By Avinash Kr Atish
New Delhi, May 21 (IANS): Time and again, Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises spend big bucks on players especially foreigners to produce match-winning performances but it has been proven year after year that cricketers, who get big bucks mostly crumble under the pressure of high price tag and fail to deliver at the cash-rich league.
To be fair to players, it's the auction dynamics -- demand and supply -- which often dictates the amount. Players have no control on the amount for which they are signed at the auction except finalising their base price.
However, once the auction is done and dusted, these professionals should ideally accept the reality and concentrate on producing match-winning performances for their franchise. But IPL history suggests that more often than not, players with big price tags couldn't deliver as per expectations and same has been the case in the ongoing IPL 2023 season.
The IPL franchise spent big money on the likes of Sam Curran, Cameron Green, Ben Stokes, Harry Brook and Mayank Agarwal but their performances have been ordinary.
Sam Curran -- Rs 18.50 crore (Punjab Kings)
Sam Curran, who was signed by Punjab Kings (PBKS), became the most expensive IPL player during the 2023 auction. He was an attraction in the auction after becoming the Player of the Tournament in the 2022 T20 World Cup and also got the Player of the Match in the final where England beat Australia.
So, Punjab definitely had high hopes from him and the England all-rounder also did well in the first half of season. He even led PBKS in absence of regular skipper Shikar Dhawan and guided them to crucial win. However, Curran's performance tapered off in the second half especially his bowling.
In 14 matches of IPL 2023, Curran scored 276 runs with an average of 27.60 and strike rate of 135.96 runs. With the ball, he was able to pick just 10 wickets.
Cameron Green -- Rs 17.50 crore (Mumbai Indians)
Green was signed by Mumbai Indians (MI) at the IPL 2023 auction and he became the second most expensive player in the IPL. The 23-year-old hit two fifties against India in November 2022 -- 61 off 30 balls and 52 off 21 deliveries, which made IPL franchises go crazy after him.
However, the Australian has been inconsistent with his performance. Though he is not solely responsible for the inconsistency as Mumbai Indians have made too much chop and changes with his batting positions.
In 13 matches, Green has scored 281 runs and took just 6 wickets, something which doesn't justify his talent.
Ben Stokes -- Rs 16.25 crore (Chennai Super Kings)
Another big name, who couldn't perform upto expectations was England Test captain Stokes. One can argue that, he played just two matches for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) before getting sideline. But even in those two games, he scored a total of just 15 runs and bowled only one with no wicket.
Though he got fit in the later part of the tournament, Stokes couldn't find a place in the CSK playing XI. He will leave for England's Test series against Ireland after CSK's last league game against Delhi Capitals on Saturday.
Harry Brook -- Rs 13.25 crore (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Given his heroics with the bat for England, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) management had high hopes from Brook. And the Englishman also hit the first century of IPL 2023 during the side's match against Kolkata Knight Riders in 55 balls, smashing 12 fours and three sixes en route to the knock.
However, that century eventually turned out to be an exception as after that knock he failed miserably. The team management tried him at different positions but yet there was no success, which eventually led to his exclusion from the playing XI.
In 10 matches for SRH, Brook scored just 190 runs with an average of 23.75 and strike rate of 124.18. It will be interesting to see if SRH retain him next year or not.
Mayank Agarwal -- Rs 8.25 crore (Sunrisers Hyderabad)
Mayank, who lost his Punjab Kings captaincy after last season, had the best opportunity to prove himself once again in IPL. But, he disappointed everyone including SRH management with his dismal show with the bat.
Like Harry Brook, Mayank was also given opportunities to bat at different positions but that also didn't help and he was eventually dropped from the SRH playing XI.
With his 187 runs in 9 matches at an average of 20.78 and 114.02 strike rate, Agarwal had a unforgetful season. The right-hander batter might have to find a new franchise next year.