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04 December 2023

IPL auction house: Where rankings mean nothing

By Ahmad Lala

When you are ranked as the world's best ODI all-rounder, as Shakib-ul Hassan is at the moment, you would fancy your chances of coming away from the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions with a fair price to your name, or at the very least to actually be bought.

So imagine his shock when news reached Bangladesh that no one made a single bid for him in Goa yesterday. I mean, the guy was priced at only $75,000 (Dh184,000). Surely someone could have made an offer, even just to be able to boast they had the world's best all-rounder in their squad.

But, then again, the franchise owners don't seem too bother much with the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings and statistics. At the 2008 auction they ignored the fact Michael Hussey had the second best average after Sir Don Bradman, or that his Australia captain Ricky Ponting was one of the top three batsman in the world. Instead, they paid players who had barely represented their country more than them.

Who can blame them? This is, after all, the same ICC who last month ranked the two highest run-scorers in Test cricket, Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, outside the top 20 on their list of all-time great batsmen. So, enough said about that.

On to those who were bought and, unsurprisingly, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff ended up the best paid IPL players, purchased for $1.55 million by the Bangalore Royal Challengers and the Chennai Super Kings respectively.

I always had the feeling Flintoff, because of his all-round abilities, would be valued more than Pietersen by the franchise owners – although an equal price at least keeps the jealousy levels down in the England team's dressing room.

And you definitely don't want any further complications thrown in there – unless you're Australian with the Ashes coming up later this year. Not after Flintoff publicly came out and said he did not back Pietersen in his bid to get rid of former coach Peter Moores.

They both did have an advantage over last year's highest paid player, Mahendra Singh Dhoni ($1.5m), however. The base price for Pietersen was $1.35m while bidding started for Flintoff at $950,000 – the India captain was initially priced at $400,000 for the 2008 auction.