The IPL auction is always way more entertaining than the tournament itself, and not only because it is undertaken at a NZ friendly time zone.
There are clearly a lot of algorithms in place but, in contrast to a lot of the narrative back here, it is anything but a hit-and-giggle joke.
The auction is a beautifully weird thing. Teams of scouts / bean-counters / spreadsheet operators playing dress-up huddle over a round table full of lap-tops. It is like celebrity poker without Shane Warne
Once the bidding was complete, seven New Zealanders obtained contracts which, given the numbers v spaces available ration seemed about right.
The biggest outrage here has been how Martin Guptill missed out. Yet, when you look at the bare stats that was pretty inevitable.
In last year’s IPL Guptill scored one fifty, a 48, and eight other innings of very little. In the nine years he has been part of the auction he has been picked up twice so this is not a new thing.
In New Zealand’s tour of India in October he was one of two New Zealanders (Henry Nichols, one match being the other) to have a Strike Rate of under 100. He averaged 16.
Colin Munro (how does he get picked up when Guptill doesn’t Colin Munro?) averaged 60+ with a SR of over 170 in the same series.
People then look to the 180 scored against South Africa in March. That was a fantastic innings, and rates alongside Guptill’s 237* at the Cricket World Cup as the greatest New Zealand ODI knocks of all time. But, in both cases, the feature of them is that they were so perfectly measured.
But hitting sixes at will after facing 60 balls isn’t a core skill in T20 cricket. And New Zealand seems to have yet grasped the massive difference between 20 and 50 over cricket. Same coloured ball, massively different skillset.
On Radio Sport on Monday Marc Peard suggested three times that there was somehow a conspiracy going on here. Politics, whatever that means, were at play.
Peard is better known for his views on American sports, so maybe this was a way of promoting his more localised new venture.
Note that Joe Root also missed out. Are they burning conspiracy theories in Yorkshire tonight? In fact the three batsmen ahead of Guptill in the T20 rankings all missed out.
The stranger non-signing was Sodhi. The theory there with the competition being that India, there are plenty of local leg-spinners, so why use up an import space in an area where you can produce from within? What makes it even weirder is that the two international imports were from Nepal and Afghanistan; the latter going for $NZD1.4m.
It is fun mocking the IPL; so much of it is ghastly. But they know what they are doing when it comes to picking players.
Those who disagree can exchange bitcoin wagers on top of a grassy knoll.