Irfan Pathan went unsold for the first time in IPL    Getty Images
Irfan Pathan went unsold for the first time in IPL Getty Images

“Anyone? Right-arm fast bowler. Anyone? No bidding means I can’t sell him,” Richard Madley politely said towards the last session of Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. Before that he had mispronounced Shelley Shaurya as Sharaya, Wankhede as Wankhidi, among the wrongly executed phonetics. Not to blame him that he is an England-born auctioneer who has to utter names of a multilingual country such as India and that too every year. However, the auction did not last long as it does every year. It was done and dusted in nearly six and a half hours, providing a respite for the owners who, for most part of the day, had more idea about the Sensex than the cricketers.

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There was Neeta Ambani flaunting the same unperturbed smile. She then looked at Mahela Jayawardene, when Mumbai Indians (MI) bought Asela Gunaratne for INR 30 lakhs, as if she had promised him that she will.

There was Gautam Gambhir, an acronym of Neeta’s expression. He did not look at anyone when he (with Shah Rukh Khan’s money) bought Nathan Coulter-Nile, who averages 25.3 with the ball in T20Is, for INR 3.5 crores.

Meanwhile, Imran Tahir, the No. 1 bowler in ICC T20I rankings, went unsold. Unfortunately, we won’t see people resurfacing the meme of him racing past Usain Bolt while celebrating a fall of wicket, during the Indian summer.

Irfan Pathan was ignored twice. This means, he won’t be seen benched for unknown reasons. This means, no one will blame MS Dhoni for keeping Irfan out of the playing XI. Well, for that matter, we won’t see Dhoni captain an IPL team.

This is IPL. This is where it all happens and sometimes a series of unprecedented. This and other top highlights but team by team:

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB): Before we hit the start button, let me share a tweet for you to get a gist of what is in the store (or, in case you had a blue Monday):

Just a day before the auction, Mitchell Starc had withdrawn to focus on Test cricket as well as to stay in the best of his fitness for ICC Champions Trophy 2017. For apparent reasons, RCB were to find a replacement. Not as destructive as he is but effective enough to impress captain Virat Kohli. They drafted southpaw Tymal Mills, who had recently featured in the Indian-England T20I series. Though the series saw heaps of runs being plundered, Tymal impressed everyone with his death-bowling. Armed with raw pace, he understands the crux of T20 cricket. He was bought for INR 12 crores when four teams fought to pull him on their side.

Given RCB’s reputation of going for runs, they added another pacer in their armoury. Billy Stanlake, a right-arm fast bowler from Australia, was purchased for INR 30 lakhs. However, they also added Pawan Negi, who bagged INR 8.5 lakhs from Delhi Daredevil in IPL 9, for only INR 1 crore this year. Indeed, change in fortunes.

Remember Aniket Chowdhary who Indian team had invited in the nets to prepare against Mitchell Starc for the upcoming Border-Gavaskar Trophy? Yes, the very left-armer was brought for INR 2 crores. Yes, the very left-armer who burst in the scenes only 2 weeks ago.

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): KKR brought as many as 9 players for INR 60.6 crores. Apart from Gambhir’s warhorse-like look and INR 3.5 crores spent on Coulter-Nile, KKR added Darren Bravo, Chris Woakes, Trent Boult, Ishant Jaggi, Rishi Dhawan, Sanjay Yadav, and Sayan Ghosh.

Kings XI Punjab (KXIP): Unlike Danny Morrison, Madley did not say Poonjab. Maybe he gets puns better than Morrison does. Nonetheless, little did anyone think that Varun Aaron would go for INR 2.8 crores, though he averages 34.06 from 36 IPL matches at an economy of 8.75. To further narrow down the point, he earned 0.8 crores more than Eoin Morgan and 2.5 crores more than two times T20 World-Cup winning captain Darren Sammy.

Delhi Daredevils (DD): The Zaheer Khan-led team invested INR 4.5 crores on Patt Cummins and INR 5 crores on Kagiso Rabada, along with all-rounders Corey Anderson (INR 1 crore) and Angelo Mathews (INR 2 crore).

In the spin department, they added leg-spinner Murugan Ashwin for INR 1 crore. Yes, they are the side that let go the best limited-overs bowler Tahir.

Mumbai Indians (MI): Sachin Tendulkar wasn’t present during the auction. Perhaps he found better things to stay indulged in. There was no Ricky Ponting either, for his association with the team had ended. Be that as it may, the MI owners decided to turn back the clock, buying Mitchell Johnson and Saurabh Tiwary. The latter’s then exclusion is understandable, but letting go Johnson hurt them in the bowling department. Nonetheless, they can feature him with his namesake McClenaghan and Lasith Malinga. That should send chills down the spine of the opposition batsmen.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH): We will finally see Afghanistan cricketers don an IPL jersey. All-rounder Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan will now play for the defending champions, under the valiant captaincy of David Warner. While Nabi is a proper all-rounder, Rashid is lethal with his leg-spinners and vital with the bat lower down the order.

Rising Pune Supergiants (RPS): Surprising that they have not changed their name yet, but decided to remove MS Dhoni from captaincy instead. Well, that is a topic to discuss in details for another day. Today they got the big fish. Many thought this one would be brought by RCB. There were even rumours about it during the India-England series. Many tried to read between the lines when Kohli heaped praises on Ben Stokes. Plus the rivalry between them had everyone talking about them. But RPS dared to spend as many as INR 14.5 crores to add the all-rounder in the armoury. The other international players they bought are Lockie Ferguson and Dan Christian.

Gujarat Lions (GL): It has been a while we saw Munaf Patel bowl with his nearly Glenn McGrath-like action. It has been a while we saw Dhoni’s new-ball bowler in the first edition, Manpreet Gony, in action. These two will now play for Suresh Raina-led team. All in all, the 26-year-old owner Keshav Bansal will end up spending INR 55.5 this season while I decide whether to go for INR 60,000 trip to Dubai or spend INR 6,000 and go to Lonavla instead.