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Indian Premier League

Seven players who got massive IPL deals you have almost certainly forgotten about

Sarah Waris by Sarah Waris
@swaris16 3 minute read

Over the years, a number of players have managed to ink massive deals in the Indian Premier League. While some names are remembered and justified the hefty price tags, a few others could not live up to expectations.

We take a look at the players who were rewarded with a big cheque in the IPL in the past but failed to live up to their billing.

*The auction prices were in USD in the first few years, which has now changed to INR


Saurabh Tiwary – USD 1.6 million

Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2011

The hard-hitting batter from Jharkhand was a part of the under-19 World Cup winning team in 2008 and came to the limelight in the IPL in 2010. Signed up by Mumbai Indians, Tiwary had a fine season, scoring 419 runs at a strike rate of nearing 136 with three fifties. His demand escalated the following year, during the 2011 auction, when Royal Challengers Bangalore were involved in a bidding war with Kings XI Punjab (now Punjab Kings) for him. He was eventually sold to Royal Challengers Bangalore for over a million USD.

However, he was unable to leave a mark that year: in 16 games, he scored 187 runs at an average of 23.37 with a strike rate below 100. Dubbed ‘Junior Dhoni’ for his long locks, Tiwary was also unable to score a single fifty for the side. He continued with the franchise till 2013 without much success. In 2012, he made 191 runs from 15 games, with 109 runs the following year.

Tyron Henderson – USD 650,000

Rajasthan Royals, 2009

Henderson was tagged a T20 specialist back in the day for his ability to smash the ball to all parts. The South African helped Middlesex win the 2008 Twenty20 Cup – their first major trophy in 15 years – by notching 281 runs in 11 innings with a strike rate of 180.12. He was also the second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament. The showings attracted IPL owners, and he eventually went for over six times his base price in 2009.

However, he only got two chances in the season, scoring 11 runs and picking up one wicket. He was released the following year and never got an offer in the IPL again.

Tymal Mills – INR 12 crore

Royal Challengers Bangalore, 2017

Royal Challengers Bangalore have been known for spending lavishly on their players, and Mills was no exception. The England fast bowler was a part of the side for the T20Is against India in 2017, with the series ending just a few days before the auctions. The left-armer had picked up three wickets at an economy rate of 7.83.

Mitchell Starc, who was initially set to play for the franchise in 2017, pulled out a few days before the auction, and Mills was considered a like-for-like replacement, fetching over a million dollars in the auction. However, the season did not pan out as expected. He played five games and picked up as many wickets, leaking runs at 8.57 an over. He did not play another game in the IPL until 2022.

Abhishek Nayar – INR 3.5 crore

Pune Warriors, 2013

The seam-bowling all-rounder played three ODIs for India but failed to pick up a wicket or score a run. However, he was a first-class stalwart for Mumbai and ended with an average above 45 after 103 matches.

Nayar was a regular for Mumbai Indians in the first three seasons of the IPL but managed only 14 games combined in 2011 an 2012 for Kings XI Punjab, averaging 8.71 and 15 with the bat respectively. It thus came as a surprise when he was much sought after by Pune Warriors in the auctions in 2013.

He was unable to live up to expectations: in 11 games, he scored 66 runs and picked up two wickets, and was not retained by the side the following year. Nayar then went to Rajasthan Royals in 2014 and played five games, scoring 43 runs. He has not played an IPL game since and is now the assistant coach of Kolkata Knight Riders.

Sachitra Senanayake – USD 625,000

Kolkata Knight Riders, 2013

The Sri Lanka spinner had played just ten ODIs when the IPL auction came calling in 2013. The mystery bowler had impressed then Kolkata Knight Riders coach Trevor Bayliss during a two-match stint in the Big Bash League earlier that year, and he was keen to have Senanayake on board in the IPL as well.

With Sunil Narine already in their ranks, the franchise seemed to have an enviable spin bowling duo. Coupled with the slow track at Eden Gardens back in the day, Kolkata Knight Riders were the team to beat. However, it did not pan out as hoped. Senanayake picked up nine wickets in eight games and was expensive throughout. It was the first and last time he played in the league.

Pawan Negi – INR 8.5 crore

Delhi Daredevils, 2016

Negi became the most expensive uncapped purchase in 2016 when he was picked up for INR 8.5 crore by Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) six years ago. The left-arm spinner had been included in the T20 World Cup squad for the 2016 edition, and the dream continued when he was picked up by Delhi Capitals a few days later.

It did not end as he would have hoped, though. Negi, who did not play a game for India in the tournament, also had a disaster IPL, making 57 runs and picking up one wicket from eight games. Delhi Daredevils released him the following year, where he went to Royal Challengers Bangalore for INR 1 crore.

Mashrafe Mortaza – USD 600,000

Kolkata Knight Riders, 2009

Upon the advice of then Kolkata Knight Riders coach John Buchanan, the franchise went all out for Mashrafe Mortaza, an experienced veteran who had troubled the world’s best batters in his prime. However, the team did not acquire his services easily, as Kings XI Punjab too were fervently bidding for the Bangladesh quick. Kolkata Knight Riders eventually got their man, but the season ended rather anti-climactically for him.

Mortaza played just one game, where he went wicketless and conceded 58 runs against Deccan Chargers. It remains his only IPL appearance.

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