They turned out to the be the unsung heroes of the IPL player auction, the men that were given the cold shoulder when they seemed like highly likely buys. Teams will realise what they have missed when these players turn out to be conspicuous by their absence in the forthcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The skill and prowess they lend to the game is only paralleled by a few as they carry a long list of impressive credentials which were just given a blind eye by the bidders.
Graeme Swann - Arguably the best off-spinner in the world presently, Swann is coming of a stellar year when he topped the wickets tally in Test with 64 scalps. He was the fifth highest wicket-taker in the World Twenty20 last year with 10 claims from 7 matches at a staggering average of 14.40 and a respectable economy rate of 6.54. Even his domestic T20 credentials are impressive as he has taken 77 wickets from 62 matches at an average of 19.05 His brand of off-break would have been ideally suited for slower Indian pitches. His base price in the IPL was $400,000. But the reason he went unbid for was due to the the English Cricket Board's (ECB) restrictions and reservations against the IPL.
Morne van Wyk - He has proven himself as one of the most feisty domestic South African batsman and he could have easily wreaked havoc on India's placid pitches. His 67 off 39 balls against India in the only Twenty20 between South Africa and India on Jan 9, 2011, indicates that he can hold his own and better against the world's top oppositions. He would have been a good buy considering his base price was a measley $50,000, but inexplicably, van Wyk went unbid for in the player auction.
Matt Prior - Prior will turn out to be another valuable miss. He has just completed a fantastic Ashes where he aggregated 252 runs at an average of 50.40 and an amazing strike rate of 78.26, miles ahead of any other batsman in the series. He even has a fair amount of domestic T20 experience under his belt, with a batting average of 25.69 from 65 matches at a strike rate of over 140. Indications that this is an aggressive batsman are rife and his services would have been deemed indispensable had he won a berth in the IPL's fourth edition. With a base price of $200,000, he would have been worth every dollar, but he was probably left out because of conflicting national duty scheduling and the ECB's restrictions.
James Anderson - Jaws dropped when Anderosn was not picked up during the IPL auction. This paceman has matured into England's most devastating bowler and a right spearhead. He knows how to disguise his deliveries well and effect swing while also extracting pace and bounce. He would have been useful on India's zero-dew-factor strips. If anything his credentials should have convinced the buyers of his inherent value. After all, he has just completed a magnificent Ashes in which he emerged as the top wicket taker with 24 scalps from 5 matches at 26.04. But again, the ECB's restrictions no doubt marred him from being bought by any of the 10 IPL franchises.
Lendl Simmons - A useful batsman, an effective bowler and a stunning fielder, Simmon would have been an ideal inclusion as an all-rounder in any team. He may not have quite proved himself in the meagre number of Tests and one-dayers he is played, but Twenty20 is definitely his forte. In domestic Twenty20, he bowls at an average of just over 17 with a spectacular strike rate of 12.8. In International Twenty20, his performances have been even more impressive with a bowling average of 9.16 and a batting average of 26.71 at a strike ratye of 117.61. Even at the cheap price of $50,000, he was not bought perhaps because he will be expected to show up for national duty in a likely series against England in April.
Tamim Iqbal - This dashing young Bangladeshi batsman is reeking with exuberance and talent. He has
demonstrated time and again what a dangerous player he can be. His exploits are highlighted by a century against Indian in Jan last year as well as a 103 at Lord's in May. He has turned into one of
the most seasoned campaigners from the subcontinent and can put on a defiant show against some of the world's better bowling attacks. Averaging 21.44 at a strike rate of 109.03 in domestic Twenty20s, Tamim is perhaps not quite to the mark as yet in the shortest version of the game. Anyway, at a base price of $100,000, Tamim would have been an excellent buy in the IPL auction, but strangely went unsold.
Upal Tharanga - A charismatic and steady opener for Sri Lanka, Tharanga's batting style is well suited
to the flat pitches of the sub-continent. He has created a niche for his himself as an opener who can double as a part-time wicketkeeper as well, giving an added option to the team that buys him. Unfortunately, no team did and he remained unsold even at a modest base price of $100,000. He has garnered a fair amount of domestic Twenty experience, playing 25 matches and making 21.08 per encounter at an acceptable strike rate of 122.78.
Justin Kemp - One of the best allrounders, South Africa could throw up for the IPL, Justin Kemp was inexplicably ignored during the player auction, even though his base price was at a modest $100,000. He would have brought much Twenty20 experience to the table, having played for the Rainbow Nation's Cape Cobras as well as the Titans. In his 66 domestic matches, he has notched up a good batting average of 26.60 at an impressive strike rate of 126.56, while conceding 20.21 runs per wicket he takes.
Sanath Jayasuriya - Jayasuriya may have an average of 24.14 in Twenty20s with an impressive strike rate of 142, but coming off a poor last season probably cost him a berth with any of the teams this year. His ouster nevertheless came as a disheartening surprise as was the fact that his team-mate Chaminda Vaas was also given the cold shoulder. Vaas has an effective average of 19.25 and a frugal economy rate of 6.85 in the format, but that still rendered him without any takers. Sanath's undoing in the player auction was probably his exorbitant base price of $400,000.
Finally, one of the most aggressive one-day batsman ever - Herchelle Gibbs - was also shown the door. He has earned the credentials of being a right match-winner as his endeavours in that regard are highlighted by his pivotal 175 in chasing down Australia's mammoth 434 in 2006. His reserve price of $200,000 compounded with the fact that he has retired from the South African side and will no longer be mired in arduous international engagements, should have made him a likely candidate for a buy.