Just like every year in the auctions, even in the auctions of IPL 2021, the overseas pacers were the most expensive buys. Chris Morris went for 16.25 crores, while Kyle Jamieson, Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith went for 15 crores, 14 crores and 8 crores respectively. One striking and shocking point to be noted is, none of the latter three had prior experience of playing in India while registering for the auctions. And despite this point, they went for huge bucks.
Purchasing overseas speedsters for enormous sums has been an age-old practice in the IPL. Players like Pat Cummins, Sheldon Cottrell, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Tymal Mills have gone for enormous sums over the years. And hardly any of them has been able to justify that amount for that season.
In the match between DC and PBKS, expensive bids of the season, Richardson and Meredith had economy rates of 10.25 and 15.00 respectively. During this match, ex-MI pacer, Mitchell McClenaghan tweeted.
This brings up an interesting discussion. Why do most expensive overseas bowlers fail in the IPL? What are the factors that affect their performances? But before that, there’s another important question to be looked at:
Why are the overseas pacers in high demand in the IPL?
It is no secret that India has been behind other countries when it comes to producing quality pacers. In the past few years, only Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami to an extent have had consistent success in the IPL. Other Indian quicks have either been inconsistent or have leaked too many runs.
Sheldon Cottrell was bought for 8.25 crores by KXIP (Image: Punjab Kings | Instagram)
This tempts most of the franchisees to pick overseas pacers to add to the balance of the team. Over the years, pacers like Lasith Malinga, Dwayne Bravo and Dale Steyn have tasted success in the tournament. To add to it, if the pacer can bowl consistently over the speeds of 140 kmph, he is in more demand as this is a rare skill in Indian pacers.
How does the hefty price tag affect the players?
1. The Desire to Over-perform
In cricket, most batsmen succeed even when they possess either skill or strength. We’ve seen batsmen who time the ball perfectly, as well as, batsmen who clear the ropes easily. But when it comes to bowling, one has to strike a balance between the two. Skill allows the bowlers to bowl a variety of deliveries while strength allows them to bowl at the desired pace.
And the high price has often pushed the players to train excessively in a desire to justify the price tags, and they end up with injuries. Over the years, many pacers have either injured themselves or lost rhythm while building strength.
This is another issue which has bothered the players. Pressure can get make the strongest people commit mistakes and lose focus. And this has impacted many cricketers too. High price tags have often impacted the players to try too many things.
Jaydev Unadkat has been repeatedly released and bought by RR (Image: Rajasthan Royals | Twitter)
Jaydev Unadkat, one of IPL’s highest-earning bowlers, said:
The thoughts were always about why I am not able to be as good as last year. Is it a mental thing? Or is it something to do with my skills? I was burdening myself too much. I was trying hard to execute my skills, which doesn’t really help.
If I tried hard to bowl a slower ball, it wouldn’t be as slow and smooth as I’d like. Because I was trying hard, I didn’t help myself.
Unadkat confessed that he often over-analysed himself due to the pressure of justifying the price-tag and ended up with bad performances.
3. Unreal Expectations
Back in 2017, RCB had purchased a bowler named Tymal Mills for 12 crores. He wasn’t a popular international player. In fact, he has played only 5 international matches so far. Mills was doing well in the domestic leagues and this got him a hefty IPL deal.
Tymal Mills was picked for 12.5 crores by RCB in 2017 (Image: Royal Challengers Bangalore | Twitter)
He played 5 matches for RCB that year, picking 5 wickets at an economy rate of 8.57. Although these weren’t extraordinary figures, these aren’t bad either. Mills got injured for a couple of games after those 5 games and he was never picked in the RCB squad in that season. Surprisingly, he was released by RCB at the end of the season. Both he and the team had unreal expectations on him because of the price tag. After his short stint with IPL, Mills’ performance drastically reduced in other leagues too.
4. Unfavorable Conditions
Traditionally, the Indian pitches are suited for the spinners unlike pitches of New Zealand, South Africa, England and Australia where most of IPL’s overseas pacers come from. Hence, it becomes difficult for them to adjust to Indian conditions. Mostly, overseas pacers with loads of experience like Steyn, Malinga, Morkel and Boult have seen success in IPL. Pacers with a lesser experience like Cottrell and Tymal Mills including bowlers like Tom Curran, Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith have failed to make an impact owing to unfavorable conditions for them.
Featured Image: IPLT20 | Twitter
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