IPL 2023: Pressure on costliest players to justify price tag

Sam Curran was richer by Rs 18.5 crore. File photo: AFP/William West

Every year in the Indian Premier League (IPL), some players receive a lot of attention in the auction with big monies splurged on them.

The high price tag brings along with it huge expectations and many a time the players have failed to fire, thus leaving the franchises rue their decision to spend so much  on them.

Take the case of current England Test captain and all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was the Most Valuable Player of the 2017 auction for the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiants and was bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 12.5 crore in the 2018 auction.

Stokes had a disappointing run in IPL 2018 as he could manage only 198 runs and bag eight wickets in 13 matches in that season.

In the 2019 auction, Rajasthan Royals secured the services of Indian medium-pacer Jaydev Unadkat for Rs 8.4 crore, making him the joint most expensive player. But Unadkat failed to fire as he claim only 10 wickets in 11 matches.

Australia's current Test captain Pat Cummins was the costliest player in the 2020 auction with Rs 15.5 crore splurged on him by Kolkata Knight Riders.

Cummins achieved moderate success in that season, claiming 12 wickets in 14 matches and scoring 146 runs at an average of 20.85. But the franchise expected much more from him considering the amount it spent on securing his services.

Though Cummins is giving IPL 2023 a miss to keep himself fresh for the Ashes and the 50-over World Cup scheduled later this year, some players have been bought for big money and will therefore have to shoulder high expectations.

Sam Curran

England all-rounder and white-ball expert Sam Curran turned out to be the costliest buy in the history of IPL when Punjab Kings signed him up for a whopping Rs 18.5 crore.

Sam Curran
Sam Curran won both the Player of the Final and Player of the Tournament awards at the 2022 T20 World Cup. File photo: AFP/William West

Named Player of the Final and Tournament at the 2022 T20 World Cup, Curran will be under the spotlight throughout IPL 2023, starting Friday, and his performance in every match will be scrutinised in case he fails to fire.

Punjab Kings splurged a huge amount on Curran considering his value and the skillsets he brings to the team as a fast bowler and an explosive batter.

With the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) refusing to give Jonny Bairstow the NOC to turn out for Punjab Kings and Liam Livingstone returning from the knee and ankle injury he suffered during England's tour of Pakistan, Curran will be under a lot of pressure to not only take wickets, but also act as the finisher in the team.

Cameron Green

Mumbai Indians spent Rs 17.5 crore to sign young Australian all-rounder Cameron Green, who has excelled in both red-ball and white-ball cricket. He was Australia's top performer in the T20 series in India last year, when he made 118 runs, including two half-centuries, after being promoted to open the innings.

Cameron Green
Cameron Green is a highly talented all-rounder. File photo: AFP/Money Sharma

Green scored his maiden Test century in the recent Ahmedabad Test.

Green gives Mumbai Indians multiple options as a batter as he can open the innings or operate in the middle-order and also add value to the side as a bowler.

Mumbai Indians will be hoping that he continues with his superb touch and help the team succeed in IPL 2023 after their nightmarish season in 2022.

Ben Stokes

Normally a thrifty operator in IPL auctions, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) spent Rs 16.25 crore to sign up Stokes as the all-rounder is considered a future captaincy material when M S Dhoni bids goodbye to IPL.

Ben Stokes
CSK will be hoping to make the most Ben Stokes' services. File photo

With his skillsets and leadership qualities in mind, CSK have splurged big on Stokes, and now it is to be seen how successful their investment proves. Stokes has got permission from the ECB to participate in the IPL, but the England captain is expected to leave early to prepare for the Ashes.

Mayank Agarwal

Out-of-favour Indian opener Mayank Agarwal was released by Punjab Kings, for whom he played since 2018 and led them in the 2022 edition.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), looking for a captaincy option, bought him for Rs 8.25 crore, making him one of the top Indian buys in the 2023 auction. Agarwal has scored 2,331 runs at a strike rate of 134.51 in IPL so far, but he will be under pressure as he will be under the constant scrutiny considering his previous success in the league.

Mayank Agarwal
Mayank Agarwal will have an important role to play in SRH's campaign. File photo: IANS

Agarwal was in contention till the last minute before the vote went in favour of Aiden Markram as SRH captain.

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