Sometimes the subject matter for a blog can take a little while to gel, especially in the close season. On other occasions, it sits up and effectively says "Please write about me"...
Today is one of the latter and, in the words of Cilla Black, what's it all about, Alfie?
Year after year there is no logic to the buying patterns and the sums involved. It is as if someone has been given a trolley dash in an unfamiliar supermarket and told that they have a minute to buy as much as they can, with little reference to what they actually need.
Why else, for my first example, would the very talented Phil Hughes go for $100K, Ricky Ponting for $400K yet Glenn Maxwell for a cool million dollars? This is the Glenn Maxwell who scored an unbeaten 50 for the Aussies against the West Indies the other day, but whose previous innings in T20 and one-day matches were 11, 13, 3, 17, 5, 8, 9 and 8. He took three wickets in those games too, so that's alright...
Outside of the Mumbai Indians, does anyone think that is money well spent? No disrespects to the lad, who can hit a good ball from time to time, but that's either inspired or downright crazy, with my money on the latter. Look at it this way, if notionally you were given the choice of the three names above for this year's T20, how many would pick Maxwell? You'll gather that I wouldn't.
Mumbai also paid $450K for Nathan Coulter-Nile, who I saw regularly in the Big Bash and who bowled well on occasions without suggesting he was quite THAT good. Pune Warriors outdid them with $700K for Kane Richardson, a seam bowler of some talent, but still only 22 wickets in T20 in 20 matches. Still, at 21 the lad is now financially secure, so good luck to him.
Talented South African all-rounder Chris Morris was another big winner, starting from a base price of $20K and eventually seeing his services secured by Chennai for $625K. I rate Morris and have said so on this blog in the past, but there's a heck of a lot of justification required when he steps out onto the pitch.
Yet the logic goes beyond the money spent. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) spent $625K on Sachithra Senanayake, a Sri Lankan spinner of considerable talent, yet they already have Shakib Al-Hasan, Sunil Narine and Iqbal Abdulla, all of them fine spin bowlers. How many do they really need, especially when Shakib is a genuine all-rounder?
My final example? Despite the above, no bids for proven players in the format, such as Scott Styris, Aaron Finch, Adam Voges, Herschelle Gibbs and Martin Guptill. All of them very good cricketers and I cannot get my head around why they were unsold. Jesse Ryder went to Delhi Daredevils for $260K, yet there were no bids for Guptill, something I find extraordinary, especially after his superb century against the South Africans recently.
I can only assume that a somewhat mediocre record in India thus far is the reason, but the 'rejection' may work out for Derbyshire, as the genial Kiwi can now get a break that he so badly needs ahead of New Zealand's tour of England, the ICC Trophy and (hopefully) Derbyshire's T20 campaign.
Very strange though. As Mrs P put it this morning, it's like giving a quid a tenner to buy some nice sweets and seeing them emerge from the shop, not with Lindt chocolate, but with an industrial-sized bag of penny chews...
Don't worry Martin, you're loved and appreciated in Derbyshire. Come and join us for a season of excitement instead.