Five lesser-known players who made a big splash

Agarkar: Archer was going to command such a price (4:33)

Sanjay Manjrekar was not surprised by the kind of price uncapped allrounder Krunal Pandya fetched at the IPL auction (4:33)

Every IPL auction has thrown the spotlight on one or two lesser-known players, with franchises paying top dollar for them and turning them into household names. It was no different this time. ESPNcricinfo looks at five players - one from Afghanistan, an explosive opener of indigenous Australian descent, a fast-bowling allrounder from Barbados who currently lives in England, as well as two Indian players - who attracted frenzied bidding from the franchises.

Jofra Archer - Rajasthan Royals (USD 1.125 million)

Jofra Archer announced his arrival in the Big Bash League with a double-wicket maiden on debut for the Hobart Hurricanes and ended the season as the find of the tournament. Archer is a right-arm fast bowler who consistently clocks close to 150kph. Franchise scouts have kept an eye on the Bajan, who plies trade at Sussex, and point out that he isn't just extremely quick but also a complete fast bowler. Pace, swing and variety make Archer dangerous in all phases of a T20 innings.

Archer, who is 22, is a brilliant fielder and a character to the boot. His silent celebration after taking a stunning return catch of Ben Cutting in his follow-through generated awed applause from not just fans but even fellow cricketers. When in the mood, he can also hit big, and scouts believe he can turn into a decent allrounder if he puts some work into his batting. At Royals, Archer is likely to slot straight into the first XI.

Numbers: Archer's economy rate in the last two overs of innings in this season's BBL was 6.92. He bowled 26 balls in this crucial period, taking five wickets and only giving away three boundaries.

Ishan Kishan - Mumbai Indians (USD 968,000)

In 2016-17, Jharkhand wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan smashed 273 against Delhi in the Ranji Trophy, hitting a stirring 14 sixes. Domestic bowlers and coaches talk about the sound that Kishan's bat makes when it tonks the ball to all parts. Kishan is rated among the best young wicketkeeper-batsmen in India, a group that also includes Rishabh Pant. Both are left-hand batsmen, and both hit a lot of sixes. There's also a sense of a baton being passed down since Kishan plays for the same state as MS Dhoni.

Mumbai might feel they could have netted Kishan for less - possibly around half a million dollars - but his price was driven up by rival franchises, particularly since the defending champions were desperate for a wicketkeeper who can bat in the top order and possibly left-handed. Mumbai had opted not to bid for Parthiv Patel, who has kept wickets and opened for them in recent seasons. While valuing Parthiv for his experience, Mumbai were bothered by Parthiv's inability to hit out outside the Powerplay overs and bat at least halfway through an innings. All this made Kishan the most suitable choice. He was Mumbai's second-most expensive player at the auction behind the uncapped allrounder Krunal Pandya.

Numbers: Kishan had a strike-rate of of 145.98 in eight innings in the recently concluded Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (domestic T20 tournament).

D'Arcy Short - Rajasthan Royals (USD 625,000)

A left-handed opener who combines consistency with a high strike-rate: in short, D'Arcy short has ticked all the boxes that franchises look for in a prospective signing. Short's quick runs at the top of the order is one of the main factors behind the Hurricanes' run to the Big Bash semi-finals this season.

What singles out Short is his phenomenal ball-striking ability. Against fast and slow bowling, Short stands with a still head and times the ball cleanly, and with a fluency that is eye-catching. Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, the head coach at Delhi Daredevils, had recently predicted Short would be a key player at the IPL auction. Ponting was not far off the mark with Royals bidding hard to buy him.

Short is a also complete T20 package: a top batsman who is a safe and brilliant fielder and capable of bowling left-arm wristspin. Given the form he is in, the Royals management will have a difficult decision to make with regards to who to leave out among Short, Archer, Steven Smith, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes.

Numbers: Short has set the record for the most runs scored by a batsman in a BBL season. He was the first to cross the 500 mark for a season. His unbeaten 122 against the Brisbane Heat is also the highest individual score in BBL history.

K Gowtham - Rajasthan Royals (USD 968,000)

Like Washington Sundar, Gowtham is an offspin-bowling allrounder. Unlike Sundar, Gowtham can hit the ball hard and out of the ground. Gowtham is 29 and plays domestic cricket for Karnataka. Mumbai Indians signed him last year for INR 1.5 crore (USD 236,000 approx). Mumbai wanted him back, but were not willing to cross the limit they had set for Gowtham during the auction.

Though not a big spinner of the ball, Gowtham can defend or be aggressive. He is capable of batting at any position, and the Royals could be tempted to push him up the order as a pinch-hitter.

Numbers: In the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy this season, Gowtham's economy rate was 6.5 or less in four of the seven matches he played for Karnataka. As a T20 batsman his career strike rate is 159.79.

Mujeeb Zadran - Kings XI Punjab (USD 625,000)

Ask him if he is an offspinner or a legspinner and Mujeeb Zadran will tell you he can bowl the offbreak, the carrom ball, the legbreak, the googly, and any other variation you want. It is no shop talk. Mujeeb, who comes from the eastern Afghanistan province of Khost, is only 16, but has managed to befuddle batsmen in Under-19 tournaments with his trickery. What puts instant doubt in the batsman's mind is the inability to read Mujeeb's action. That is the same reason behind his compatriot Rashid Khan becoming the world's best wristspinner in T20 cricket.

Another unique fact of Mujeeb's bowling is that he has predominantly bowled with the new ball. He also became the first international cricketer born in the 21 century when he played for Afghanistan against Ireland in December and won the Man-of-the-Match award on debut. He has also been one of the match-winners for Afghanistan on their route to the semi-finals of the Under-19 World Cup.

With R Ashwin and Axar Patel in their squad, it remains to be seen how Kings XI will use Mujeeb.

Numbers: Mujeeb took 4 for 24 on ODI debut for Afbhanistan in December last year.

Stats inputs from Bharath Seervi