Controversies in IPL auctions are inevitable in the event that is a huge attraction year after year as players earn lucrative contracts in the cash-rich league. IPL auction is held every year where the franchises splurge huge cash to acquire the players and build their squad.
The Indian Premier League has made life better for countless cricketers, giving them financial security. From domestic unknown talents to top international superstars, players often get bought for ridiculous amounts.
There have been some mind-blowing and some heartwarming moments happened at the auctions but controversies also come pretty naturally in the league. There have been instances which questioned the integrity of the league. Today we take a look at the biggest controversies in IPL auctions over the years.
- 1 The biggest controversies in IPL auctions
- 1.1 Manipulation behind the scenes for CSK securing Andrew Flintoff
- 1.2 The introduction of the silent tie-breaker rule
- 1.3 RCB protest after having to pay an extra 4 crore for Yuvraj Singh in 2014
- 1.4 Dinesh Karthik suggests overseas players are using a loophole of mini auctions
- 1.5 Punjab Kings’ confusion over Shashank Singh
The biggest controversies in IPL auctions
Manipulation behind the scenes for CSK securing Andrew Flintoff
Ex-IPL commissioner Lalit Modi’s tenure was marred with controversies in IPL and they did not end even after his exit. In 2012, Modi revealed that he was arm-twisted in rigging the 2009 IPL auction to ensure Andrew Flintoff was sold to Chennai Super Kings.
N Srinivasan, the then BCCI president was also the managing director of Indian Cements, the company that owned the Chennai franchise. A series of e-mails exchanged between Srinivasan and Modi came to light, which revealed Modi manipulated Rajasthan Royals into retaining Sohail Tanveer so they would not have enough balance to compete with CSK.
CSK ended up buying Flintoff for USD 1.55 million, making him the most expensive player in IPL at the time, alongside Kevin Pietersen. After the 2010 IPL season, Lalit Modi was sacked on charges of financial irregularities.
The introduction of the silent tie-breaker rule
Ahead of the 2010 IPL auction, a new rule named ‘silent tie-breaker’ was introduced in case multiple teams end up with the same bid from the allotted purse. The maximum possible bid amount for a single player at the auction was set at USD 750000.
Through this rule the tied franchises could make a secret bid in a form and the higher bidder would get the player. The amount of the extra silent bid goes to the IPL and not the player. When the rule was introduced, some franchises had an objection to it citing that the sanctity of the purse must be protected.
The rule was used twice in that auction, for Kieron Pollard and Shane Bond. Mumbai Indians won the silent bid against three other franchises Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders to acquire Pollard. Kolkata won against Deccan Chargers to secure Bond. This rule led to several controversies in the IPL.
RCB protest after having to pay an extra 4 crore for Yuvraj Singh in 2014
Following the IPL auction 2014, Royal Challengers Bangalore co-owner Vijay Mallya filed an official protest over the auction of Yuvraj Singh. The incident in question forced the franchise to shell out 4 crores extra and they were understandably not happy about it.
Kings XI Punjab and RCB were fighting for the Indian all-rounder before KXIP backed out at INR 10 crore. The hammer came down and Yuvraj was announced sold to RCB. However, Kolkata Knight Riders argued that they had their paddle up to jump in for the bidding but the auctioneer didn’t notice.
Richard Madley, the auctioneer, said his view was blocked by other people in the room and the bidding for Yuvraj was reopened. A few minutes later, RCB finally secured the player for INR 14 crore.
“We have lodged an official protest, we have written to the IPL Governing Council… Virat Kohli, our captain, was very keen on him. That extra Rs 4 crore was somewhat unfortunate, but the auctioneer has the sole discretion,” stated Mallya, which makes it to the list of major controversies in IPL.
Dinesh Karthik suggests overseas players are using a loophole of mini auctions
Records tumbled at the 2024 IPL auction as it witnessed two of the biggest signings in the history of the league. Sunrisers Hyderabad splashed INR 20.5 crore to acquire the Australian captain Pat Cummins. Just about an hour later, Kolkata Knight Riders outbid Gujarat Titans and spent INR 24.75 crore to have Mitchell Starc on their roster.
Previously, the record for the most expensive player in the IPL was held by Sam Curran, whom Punjab Kings had bought for INR 18.5 crore in the 2023 auction. At the same auction, Cameron Green fetched INR 17.5 crore from Mumbai Indians, while Chennai Super Kings claimed Ben Stokes for INR 16.25 crore.
All these instances are mostly a result of the mini-auction as there's high demand for quality players but less supply. Dinesh Karthik stirred the pot with spicy comments, saying overseas know of this loophole and are using it to their advantage.
“The mini auction is definitely used by players and agents very clearly, where they bring them on into the mini-auction and they go for absurd, unheard of prices, knowing that the teams are coming with a lot of money and have some holes to fill, and hence the price skyrockets,” said Karthik.
Punjab Kings’ confusion over Shashank Singh
In a never-seen-before incident, an event from 2024 made it to the top controversies in IPL. The IPL 2024 auction witnessed a big controversy when it looked like Punjab Kings made a huge blunder after confusing two players with the same name. The name in question was Shashank Singh.
During the auction, the auctioneer Mallika Sagar announced Shashank as Punjab Kings’ player. The Punjab team owners, Ness Wadia and Preity Zinta looked confused at the table.
There were two Shashank Singhs registered in the IPL 2024 auction. The 32-year-old hard-hitting batter from Chhattisgarh and a 19-year-old rookie from Bengal who hasn't played first-class cricket yet. The 29yr old came up first in the accelerated part of the auction and went unsold. The other Shashank came up three minutes later. PBKS were the only bidders and the player was sold to them.
“Shashank Singh is the topic, but your team won both players 236 and 237. I think the call for player 237, Shashank, is also final,” the auctioneer stated.
The incident soon attracted plenty of criticism and trolling on social media, after which Punjab Kings were forced to release a statement. The franchise stated that they intended to buy the same Shashank they had acquired.
“Punjab Kings would like to clarify that Shashank Singh was always on our target list. The confusion was due to 2 players of the same name being on the list. We are delighted to have him on board and see him contribute to our success,” said the franchise in a statement.
Shashank Singh was a part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad side last season and had shown good power-hitting promise.