinion. How smart they all were will be proved once the competition gets underway and how the teams manage their stars in an XI that allows only 4 non-indian players. Who do you think were the smart bidders? Who do you think got it wrong? Let me have your views.

Make your pitch on this post...

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12 Pitched:

  1. Anonymous said...

    Thanks for your excellent work. You have made sense of this for me.

  2. Q said...

    Thank you for your kind comments Brad and welcome to the world of wellpitched.

  3. Obaid said...

    Q, brilliant job with your analysis. Very thorough and compelling work - as brad points out, this whole business is very confusing but you have simplified it

    I cant wait for Tendulkar and Jayasurya to walk out and Asif and McGrath to bowl to them! The pieces are falling together and Im all set for the IPL. Please do a writeup on other such intriguing battles within the competition

  4. Q said...

    Obaid the number of intriguing battles is endless...i was thinking abt this yesterday. Lets see if i can come up with an interesting post.

  5. Anonymous said...

    Good work. But I doubt whether Jayasuriya will fire.

  6. Q said...

    Thanks Ott. Why Jayasuriya?

    Come to think of it, many people can misfire while the most unexpected can fire.

  7. The Atheist said...

    Would anyone like to bid for the ECB? I'll give you a good price.

  8. Q said...

    Welcome Atheist.

    I presume you're talking about the English Cricket Board and not the Emirates Cricket Board.

    The latter is also up for grabs.

  9. Soulberry said...

    Excellent summarization Q. Great thumbnail skect for those who want to know more about IPL.

    I agree with your ratings too.

    Unfortunate that so much cricket was going on on the same day and was ignored (I'm culpable too) but this was a novelty...a first and for just one day!:)

    Right now, I still see this as 70% entertainment. There will be some good cricket played no doubt and passion and support will build up, but it will be nothing compared to international events.

    Part of the excitement is due to the unfamiliarity with league culture and loyalty in cricket, and specifically , in India. Followers of football, basketball are more familiar with it. Cricket has been limited to state/county loyalties and national loyalties. This is a new experience for the unfamiliar.

    That said, with more such enterprises coming up, I actually see a greater appreciation of players across the board rather than from the narrow perspectives of respective loyalties. And that's what a traditional cricket spectator has always wanted...isn't it? :)

  10. Q said...

    Thanx SB

    Thats something ive always done and wanted, i.e. appreciation of cricketers across the board, however as mentioned elsewhere by yourself and me and others on the web, will the spectators actually divide their loyalties or not?

    Only time will tell.

  11. Anonymous said...

    A Good work... but i think u did not take into account that only "a maximum of only 4 overseas players could be in the starting eleven"..

  12. Q said...

    Welcome to Well Pitched Robin Samuel and thanks for your appreciation.

    I did take into account that each team will not be able to field more than 4 internationals. My rating is just based on how smart they were in bidding for the players.

    If you read my conclusion again, this is how I ended the post:

    "How smart they all were will be proved once the competition gets underway and how the teams manage their stars in an XI that allows only 4 non-indian players."

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