Why Did Shaun Marsh Go Unsold In The IPL Auction?

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Kings XI Punjab batsman Shaun Marsh plays a shot during the 2016 Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket match between Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab at The Feroz Shah Kotla Cricket Stadium in New Delhi on April 15, 2016. ------IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE- / AFP / SAJJAD HUSSAIN (Photo credit should read SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Why Did Shaun Marsh Go Unsold In The IPL Auction?

We are just one month away from the beginning of the highly anticipated Indian Premier League (IPL). The IPL is now heading into its eleventh season and it has assiduously drawn in large crowds and occupied the attention of the cricketing world. Several players have featured in every season, but some have fallen from fame and have had their careers thrown off track. On that theme, it was a shock to see Australian left-handed batsman Shaun Marsh go unsold in this year’s IPL Auction. After being a stalwart batsman for the Kings XI Punjab, Marsh was not in demand and perhaps this could grease the slopes for his descent from IPL stardom.

Stellar Credentials

Marsh has been a crucial player for the Kings XI Punjab ever since the tournament’s inception back in 2008. He has been Punjab’s leading cumulative run scorer by far, with 2,477 runs in 71 matches. In contrast, David Miller, who has played the same number of matches, has scored just 1687.

Indeed, Marsh’s average is the highest out of any Kings XI player who has played more than 20 innings.

Furthermore, Marsh was the winner of the orange cap (the leading run scorer) of the inaugural IPL with a massive haul of over 600 runs in the edition.
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On an international level, Marsh averages 41 in Tests in Asia: he only averages more in home conditions. Thus it is clear that Marsh is a player who thrives in the subcontinent and who has delivered consistently over many years.

Moreover, Shaun was the second highest run-scorer in the recent Ashes series. He scored 445 runs and was second only to his skipper Steve Smith. On this basis it seems incredulous that he was selected behind players such as Jason Roy and Daniel Christian.

Last Season

Shaun did not have the most prolific season last time out, but it was certainly a very solid performance. His stats from the 2017 IPL read:

Matches Not Outs Runs High Score Average Strike Rate 100s 50s
9 0 264 84 33 136.08 0 2

He was the third highest run-scorer for the Kings XI and the 32nd highest in the competition, scoring more than Kane Williamson, AB de Villers and Chris Gayle (who all played nine matches, except Williamson who played seven).

Thus, while these numbers are not exceptional, they are certainly not poor.

Do IPL franchises only have a short term-memory in which they only remember the top-performers from last year’s competition?

Too High A Base Price?

A key part of ensuring a player earns an IPL contract, is the base price which he enters himself in at. This is the price that starts the bidding on a player, but if the price is too high there is a chance no team will bid for that player at all and he will go unsold.

Is that what happened to Marsh?
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He entered himself at the second highest base price of 1.5 crores. For a point of comparison, the following international players also entered themselves at that base price: Moeen Ali, Faf du Plessis and Jason Roy. However, those three players all were bought up.

In my opinion, Marsh is as good as those batsmen in T20 cricket.

However, it is a mystery why Kings XI Punjab did not acquire his services again.

Despite already boasting openers Aaron Finch and Lokesh Rahul, the Kings XI Punjab put in a bid for Chris Gayle in the dying moments of the auction. Gayle had a very disappointing season last time out and Punjab could have done with the experience Marsh would have brought to their currently home-grown, inexperienced middle order.

Moreover, Gayle was bought at his base price of 2 crores, which is a higher base price than Marsh’s.

Perhaps if I he had entered himself at a lower base price of 1 crore he would have gained more attention, but this season will not be the same without the Australian stalwart.

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