Mumbai Indians strengthened; Kings XI look weak

The limited number of slots combined with the cap of US$2 million meant franchises could afford to splurge on players they coveted, illustrated by Ravindra Jadeja getting the maximum bid of $2 million and R Vinay Kumar being bought for $1 million.

Updated: February 05, 2012 14:24 IST
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The 2012 IPL player auction was a chance for teams to fill the gaps in their squads. The limited number of slots combined with the cap of US$2 million meant franchises could afford to splurge on players they coveted, illustrated by Ravindra Jadeja getting the maximum bid of $2 million and R Vinay Kumar being bought for $1 million. At the same time, deals were available - much touted Sri Lanka wicketkeeper Dinesh Chandimal was snapped up by Rajasthan Royals for just $50,000. ESPNcricinfo breaks down how well each franchise did, and hands out grades.

Mumbai Indians

Grade: A+
In: Dinesh Karthik (transfer), Pragyan Ojha (transfer), Thisara Perera ($650,000), RP Singh ($600,000), Mitchell Johnson ($300,000), Robin Peterson ($100,000), Herschelle Gibbs ($50,000)
Out: R Sathish

For the past couple of seasons, the Mumbai Indians have had, on paper, the strongest squad. That has been strengthened even further with a raft of transfers and auction buys. One of the Mumbai Indians' biggest weaknesses was the wicketkeeper's slot, which has now been filled by one of India's top keepers in Dinesh Karthik. Their Indian contingent gets even more formidable with the acquisition of RP Singh and Pragyan Ojha, both among the top four highest wicket-takers in IPL history; and in snagging Herschelle Gibbs for $50,000 they might well have pulled off the bargain buy of the day.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

Grade: A-
In: Chris Gayle ($550,000), Andrew McDonald (transfer), Vinay Kumar ($1 million), Muttiah Muralitharan ($220,000)
Out: None

By retaining Chris Gayle, who almost single-handedly dragged them to the final in 2011, the Royal Challengers Bangalore had already done much of their work before the auction. Last season, they faced some criticism for the lack of home players in the side, something which they have addressed by bringing back medium-pacer Vinay Kumar, though at $1 million he wasn't procured cheaply. Muttiah Muralitharan was picked up for $220,000 but given the Royal Challengers' high number of foreign players, he might not get too many matches, as was the case last season when Muralitharan was with the Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Andrew McDonald, the Australia allrounder, transferred in from the Delhi Daredevils, might also struggle to find a regular place in the XI.

Rajasthan Royals

Grade: B+
In: Dinesh Chandimal ($50,000), Brad Hodge ($475,000), Sreesanth ($400,000), Brad Hogg ($180,000), Kevon Cooper ($50,000)
Out: Jacob Oram

Buying Dinesh Chandimal for $50,000 was a big coup by the Rajasthan Royals. They needed a wicketkepper who can bat and they got him on the cheap. Brad Hodge gives them another bat in the middle order, but with Shane Watson and Ross Taylor picking themselves, the Royals will be forced to pick between him and Johan Botha, who was their best player last season. Sreesanth might miss the season with a toe injury and while Brad Hogg and Kevon Cooper are good buys it is tough to see how they fit into the playing XI given the limit of four foreigners.

Chennai Super Kings

Grade: B
In: Ravindra Jadeja ($2 million plus tie-breaker)
Out: None

Ravindra Jadeja was always tipped to end up in the tie-breaker but that wasn't solely because of his talent and ability. The lack of India players, especially allrounders, meant his value had much to do with supply and demand. That said, he does strengthen the Super Kings line-up, which did not need much reinforcement to begin with, and he loves playing for MS Dhoni. All in all, a smart buy for the defending champions. They don't get an A, though, because they had to overpay to get him, and missed out on a chance to add some additional depth to their squad.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Grade: B
In: Brendon McCullum ($900,000), Sunil Narine ($700,000), Marchant de Lange ($50,000)
Out: Mark Boucher

The Kolkata Knight Riders showed in last year's auction that they were not afraid to spend to get the players they wanted. McCullum will likely replace Brad Haddin behind the stumps and gives them a more explosive option at the top of the order, while Sunil Narine proved he could strangle a batting side in the 2011 Champions League. The downside is the Knight Riders were already forced to bench players of the quality of Shakib Al Hasan and Ryan Ten Doeschate last season. Adding three more foreign players means more talent warming the bench.

Delhi Daredevils

Grade: B
In: Kevin Pietersen (transfer), Mahela Jayawardene ($1,400,000), Andre Russell ($450,000), Doug Bracewell ($50,000), Pawan Negi (local signing), Manprit Juneja (local signing), Kuldeep Raval (local signing)
Out: Andrew McDonald, Robert Frylinck, S Sriram, Vivek Yadav, Rajesh Pawar

One of the big problems for the Delhi Daredevils last season was their over-reliance on the explosive top-order, led by Virender Sehwag and David Warner, and the pressure that put on their young Indian batsmen in the middle order. They have rectified that by bring in two marquee names: Kevin Pietersen and Mahela Jayawardene. Their spin department, though, is extremely weak. They have left-armer Roelof van der Merwe but will he get in the side given the brighter lights in the squad? Their Indian twirlers don't inspire much confidence either. Also, Doug Bracewell may seem a smart buy at $50,000 but why purchase him when you already have nine fast bowlers in the squad, including Andre Russell and Morne Morkel?

Deccan Chargers

Grade: C-
In: Darren Bravo ($100,000), Daniel Harris ($70,000), Parthiv Patel ($650,000)
Out: Kevin Pietersen, Pragyan Ojha, Harmeet Singh

Deccan Chargers lost their bidding war for Ravindra Jadeja to the Chennai Super Kings and seemed to lose their way after that. They bid for a number of players, but mostly unsuccessfully. Parthiv Patel gives them another opening option but their batting still looks thin behind Kumar Sangakkara following the loss of Kevin Pietersen. They will also miss Pragyan Ojha, transferred to the Mumbai Indians, who is one of the top four wicket-takers in IPL history. Darren Bravo is an intriguing choice and will get his chances, but overall they didn't do much to improve the team.

Kings XI Punjab

Grade: D
In: Azhar Mahmood ($200,000), James Faulkner (190,000), David Miller (retained), Ramesh Powar ($180,000)
Out: Dinesh Karthik

The team with one of the weakest Indian contingents in the tournament was weakened further by the exit of Dinesh Karthik. There was not too much of an attempt to correct that; the only Indian player they purchased was offspinner Ramesh Powar, not exactly a game-changer. Even the overseas buys aren't names that will pull in the crowds; 37-year-old Azhar Mahmood is the highest-profile and most-expensive signing. The next costliest is low-profile Australia allrounder James Faulkner, and the only other player brought in was another who most Indian fans will struggle to recognise: South African middle-order batsman David Miller.

Pune Warriors

Grade: Absent

An hour before the auction, Sahara announced they were pulling out of the IPL and their sponsorship of the India team in protest against what they saw as poor treatment by the BCCI. That left just eight teams in the auction. IPL officials said they couldn't comment until they had a formal notice from the Pune Warriors, but the show must go on regardless

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