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HomesportscricketIPL auction 2024: Players who rose from relative obscurity to remarkable fame

IPL auction 2024: Players who rose from relative obscurity to remarkable fame

Bengaluru: In a country like ours, where lofty aspirations are often brushed under the rug for the sake of survival, the Indian Premier League has always been a conducive fabric for the weaving of cricketing dreams.

On Tuesday, just like it has since its inception in 2008, it made many a man richer, and that’s the tapestry of the beast which we have come to accept and grown somewhat desensitised to.

However, an auction’s ability to change the lives of unknown domestic players with a couple of paddles and a smack of the gavel inspires and astounds still. Sameer Rizvi, Shubham Dubey, Kumar Kushagra and then Robin Minz were the recipients of such fortune during the course of the mini-auction.

There were several others who benefitted from franchises and their desperate desire to plug gaps in their squad. But, these were especially interesting because save for scouts and subsequently their owners, few knew of their existence, let alone their potential.

All three of them kept their base price at Rs 20 lakh, and surely they didn’t expect more than that given their ‘uncapped Indians’ status. And then…

Uttar Pradesh’s Rizvi was pouched by Chennai Super Kings for Rs 8.40 crore.

Jharkhand’s Kushagra went to Delhi Capitals for Rs 7.20 crore.

Vidarbha’s Dubey was picked up by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 5.80 crore.

Minz, a tribal cricketer from Jharkhand, was bought by Gujarat Titans for Rs 3.6 crore.

Each of these players was plying his wares in obscurity for as long as they can remember, and now, they are being spoken of as the new wave of talent India has to offer.

Well, that might be the case with Rizvi and Kushagra because they’re still barely 20-years-old, but Dubey, at 29-years-old, is an interesting pick. Dubey only just made his List A debut for Vidarbha, and has since turned heads with his ultra-aggressive brand of southpaw spiking. He finished the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 221 runs from seven games at an average of 73.66 and a strike rate of 187.28.

Yeah, the scouts aren’t going to miss out on those sorts of numbers.

Moreover, Dubey comes pre-equipped with the ability to finish games so the Royals didn’t mind putting up the paddle often enough to get their man.

Rizvi’s case is a bit more predictable because he has been a part of the age-group troop for a while now, and has seen some success.

But it was his run in the UPT20 League that had teams taking notes. The right-hander with mercury for wrists was on a tear there and then impressed further with 205 runs in SMAT.

He’s being referred to as a right-handed Suresh Raina for his ability to tackle spin. While that might sound like a compliment, it doesn’t reveal how well Rizvi can handle pace, but then again, CSK know a thing or two about picking the right people for the job.

Kushagra’s path is near-identical to that of Rizvi’s, only he has seen more success.

Having been part of the Under-19 World Cup team which finished runners-up in 2020, Kushagra already had the essential exposure. The wicket-keeper batter went onto make his List A debut in 2021 followed by a first-class debut the next season.

Somewhere along the way, he also became the youngest player in the world to hit 250 in first-class cricket, breaking the 47-year-old record held by Javed Miandad, who hit 311 at 17 years and 311 days, in 1975. Kushagra was 17 years and 141 days at the time.

So, Kushagra was destined for big things, but Rs 7.20 crore? Certainly, he didn’t expect that.

Minz, an attacking middle-order bat who dons the wicket-keeping gloves too, didn’t expect this elevation either. Becoming the first tribal cricketer in the IPL does have a nice ring to it.

Well, that’s just how these auctions work. Mini or mega, it doesn’t matter. This is the theatre of middle-class dreams, and boy, do they put on a show.

(Published 19 December 2023, 20:45 IST)

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