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Rs 50 lakhs per wicket, yet #IshantSharma rocks IPL


With more teams looking for a fast bowler, Ishant — the only Indian with the highest base price gears up for a happy outing at the IPL auction

It’s that time of the year; time when #IshantSharma trends. Come Monday, India’s premier fast bowler will be mocking at the budget of most franchisees even as trolls prepare to unleash their skills on social media.

Ishant is the only Indian cricketer with the highest base price — he commands Rs 2 crore atleast from this IPL auction on Monday. Ishant has been paid Rs 31.5 crores over eight years of IPL — he was injured one season — with an approximate value of Rs 50 lakhs per wicket!

70 matches and just 59 wickets; Ishant is not impactful enough, and definitely not economical either. In 2016, Ishant has played just 4 matches and taken 3 wickets for Dhoni’s Pune Supergiants. In 2015, he played another set of four matches and taken just 1. In 2014, Ishant got just three games under his belt.   

So, why would Ishant still keep his price so high? Why didn’t he scale down like Irfan Pathan and RP Singh? That is because, in all these nine years Ishant has never got less 2 crores 60 lakhs, and his last year wages at the IPL was a 3.8 crores. He earned the highest, thanks to that spell to Ricky Ponting at Perth in 2008, of Rs 5.7 crores in the first three years from Shah Rukh Khan but has got demoted gradually.  

But why would franchisees pump in so much, year after year on Ishant? Because the bowler believes that he isn’t finished yet in the T20 format. Because the franchisees know the value of an outright fast bowler in a shorter format. And because, he’s an Indian fast bowler, after all.

Ishant wanted to move base himself, frustrated at the lack of game time for the last three seasons. An incisive fast bowling spell in Hyderabad might see his stocks shooting upwards again, coupled with the requirement of several teams for a quality fast bowler.

This year Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kings XI Punjab, Pune Supergiants and Delhi Daredevils desperately require a fast bowler. That’s five out of eight teams, and the other team too wouldn’t mind banking an Indian option.

Monday will be a big day for several players; focus might just be more on Ben Stokes or Chirs Woakes. Tymal Mills or Rabada will be tempting options while the domestic guys will be nervy as well. Ishant will be slightly relaxed on that front, merely hoping that he gets a buyer who will not bench him. Like it or not #IshantSharma will trend Monday.

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