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How an IPL team appeared to buy a ‘wrong player’ at the 2024 auction

The Punjab Kings queried the auctioneer after the gavel banged down for the signing of a player

Sonia Twigg
Thursday 21 December 2023 03:45 GMT
Punjab Kings
Punjab Kings (Getty Images)

The Punjab Kings had to query the auctioneer at the Indian Premier League auction. It looked as if they had bought the ‘wrong player’.

The IPL franchise had bought uncapped 32-year-old batting all-rounder Shashank Singh, but it might not have been intentional. When the next player was called, the franchise appeared to raise an issue with auctioneer Mallika Sagar, but were told the bid had already been done, and could not be altered.

Those behind the Punjab Kings looked as though they had mistaken Shashank for someone else, nevertheless, he is set to join up with the franchise for a base price of 20 lakh (around £19,000).

When Shashank’s name came up, Preity Zinta raised the paddle following a quick discussion with her team, as no other franchise bid for him, the hammer came down and he was sold.

The IPL team issued a statement saying it was only a matter of confusion, posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying: “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.”

Punjab Kings raised the issue, but the auctioneer stood firm, insisting that the hammer came down and the player has been added to the team roster.

It might have been the ‘mini auction’ with just 77 spots left to fill, the bigger auction with more available places is not due to take place until ahead of the 2025 tournament, but there was no shortage of interest.

It was a lengthy process and the record fee for a cricketer was broken not once but twice in quick succession, first by Sunrisers Hyderabad signing Pat Cummins, then Mitchell Starc to the Kolkata Knight Riders for £2.3m.

Starc had not played in the competition for eight years, but after an intense round of bidding the fee was paid, and the IPL moved further away from the competition of other franchise leagues. The IPL has been valued as the second-most valuable sporting league in the world, behind the NFL, beating even the Premier League.

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