The latest auction of cricketing talent proved a boon for New Zealand’s bowlers.
With left arm swing man Trent Boult the big grab last night – bought for $814,000 by the Sunrisers Hyderabad – five New Zealand players got gigs in the Indian Premier League starting on April 9 or 10.
Fast bowlers Adam Milne ($170,000 to the Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he’ll be coached by World Cup team mate Dan Vettori) and Mitchell McClenaghan ($64,000 to the Mumbai Indians, coach Shane Bond) were joined by allrounder Jimmy Neesham, who got picked up for $107,000 by the Kolkata Knight Riders.
The sole batting buy was Kane Williamson, who joins Boult at the Tom Moody-coached Hyderabad for $128,000.
That quintet was supplemented by New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum (Chennai Super Kings), allrounder Corey Anderson (Mumbai), and bowlers Tim Southee (Rajasthan Royals) and Matt Henry (Chennai), who had existing contracts, giving New Zealand a solid nine-man hand in the IPL.
For the likes of Boult, Williamson, Milne and McClenaghan, their cricket education will surely be enhanced.
Take Williamson a well known sponge when it comes to absorbing information which could benefit his game.
Look at his team mates at Hyderabad. He’ll sit beside England ODI captain Eion Morgan, renegade star batsman Kevin Pietersen and Australian opener David Warner. He’ll get to watch South African quick Dale Steyn up close for several weeks.
Boult has had a cracking time of it in the two years, climbing to No 6 on the world test bowling rankings. It is his first dip into the high profile Indian T20 competition.
The 25-year-old from Bay of Plenty follows Anderson in coming close to instant millionaire status. Anderson was snapped up for $866,000 by Mumbai last year. Now Boult has given seven figures a shake. He’ll likely have the chance to share the new ball with the brilliant Steyn.
His form has been compelling over the last two seasons, he’s climbed to No 6 on the test bowling rankings so it’s no surprise he was snapped up after a prolonged joust between Ricky Ponting’s Mumbai and Vettori’s Bangalore. However Hyderabad, who spent big, swooped late.
A cluster of New Zealand players missed out – including World Cup squad members Ross Taylor, Luke Ronchi, Grant Elliott and Nathan McCullum. Others who put their hand up include test players Hamish Rutherford and Doug Bracewell, and former New Zealand pair Hamish Bennett and Anton Devcich.
They are in good company though. Among other players not picked up were batting champions Hashim Amla of South Africa, Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.
The top whack was forked out for veteran Indian allrounder Yuvraj Singh, for whom the Delhi Daredevils saw fit to part with an IPL record $3.4 million.
The timing of the auction was wretched and as nothing happens by chance at the Board of Control for Cricket in India, you are left to speculate whether the event was positioned to disrupt the early days of the World Cup.
After all, it could have been done last week.
The IPL will end on May 25, by which time New Zealand will be playing test cricket in England.