The two new IPL franchises, the Lucknow Super Giants and the Ahmedabad team (yet to reveal its name), have each made their first three signings ahead of the Mega Auction that will take place next month.
So who have they gone for?
KL Rahul becomes the joint-highest paid player in IPL history
Lucknow weren’t messing around when it came to their first signing.
They went for the brilliant KL Rahul and it’s pretty obvious they intend to give him the same three-dimensional role that he had at the Punjab Kings, the team he was at before jumping ship and making himself available to all IPL teams.
He’ll be captain, wicket-keeper and opening batsman for the Super Giants.
Despite Punjab’s struggles over the past few years, Rahul was a good captain for them.
But it was with the bat that he really shined. He was the top scorer in the IPL during the 2020 season, despite Punjab not making the Playoffs.
And he ended up as the third-highest runscorer in the IPL in 2021, this time playing three less matches than the two players who finished above him: CSK duo Ruturaj Kaikwad and Faf du Plessis.
But Rahul didn’t come cheap. At 17 crore, he’s the joint-most expensive player ever purchased in the IPL, alongside Virat Kohli, retained by RCB for that fee in 2018.
Stoinis and Bishnoi purchased as well
Lucknow also purchased Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, for 9.2 Crore.
Stoinis played for Big Bash side the Melbourne Stars over the last couple of months and was also part of the Australia team who won the T20 World Cup for the first time.
In the 2021 IPL season, he was also a member of the Delhi Capitals side.
It will be interesting to see whether Lucknow decide to use him as an opener the way the Stars do, or as a number five finisher the way that the Capitals did and that Australia still do.
He’ll also have an important role to play with the ball as a sixth bowler, and occasional death bowler, though he has admittedly been slightly more reluctant to bowl recently as a result of a couple of injuries.
Completing the trio is Indian leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi. The 21-year old, who is as yet uncapped for India, was bought for 4 Crore.
He has a record of 49 wickets in 42 T20 matches and was captained by Rahul at Punjab for the past few seasons.
Former England head coach Andy Flower will be their coach this season, with former India opener Gautam Ghambhir their mentor.
Ahmedabad sign up Hardik Pandya
Ahmedabad have also signed their first three players.
Their first recruit was former Mumbai Indians all-rounder Hardik Pandya.
Pandya was somewhat surprisingly not retained by the Mumbai franchise and Ahmedabad swooped for him, announcing in the process that he will also captain the side.
Pandya didn’t have the greatest of seasons last year at Mumbai and also failed to make much of an impact at the T20 World Cup.
But he’s a match-winner on his day, particularly with the bat, and Ahmedabad will be glad they can base a team around him. He cost 15 Crore.
Rashid Khan and Shubman Gill join Pandya
For the same 15 Crore, Ahmedabad also signed superstar Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan.
Khan is one of the most sought-after players in T20 cricket, having also played in the Big Bash, the CPL, the PSL and other T20 domestic leagues.
At the Hundred, England’s new limited-overs tournament that premiered in 2021, he was the first pick in the whole draft, testament to his value in this format.
In addition to being a prolific wicket-taker, his economy rate is right up there with the very best in the world.
Across 300 T20 matches, a remarkable number of games for a player who is just 23, he concedes on average just 6.35 runs an over.
Their third signing was perhaps a slightly more left-field pick: Shubman Gill, who played at KKR the past few seasons.
The 22 -year old is generally seen as better suited to Test cricket with his more classic batting technique, but has a decent record in T20 cricket, nonetheless.
He averages 31 in T20s, boasts a strike rate of 124 and has hit 12 fifties in 72 matches, but never a century.
IPL Auction betting markets on Betway
The IPL auction itself will be held on February 12/13.
Check out Betway’s IPL auction specials that include such markets as: which player will be sold for the most money, how much the most expensive player of the auction will be sold for and which IPL side T20 World Cup Player of the Tournament David Warner will end up at.
It’s early days yet and so far we only know three or four players who will make up the 10 different teams.
But Betway have already priced up the winner market, making CSK 4.5 favourites, followed by the Mumbai Indians at 5.5
Last year’s rock bottom finishers, the Hyderabad Sunrisers, are the outsiders at 12.0.