Indian Premier League 2016
IPL9: The money men under pressure
From virtual unknowns to bona fide superstars, we put the five players who earned the biggest payday at the IPL auction under the microscope
6 April 2016, 07:02 PM AEST
With the 2016 Indian Premier League just three days away from starting, we take a look at the five men who could well be under the most pressure to perform; the five big-money signings of IPL9.
Shane Watson, Royal Challengers Bangalore (AUD $1.98m)
Watson is very much an IPL veteran, and a favourite among Indian supporters as a two-time Player of the Tournament. This year he was forced to trade in his Rajasthan Royals colours after the franchise owners were engulfed in a betting scandal that led to their team's suspension from the competition. So the 34-year-old finds a new home at the Royal Challengers Bangalore, where he'll line up alongside superstars Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. While that trio will doubtless steal the limelight, there'll still be plenty of expectation on Watson with both bat and ball, given his history in the tournament and the fact that he arrives at RCB in strong form. Not to mention that price tag.
Pawan Negi, Delhi Daredevils ($1.8m)
A left-arm orthodox spinner with a penchant for power hitting lower in the order, Negi fetched a surprisingly steep price at this year's IPL auction, given his moderate output in last year's tournament. Playing for Kolkata Knight Riders, the 23-year-old took six wickets in 10 matches and managed a top score of 36. India selectors must also consider him to have serious potential; he beat out a host of credible contenders for a place in the country's ICC World T20 squad, and was in the running for a starting spot in the semi-final when Yuvraj Singh pulled out with injury.
Chris Morris, Delhi Daredevils ($1.5m)
Little-known South African Morris turned heads when he hit the IPL jackpot courtesy of the big-spending Daredevils. Morris showed his fast-bowling wares in the World T20 with the Proteas, taking 4-27 against Afghanistan, and perhaps demanded such a high price after his exploits with Rajasthan Royals last year: 13 wickets in 11 matches, strike-rate of 19.3 and economy rate of 7.4. With that kind of IPL experience and with a strong contingent of South Africans at the Daredevils – JP Duminy is captain, while leg-spinner Imran Tahir and wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock are also in the squad – expect Morris to settle quickly and establish himself as a key part of the attack, going at least some way to justifying those outlandish dollars in the process.
Yuvraj Singh, Sunrisers Hyderabad ($1.5m)
An Indian legend and one of the most adored players in the Indian Premier League, Yuvraj is no stranger to pressure and expectation from his 1.3 billion compatriots that enjoy following, digesting and discussing his every move. Perhaps behind only MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli as Indian cricket's most revered superstar, Yuvraj joins his fifth IPL club in Sunrisers Hyderabad where he'll be mentored by former Australia international Tom Moody. A late withdrawal from India's World T20 semi-final against West Indies with a twisted ankle, Sunrisers fans will be sweating on his fitness ahead of their opening match against the star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 12.
Mohit Sharma, Kings XI Punjab ($1.4m)
Mohit was lured across to Kings XI Punjab after three seasons with the Chennai Super Kings by a seriously hefty price tag, despite the fact he's been overlooked at national level in recent times for young guns Jasprit Bumrah and Hardik Pandya. The 27-year-old earned the faith of CSK captain MS Dhoni in his maiden IPL season, in 2013, but last year leaked 8.43 runs an over in taking 14 wickets in 16 matches. It was an expensive return for a man who had built a reputation as one of the more miserly death bowlers in the tournament, and Kings supporters will be hoping to see Mohit return to his economical ways given the cash that was splashed to secure his services.