I’ve decided to take a day off from ‘Ones to Watch’ series after viewing the CPL draft last night. I just felt that I had to try and put into words, how misguided I believe some of the franchises were in their player recruitment strategies.
Yesterday saw the players draft for the third edition of the Caribbean Premier League, and what a draft it turned out to be.
Who’d have thought that such a supposedly mundane process could be so compelling and surprising? My interest in the draft was minimal until I saw some of the names being put up for selection. A collection of world stars, West Indies internationals and exotically named Caribbean locals all combined into an arresting pool of players.
While it may have been the names that initially drew my interest towards the player draft, it was only as the draft developed that I realised that the whole process was actually quite poignant.
To put a precise figure on a particular player’s worth over a 10-match competition is extremely difficult, and in my opinion, some franchises got their valuations all wrong.
It seemed that there was a stream of players going for the wrong amounts. I wondered whether I just had a misconception as to the worth of certain players, so I decided to do some digging and see if, statistically, some players were worth the money they’ve had lavished upon them.
Pakistan international Sohail Tanvir was bought by the brand new as yet unnamed St Kitts franchise for $80k. Tanvir does have some T20 pedigree, he has played in England, Australia and the previous edition of the CPL; he is also one of the few Pakistan players to ply his trade in the IPL. His record however, is moderate at best. 42 T20I’s have yielded just 36 wickets and a batting average of 10.
While his destructive batting is often cited as an extra element that makes him a valuable commodity in the T20 game, he has only struck 2 half-centuries in 105 innings. I can only assume that St Kitts have selected Tanvir purely on the basis of his performance in last years CPL, where he struck 189 runs and took 7 wickets. Still, for a player who appears remarkably inconsistent, $80k seems a large chuck out of the budget.
South African superstar Jacques Kallis was snapped up by Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel for the princely sum of $100k. While it may seem a fair price for someone who is regarded by many as the finest all rounder ever, I would say that he is vastly overpriced.
In international T20 cricket, Kallis has played 25 times and passed 50 on only 5 occasions. With the ball, he has averaged less than 2 overs per game and less than a wicket every other game. Hardly world beating credentials. In the T20 arena overall, his is vastly experienced, his 155 appearances placing him close to the top of the list. He also comes hot of the heels of a reasonable campaign with the bat in the BBL for Sydney Thunder. But his bowling once again, was ineffectual, taking 5 wickets at an average of 32.20. $100k might be a fair price for Kallis in his prime, but now what you are getting is a solid top order batsmen and occasional bowler. He seems vastly overpriced when compared to some of the players that went for as little as a 1/10 of his price.
Yet the enormity of these players over valuation pales in comparison to some of the bargains that were on offer in the latter stages of the draft.
The most expensive bargain, if it can be termed that, may just have been picked up by the St Lucia Zouks. They snared Bangladesh captain Shakib Al-Hasan for just $50k. That’s a 1/3 of the price of Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, and looks like a solid piece of business for the Zouks. Shakib has a wealth of experience and is fresh from a very successful stint in the BBL with the Melbourne Renegades. His time in Australia brought him 7 wickets at an average of just 13 and an economy of 6 runs per over. He also twirled his way to spectacular figures of 4/13 for good measure. Added to his bowling, he also has 9 T20 half-centuries and a career strike rate of 130. For half the price of Kallis, you’re going to get twice the player.
At the low end of the scale there was a remarkable selection of West Indian talent that was sold for basement prices. Seam bowlers Kemar Roach, Fidel Edwards and Krishmar Santokie were all drafted at the ludicrously low price of $15k – or 1/10 of a Kevin Pietersen if you will. While Edwards say be seen as a bit of a has-been these days, he still has the ability to run through a side with his wippy action and tearaway pace, he looks an absolute steal for the Zouks.
Roach looks even better value, a part of the West Indian team in both ODI’s and Tests last year, he is a proven performer at the top level. Admittedly his T20 stats (23 wickets in 37 games) are modest, but for a player of his ability, it is only a matter of time before he lights up a T20 tournament.
Santokie is the ultimate bargain buy in this year’s draft. Taken on by the Jamaica Tallawahs for $15k, the left arm seam bowler is a West Indian international as recently as last year. His T20I record is also pretty impressive; his 18 wickets have cost just 15 runs apiece and with an economy rate of 6.80 he is inexpensive too. However, it is when looking at his domestic T20 record that you see just how much value for their money the Tallawahs have got. Santokie has taken 118 wickets in 67 matches at an average of 13.83. Those stats mark him out as one of the premier T20 seam bowlers in world cricket. He also finished as the second highest wicket taker in last years CPL. How the Tallawahs signed him for just $15k is beyond me, he should have been valued at over $75k minimum.
When you see seasoned spinners Devendra Bishoo, Robin Peterson and Suliemann Benn all being snapped up for under $15k you know that the CPL has got their price points a little off. Especially considering the nature of the pitches in the Caribbean over the last 5 years. Add Shivnarine Chanderpaul($10k to the Guyana Amazon Warriors) into the mix and you end up with a pretty topsy-turvy draft.
Hopefully this draft will make for an exciting few weeks. If nothing else, it has certainly made me stand up and take notice of the tournament. I’ve never actually seen a game of CPL cricket from beginning to end. I may have to change my ways this summer.