‘Kohli, Bumrah must be thinking what’s going on’ after Starc, Cummins IPL riches | Cricket

The eight hours of intense bidding war that unfolded during the IPL 2024 auction was dominated by bowlers. Look no further than Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, the Australian pace-bowling duo that created history. Cummins broke Sam Curran’s record of 18.5 crore from last year to become the first man to breach the 20 crore mark before Starc beat him as the most expensive buy in IPL history. Not often do two players from the same country emerge as the top two buys, but such has been Cummins and Starc’s domination this year that both lived up to the hype inside Dubai’s Coca-Cola arena.

Would Virat Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah today have earned as much or more than Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc?(Getty Images)

2023 has belonged to Cummins, first winning the World Test Championship, and then retaining the Ashes. Just last month, he led Australia to a record-extending sixth World Cup title and capped the year by hitting the IPL jackpot. As for Starc, he was always expected to break the bank and rake in the moolah he did. That Cummins and Starc fetched a collective price of more than 40 crore is pretty earth-shattering, and one that left several former India cricketers surprised.

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But perhaps the most interesting point was made by India’s greatest Test bowler of all time Anil Kumble, who questioned whether franchises should be allowed to spend a fortune on overseas players. Reasserting that the tournament, after all, is called the Indian Premier League for a reason, Kumble pointed out how teams should set a cap on the money that needs to be shelled out on foreign cricketers.

Also Read: Full list of sold, unsold players, IPL Auction: 72 cricketers find takers, 230.45 crore spent

“Well, I’m happy for the teams but I really feel that every franchise needs to set a limit on the money they will spend on an overseas player, or the bracket of foreigners. 20 crore is a mad amount. I know that these are quality players but Mitchell Starc being offered almost 25 crore is pretty surprising to say the least,” Kumble said while speaking on Jio Cinema.

“I mean, there is Jasprit Bumrah, right? He is the best all-format bowler in the world but just because he is already with a franchise, he cannot enjoy the perks on being part of an auction process. And someone like Starc, who hasn’t had the greatest form in T20Is, is earning a fortune. I can only imagine that someone like Virat Kohli or Bumrah must be watching this and thinking what is going on.”

How has Starc fared in IPL?

Kumble makes a valid point. Starc has played only two seasons of the IPL – way back in 2014 and 2015 – taking 34 wickets from 27 matches. Not only has he not featured in the IPL in eight years, Starc has never played a T20I in India. In fact, even in Asian conditions (UAE, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh), Starc he has picked 39 wickets in 25 matches at 19.17 and an economy rate of 7.69, which doesn’t exactly make Starc a T20 behemoth.

Kumble’s former teammate Zaheer Khan weighed on Cummins and Starc’s record-breaking day, and added that although he expected the bowlers to have a field day, two players going past the 20-crore mark was something he didn’t see coming. Even during the mock auction that was conducted a day before, the maximum amount anyone came up with was 18.5 crore, which incidentally happened to be for Starc.

“Well, everyone was expecting that fast bowlers would be in demand – that is something which the small auctions always bring, the clarity of thought from all the franchises. But I don’t think anyone would have ever imagined that it would reach this kind of a level. 20 crore is a big barrier, it has been broken today and how. So, I think it’s just about these two teams going by that one player, having that clarity of the playing eleven and holding the nerves and back themselves through and through,” the ex-India quick pointed out.

RP Singh agrees with Kumble

Starc has a second chance with KKR. He was picked at the IPL 2018 auction but couldn’t take part due to an injury. Still, seeing the potential Starc possesses, KKR staved off a formidable challenge from Gujarat Titans. After Mumbai Indians and Delhi Capitals, the first two teams to target Starc, pulled out of the race at the 9.6 crore mark, KKR and GT produced quite possible the tensest 10 minutes of the auction. After a lot of thinking, going back-and-forth on decisions, getting on calls with directors, owners, it turns out that KKR were willing to go just that extra mile as GT withdrew. But again, 20 crore? Is Starc really worth so much? No, says RP Singh.

“I am a little surprised with the money KKR spent on Starc. I didn’t feel that anyone would cross the 20 crore mark. The second thing is Mitchell Starc will be playing the IPL after a long time. It’s not that he has put up outstanding performances consistently. He has not played the IPL for eight years,” the 2007 T20 World Cup-winning pacer highlighted.

“And it’s not that he has played say five T20s and won three matches on the back of his own abilities. If they spend so much money on a player, then the captain may expect him to win 40 percent of the matches and ensure that the player has a solid impact on games. So, if I am born again, I should be born in Australia (laughs) and I should be a left-arm fast bowler again.”

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