The Indian Premier League (IPL) is unarguably the best domestic league in the world. It features the best players from across the world. The competition is fierce and intense. There is no place for emotions in the league. IPL has witnessed many events that fail to defy conventional logic. This is certainly visible in the auctions every year. The likes of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith are paid more than a Moeen Ali or a Steve Smith. At times certain exclusions from the auctions tend to make a bigger noise. Players who went unsold in the auctions.
StumpsandBails looks at 5 overseas stars who went unsold in the IPL auctions:
#5 Lasith Malinga
Players Who Went Unsold In Auctions. Lasith Malinga is undoubtedly the greatest bowler in IPL history. He is the leading wicket-taker in the IPL with 170 wickets to his name. The fact that Malinga has just played 9 IPL seasons makes his numbers look unreal. Malinga’s economy rate of 7.14 is flat-out outstanding. His strike rate of 16.62 is sensational. But to think of it that Malinga went unsold in the auctions once says a lot about the bizarreness of the whole situation. Mumbai Indians had released Malinga ahead of the 2018 mega auctions. But none of the teams bid for the legend. He went unsold that season and served as a bowling mentor to MI.
#4 Brian Lara
Brian Charles Lara is probably the most gifted left-handed batsman the game has ever seen. Lara was class and flamboyance personified. His game was ideally suited to T20. If the format had happened back in his heydays, he would have surely bagged the highest price at the auction. Nonetheless, in 2011, Lara decided to throw his hat in the ring during the auctions. Sadly for him, none of the teams chose him. Hence, Lara could never play the IPL.
#3 Steve Smith
Steve Smith in 2009 was more of a Shane Warne successor than a modern-day Test batting legend. His eerie similarity to Warne’s action had the entire cricketing world fascinated. Smith was hoping to latch on to that but sadly for him IPL 2009 proved to be a distant dream. He went unsold in the auctions in 2009 as none of the franchise showed interest in a budding young Steve Smith.
#2 Kieron Pollard
Not many might be aware of the fact that Kieron Pollard once went unsold in the auctions. In 2009, Pollard had entered the auctions. But the cricketing world was yet to warm up to Pollard’s T20 brilliance. He was royally ignored in the auctions. Pollard came into prominence with a swashbuckling display in the CL T20 league held later in the year in 2009. His exploits took Trinidad and Tobago to the finals. He was hot property in 2010 auctions. MI bagged Kieron Pollard in 2010 and the rest as they say is history.
Legend has it that it was ex-Mumbai Indians star, Dwayne Bravo who recommended Pollard’s name to the franchise.
#1 Chris Gayle
Christopher Henry Gayle is a force of nature. He is the self-proclaimed Universe Boss. Gayle is one of the most love foreign cricketers in India. But all that would not have happened if Anil Kumble hadn’t bought in Gayle in place of an injured Dirk Nannes midway through the season in 2011.
Gayle represented KKR in the first 3 IPL seasons (2008-10). He had a mixed association with the franchise. During the IPL 2011 mega auctions, Gayle surprisingly went unsold. As none of the franchise wanted to gamble on Gayle. Cricketing expert Navjot Singh Sidhu famously referred to this move as “stupid auctions”.
Gayle completely transformed the RCB unit post joining them halfway. He won two consecutive orange caps for his exploits in 2012 and 2012. IPL was never the same!