5 best signings in IPL history
The amount of thinking and planning which goes into buying one player in the IPL is something the fans are unwary of. The franchises these days have been investing a lot of time to get their auction strategies and eventual outputs right, just to ensure no money is wasted.
Having said that, we see a lot of big money signings not really turning up the heat as much as the franchises expect. It is never easy to cope with the pressure of expectations and price tag, and there have not been many instances of players with a big paycheck doing a great job for the side.
Yet, there have been a few players who have proven themselves to be worth every penny or even beyond. Here’s a list of the five best signings made in IPL history.
5. David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
In the 2014 auction, David Warner cost the Sunrisers Hyderabad INR 5.5 Crore and if the franchise had any idea of what he was going to deliver, they would’ve felt it was day-light robbery. One of the cult legends of IPL, David Warner is the only cricketer in the tournament’s history to win three Orange Caps.
He’s been a consistent run-scorer for the Orange Army and led the side to an unforgettable title victory in 2016. Although they found an able leader in Kane Williamson in his absence, Warner continued to be their main man in his comeback season in 2019. He also holds the record for the most runs scored by a foreign cricketer in the tournament.
For the Sunrisers alone, he’s scored 3,278 runs in the five seasons he has played at an unprecedented average of 55.56. He scored more than 500 runs in each of these five editions he was a part of, becoming the only player to do so in five consecutive editions.
4. Ben Stokes (Rising Pune Supergiant)
With the world going gaga over an all-rounder named Ben Stokes, his addition in the list of players to be sold in the auction was definitely going to launch a bidding war. That was exactly what happened, with Stokes going for a whopping INR 14.5 Crore in the 2017 auction, which was his first-ever appearance in the tournament.
To say he performed well that season would be such an understatement. Ben Stokes played just 12 games that season due to international commitments but produced a performance worth remembering for a long time. He was also named the Most Valuable Player of the season despite Pune losing out to Mumbai in a nerve-wracking finale.
Stokes scored 316 vital runs coming in the middle order, which includes a hundred against Gujarat Lions. With the ball, he was exceptional in the death overs and picked up 12 wickets at an outstanding economy of 7.18. His first two seasons with the Rajasthan Royals didn’t prove to be good, but there’s no way they will leave him, especially after watching his heroics lately.
3. Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata Knight Riders)
A cult leader and a masterful man-manager, Gautam Gambhir was perhaps the finest signing Kolkata Knight Riders will ever make. Kolkata Knight Riders were immersed in their ruins before the left-handed batsman from Delhi came to lift them up and steered them towards IPL glory in 2012 and 2014.
Gambhir didn’t make a difference just with his captaincy, he was also instrumental at the top with his willow, playing some outstanding second-fiddle knocks. He also took the mantle upon himself on many occasions when they were in deep trouble. His energy was contagious, every individual in the team could feel it in their veins.
He scored 3,035 runs for the Kolkata Knight Riders at an impressive average of 31.94, which includes 36 half-centuries. Gambhir moved to the Delhi Capitals in the 2018 edition, a few months before announcing his retirement.
2. Chris Gayle (Royal Challengers Bangalore)
Chris Gayle went unsold in the 2011 IPL auction, which raised a lot of eyebrows. But as it turned out, the greatest blessing in disguise moment happened in the IPL history when Dirk Nannes was injured for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and for the exact amount they paid the fast bowler, RCB roped in Chris Gayle.
The rest, as they say, is history! He scored a hundred in his debut for RCB, which incidentally came against his former club Kolkata Knight Riders. He ended up winning the Orange Cap that season and retained if the next season as well. It was his signing which really made the Royal Challengers a marketable club and the impact he had on them was unmatched.
Gayle scored 3,157 runs for the Royal Challengers at a remarkable average of 42.66. He also holds the record in IPL for the most centuries scored, most sixes hit and has the highest individual score in the whole of T20 history, smashing a 66-ball 175 back in 2013.
1. Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians)
Mumbai Indians splashed the cash on a budding youngster back in 2011, something which many experts and fans felt was not going to be fruitful. But as it turns out, Rohit Sharma is the only captain to have won four IPL titles and is without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest signing made in IPL history.
Rohit was a part of the Deccan Chargers previously, where he also won the Best Emerging Player award. He was made the captain in Ricky Ponting’s absence in 2013, where Mumbai won the title for the first time. They went on to win titles under him in 2015, 2017 and 2019 as well, making Mumbai the most successful franchise in the tournament.
For the Mumbai Indians, he has scored 3,728 runs at an average of 30.80, which includes 36 half-centuries and a century. In these years with the Mumbai Indians, he also escalated is status as an international cricketer and is marching on towards creating an impenetrable legacy.