After the Sunrisers Hyderabad used their ‘Right To Match’ card to snare Shikhar Dhawan away from them, the Kings XI Punjab did not have to wait much longer to make their first signing of the IPL 2018 Player Auction as they bagged ace India all-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin for a price of INR 7.6 Crore.
With a base price of INR 2 Crore, Ravichandran Ashwin was the second player to go under auctioneer Richard Madley’s hammer after Shikhar Dhawan. Kings XI Punjab owner Preity Zinta was quick to open the bidding for the off-spinner but was soon joined in the bidding process by Ashwin’s former team, the Chennai Super Kings.
After captain MS Dhoni made his team’s intentions clear that CSK will be going all out for all their former players, it was a bit surprising to see them backing out of a potential bidding war for Ashwin when the bids reached 3.8 Cr. With CSK backing out, what looked like a bargain deal for the Punjab franchise was made difficult with Rajasthan Royals pitching in.
Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, both had a fair tussle for the star off-spinner for a while with Preity Zinta and Virender Sehwag finally getting their man in the end.
Considering Ravichandran Ashwin’s IPL experience, match-winning abilities and potential leadership qualities, it was surprising to see that he was unable to generate much fanfare among the IPL franchises at the auction, with only Kings XI Punjab going all out to secure his services for the upcoming edition of the tournament.
While Ashwin remains a top quality international bowler with the ability to change the course of a match in a single spell, the fact that he hasn’t played any limited-overs cricket for India after the Champions Trophy in England last year certainly contributed to the apparent lack of interest in Ashwin’s services.