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IPL Auction 2024: Unravelling the uncapped crorepatis

Megabucks in IPL doesn’t always produce megastars.

The ‘uncapped player’ generating interest in the Indian Premier League is understandable because new talent is always an exciting preposition in sport. But what comes as a surprise is franchises falling over each other at the auctions to net the uncapped players by splurging big amounts, usually reserved for the tried and tested international players.

It was evident during the IPL mini auction in Dubai recently when Gujarat Titans, Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings battled hard to lay their hands on an explosive 20-year-old batter from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. Eventually, Chennai dished out Rs 8.40 crore to net the youngster, whose big-hitting prowess during the Uttar Pradesh Twenty20 League in September where he smashed 35 sixes, became the cynosure of all eyes.

But do these high investments on the uncapped players get the returns franchises strive for? The answer probably lies in the list of the Most Expensive Uncapped Players. Among the top ten ‘uncapped’ buys of all times only four – Avesh Khan, Krunal Pandya, Rahul Tewatia, Shahrukh Khan – were retained by their respective franchises after the high bidding.

In most cases the franchises appear to lose interest in their big buys pretty quickly. Take the bizarre case of Krishnappa Gowtham. He was bought for a whopping 9.25 crore by Chennai Super Kings in 2021 but the franchise did not find him useful and he warmed the benches throughout the season. The only match action he got was as a substitute fielder.

In the next season, the Karnataka all-rounder’s price fell 10 times lower than what he got in the previous season and was bought by Lucknow Super Giants for Rs 90 lakh. In between, Gowtham made his India debut featuring in an ODI, his only international game so far, which also meant he was no longer an uncapped player in the 2022 auction when Lucknow got him on board.

Kings XI Punjab too did not hold on to leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy after forking Rs 8.4 crore in 2019. The Tamil Nadu cricketer got injured and was ruled out of the season after playing just one match but Kolkata Knight Riders grabbed him in the next season for Rs 4 crore and he has stayed with the franchise since then.

Punjab’s fascination for Riley Meredith was on similar lines when they spent 8 Cr in the 2021 auction to buy the Australian fast bowler but he lasted just one season. The 27-year-old was roped in by Mumbai Indians for Rs 1 crore in the next season.

Even Pawan Negi, who was bought for Rs 8.5 crore by Delhi Daredevils in 2016 was offloaded in the next season and he was picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for Rs 1 crore.

Punjab, however, kept their faith in Shahrukh Khan since buying the Tamil Nadu all-rounder for Rs 5.25 crore in 2021, raised the stakes to Rs 9 crore in 2022 to retain him and continued with him for another season until 2023. The 28-year-old, remains a hot property in the uncapped category and it was evident in Dubai when Gujarat Titans spent Rs 7.40 crore to get him.

In effect, all the top buys at the auction don’t necessarily translate into big returns for the franchise. Even for the ‘uncapped crorepati’, the riches that he earns doesn’t fulfil his ultimate ambition of donning the national colours. Among the top 10 uncapped earners only  two – Krunal (19 T20Is, 5 ODIs) and Avesh (19 T20Is, 8 ODIs) – have ended up playing for India more times than the rest.

For the player to develop and stake claim for the Indian jersey, he still has to grind it out on the dusty terrains of the domestic circuit. A route well taken by the current Indian ‘Superstars’ of Twenty20 cricket — Suryakumar Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul — all of whom made a relatively sedate entry in to the IPL getting Rs 10 lakh each in their first year. The ‘uncapped’ Shreyas Iyer (2015) and Rishabh Pant (2016) fetched better returns at the auction in comparison in their debut IPL season. Interestingly, franchises benefited more from these investments as most of these players eventually became superstars of not just the IPL but world cricket. Thus, big buys don’t always churn out the big boys.

Most expensive uncapped players in IPL
Nos Player/ State Franchise Year Amount
1. Avesh Khan
(Madhya Pradesh)
Lucknow Super Giants 2022 Rs 10 Cr
2. Krishnappa Gowtham (Karnataka) Chennai Super Kings 2021 Rs 9.25 Cr
3. Shahrukh Khan
(Tamil Nadu)
Punjab Kings 2022 Rs 9 Cr
4. Rahul Tewatia
Gujarat Titans 2022 Rs 9 Cr
5. Krunal Pandya
Mumbai Indians 2018 Rs 8.80 Cr
6. Pawan Negi
Delhi Daredevils 2016 Rs 8.50 Cr
7. Sameer Rizvi
(Uttar Pradesh)
Chennai Super Kings 2024 Rs 8.40 Cr
8. Varun Chakravarthy (Tamil Nadu) Kings XI Punjab 2019 Rs 8.40 Cr
9. Riley Meredith (Australia) Punjab Kings 2021 Rs 8 Cr
10. Shahrukh Khan
(Tamil Nadu)
Gujarat Titans 2024 Rs 7.40 Cr


Earnings of current T20 stalwarts on their IPL debut
Nos Player Name Franchise Year Amount
1. Suryakumar Yadav (Mumbai) Pune Warriors 2012 Rs 10 lakh
2. Jasprit Bumrah (Gujarat) Mumbai Indians 2013 Rs 10 lakh
3. Hardik Pandya


Mumbai Indians 2015 Rs 10 lakh
3. KL Rahul


Royal Challengers Bangalore 2013 Rs 10 lakh
4. Shreyas Iyer (Mumbai) Delhi Daredevils 2015 Rs 2.6 Cr
5. Rishabh Pant


Delhi Daredevils 2016 Rs 1.90 Cr