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Updated December 19th, 2023 at 18:56 IST

IPL 2024 Auction: Why Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins are value buys despite gigantic price tags?

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins together commanded a whopping Rs 44.80 crore at the IPL auction as Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad broke their bank to secure the services of Australian pacers though the intense bidding had a look of impracticality to it.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins
Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins go for big money at IPL 2024 Auction | Image:AP
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Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins together commanded a whopping Rs 44.80 crore at the IPL auction as Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad broke their bank to secure the services of Australian pacers though the intense bidding had a look of impracticality to it.

So, are they really the hubris buys that often happen in an auction room or the outcome of careful planning to bring two of the finest cricketers of this generation to their ranks? Let’s dive deep into the logic of SRH spending Rs 20.5 crore for Cummins and KKR shelling out Rs 24.75 crore for Starc.

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Of course, one can always say the teams might have been swayed by the Aussies' impeccable performance in Indian conditions during the recent ODI World Cup.

But there is more to those two buys than that.

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Starc’s last IPL stint was for Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2015 and since then the Sydney man has skipped the league for a variety of reasons ranging from concentrating on Test cricket to spending time with his family.

ALSO READ | IPL Auction 2024 Live Updates

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But once the left-arm pacer decided to participate in the auction, he fitted perfectly into the KKR’s plans of finding a fast bowler with pedigree ahead of IPL 2024.

The Knight Riders had released Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Lockie Ferguson and Shardul Thakur ahead of the auction, making it mandatory for them to draft in a lead pacer.

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With just 12 slots to fill, including three foreigners, they had a good Rs 32.7 crore in their wallet, helping them to chase their targeted buy with full force.

Starc is a value purchase too despite that hefty price tag around his neck. At 33, he remains a massive threat in white ball formats and can still touch late 140 clicks with ease.

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His overall economy of 7.63 in T20Is across 58 matches is quite respectable, and those yorkers and in-dippers are as lethal as ever. For Starc, the nature of the pitch is hardly a concern as his length is fuller.

Hence, the KKR will place high hopes on him to take them back to winning ways after two seasons of mediocrity when they finished seventh on the table.

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But the same cannot be said about Cummins.

Despite leading Australia to their sixth ODI World Cup title recently, the jury is still out to decide on the right-arm pacer’s place in white ball cricket, while he remains a titan in the traditional format.

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His previous stint in the IPL too was not confidence inspiring, seven wickets from five matches with an economy of 10.68 before a hip injury ended his 2022 campaign.

The New South Welshman opted out of IPL 2023 to concentrate on national duties, but Cummins still can give that one grunt spell on his day. Rewind to the Ahmedabad final recently.

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But the white ball inconsistency did not stop Sunrisers to bid for Cummins. They needed a good foreign pacer to lead the battery of Umran Malik, T Natarajan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar while coming into the auction room with a purse of Rs 34 crore.

The Sunrisers management also might have taken into consideration Cummins' leadership qualities that has been quite evident this year, carrying Australia to triumph in World Cup and WTC Final.

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So, SRH shot down two birds with one shot – a premier bowler and a thinking person who can contribute immensely to their leadership group.

Can they vindicate the price tag then with a flurry of wickets? 

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Published December 19th, 2023 at 18:56 IST

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