IPL: Delhi Capitals ‘shocked’ to get Smith as cheap as Rs.2.2cr

Delhi Capitals (DC) are “shocked” at getting Steve Smith as cheap as Rs.2.2 crore at an Indian Premier League (IPL) auction on Thursday, and happy that the Australian batting mainstay would provide “balance” to a team that is yet to win an IPL title in 13 attempts.

DC reached the final last year but lost to Mumbai Indians.

“It was just incredible to get Steve Smith. We are shocked about how he went only for Rs 2.2 crore, but to get a player of the calibre of Smith, it’s going to add a lot to our squad, a lot to our balance — his leadership, his batting, his experience, everything. Everyone associated with Delhi is just thrilled,” DC co-owner Parth Jindal said.

“We discussed Smith’s name before the auction and we thought that he would go for much higher, so we had thought that if an opportunity arises, we will go for him, but we never anticipated actually getting him,” he said, still to get over the “shock”.

Smith, 31, led Rajasthan Royals in the 2019 and 2020 IPL, and was released before the auction that took place in Chennai.

Kiran Kumar Grandhi, chairman of DC, was also ecstatic. “Smith is a good player and he is a good buy. We have enough options, which we can use against various teams,” he said.

The JSW and GMR-co-owned DC also bought experienced T20 players Tom Curran and Sam Billings of England for Rs 5.25 crore and Rs 2 crore respectively.

Fast bowler Umesh Yadav was bought for his base price of Rs.1 crore, besides four domestic players — Lukman Meriwala, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod and Manimaran Siddharth at their base prices. Each one of them had a base price Rs.20 lakh.

“I think it’s a very exciting squad yet again. Meriwala has been doing really well in the domestic tournaments and he’s an Indian left-arm quick which we didn’t have in our squad last year. He gives us an added variation and Tom Curran has the cutters, the slower ones, the quick ones and he’s very good with the bat as well, so he gives that added balance to the squad,” said Jindal.

DC’s assistant coach Mohammad Kaif was also thrilled to have Smith in the Delhi side.

The first buy of the auction for DC was Smith (base price: Rs 2 crore). He has scored 2,333 runs in 95 matches at an average of 35.34 in his IPL career. He had a fantastic season for the Rising Pune Supergiant in IPL 2017 when he amassed 472 runs in 15 matches.

Yadav, who started his IPL career with the Delhi franchise, was bought by DC for his base price of Rs.1 crore. The 33-year-old bowler has taken 119 wickets in 121 matches in his IPL career. He had a brilliant season with the Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 2018 when he picked up 20 wickets in 14 matches at an average of 20.90.

After a fierce bidding war with SunRisers Hyderabad, the DC acquired English all-rounder Tom Curran (base price: Rs 1.5 crore) for Rs 5.25 crore. The 25-year-old player, who represented Rajasthan Royals in the last season, has scored 106 runs and has taken nine wickets in 10 matches in his IPL career. The experienced T20 player has notched 972 runs and taken 157 wickets in 134 matches in his T20 career.

Sam Billings, who was part of the Delhi franchise in IPL 2016 and 2017, was bought by DC for his base price of Rs.2 crore. The English wicketkeeper-batsman has scored 334 runs in 22 matches in his IPL career. The experienced T20 player has amassed 3,527 runs, taken 107 catches and effected 17 stumpings in 187 matches in his T20 career.

Left-arm medium-fast bowler Lukman Meriwala, who was acquired by DC for his base price of Rs.20 lakh, has taken 72 wickets in 44 matches at an average of 14.54 in his T20 career. He plays for Baroda in domestic cricket, and finished as the second highest wicket-taker in the recently concluded T20 Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy with 15 scalps.

Ripal Patel, who plays for Gujarat in domestic cricket, was also acquired by DC for his base price of Rs.20 lakh. The right-hand batsman has scored 191 runs in 11 matches in his T20 career. The 25-year-old player notched 145 runs in five matches in the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

Kerala’s Vishnu Vinod featured in the RCB squad in IPL 2017. The 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman, who was bought by DC for his base price of Rs 20 lakh, has scored 906 runs in 35 matches in his T20 career. He has taken 10 catches and effected five stumpings in T20s.

Tamil Nadu’s slow left-arm orthodox bowler Manimaran Siddharth was bought for his base price of Rs.20 lakh. He has taken 16 wickets in six matches at 6.81. The 22-year-old picked up four wickets in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy final against Baroda.

DC’s retained players: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Praveen Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Woakes