Who went for how much? How do the squads stack up? Who were the big winners? Which big names couldn't find a single buyer? Here's the comprehensive lowdown from the 2018 IPL auction.
581 players put their hat into the auction ring, for a maximum of 182 spots in the eight franchises. Only four franchises filled their full quota of 25 players, while Kolkata Knight Riders will go into the tournament with the thinnest squad, comprising just 19 players.
One-twenty-five of the players sold were Indian, while the rest came from as many as nine countries, including Nepal, which had its first representative in Sandeep Lamichhane, the 17-year-old legspinner. While Lamichhane is the sole representative from a current Associate nation, Afghanistan had their richest haul at the auction, with as many as four players sold.
Seven of the eight franchises ended up spending more than INR 78 crores (USD 12.2 million) out of their allocated 80, while Chennai Super Kings rounded up their squad of 25 players with INR 6.55 Crore ($1.02 million) left in the bank.
The big gainers
Across the board, franchises were willing to break the bank for uncapped players - both Indian and those who have made a mark in overseas leagues. With their relatively lower base prices, the top five players who went for the highest multiples of their starting prices came from this category. Big-hitting Karnataka allrounder K Gowtham went for INR 6.2 crore (USD 0.97 million), 31 times his base price for the auction, while the likes of D'Arcy Short and Jofra Archer - both on hot streaks in the ongoing Big Bash League - fetched hefty sums too. Mumbai Indians using the right-to-match card for Krunal Pandya was along expected lines, and his buying price of INR 8.8 crore (USD 1.38 million) made him the highest paid uncapped player in the tournament's history.
Call it recency bias, call it a willingness to invest in tried-and-tested talent, the big gainers from previous auctions were players who have set recent editions of the IPL - most particularly 2017 - alight at some point. Yuzvendra Chahal, Royal Challengers Bangalore's legspinner, got a 60-fold increase from his previous auction, all the way back in 2014. Likewise, Jaydev Unadkat, who went for his base price of INR 30 lakhs (USD 45,000) last year, saw fierce bidding from franchises hungry for Indian pacers. Eventually, his price skyrocketed to INR 11.5 crore (USD 1.8 million), making him the highest earning Indian player at this year's auction, all thanks to his exploits during the 2017 season and the dearth of Indian left-arm quicks in the market.
How the squads stack up
Except Knight Riders, who ended up with the thinnest squad, team compositions were largely similar among franchises. Keeping in line with T20 set-ups around the world, a number of franchises went with a horses-for-courses approach to building their squads. For instance, Super Kings ended up with as many as eight genuine spin-bowling options, while Sunrisers Hyderabad ended up with as many quicks in the squad. The preference for allrounders was evident across the board, and specialist overseas pacers like Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn found themselves without a buyer as a result.
Who will get paid what
Knight Riders' aggressive bidding approach early on meant they ended with as many as six US dollar millionaires in their squad, pushing their average price paid per player to INR 4.2 crore (USD 0.66 million), comfortably higher than any other franchise.
While the spend per player at the auction stayed within a smaller range due to the equal purse allotted to all franchises, the median wages - the middle price when they are arranged in ascending/descending order - offer a truer indication of how franchises went about their business. Rajasthan Royals ended up with the lowest median wage in the field at less than $0.1 million, after snapping up as many as 12 uncapped players, while - no prizes for guessing - the Knight Riders' splurge put them top of the tree, at $0.5 million.
While Super Kings' numbers and squad composition indicate that they were effective in picking up proven talent for cheap, they would look back at the auction wondering if they could have snaffled another marquee player instead of lesser known ones.
Prolific old hands that didn't find a buyer
The players in our unsold XI have played between them a total of 613 IPL matches, and feature among them the tournament's highest wicket-taker (Lasith Malinga) and one of contemporary T20 format's best strike bowlers in Mitchell McClenaghan, who went unsold despite a base price of INR 1 Crore ($0.16 million). McClenaghan gave up his national contract to become a T20 globetrotter, and his non-sale was among the inexplicable events in an auction that largely played out to expectation. Hashim Amla, who scored two hundreds last IPL, also curiously did not find a buyer. Another New Zealander, Martin Guptill, who has now become something of a veteran in this category, went unsold after coming up for bidding twice in the auction.