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Immy goes missing





There remains a widespread bewilderment that the world’s No 1 ranked T20 and ODI bowler was not required by any of the eight franchises at the IPL auction, which took place at the beginning of the week.

Imran Tahir’s failure to attract a bid was an understandable surprise but the fact that only Kagiso Rabada of the South Africans was sold on Monday has led to a rash of conspiracy theories. They are less understandable.

There are only four places in the IPL teams reserved for overseas players. Every team is well catered for in the spin department. While there can be no doubting Tahir’s continuing brilliance with the ball, he offers nothing with the bat and little in the field. And he will be 38 next month. There is also the fact that, like all the other South African players, he would have been recalled prematurely for a 10-day training camp prior to the Proteas’ three-match ODI series against England and the Champions Trophy. All these factors counted against Tahir and not, I am fairly reliably told, his Pakistani heritage.

But surely he would have been a better bet than 18-year-old Afghani legspinner Rashid Khan, for whom the defending champions, Sunrisers Hyderabad, paid a staggering $595 000? Surely?

Well, four other members of the Afghan national squad were also picked up at the auction, including the captain, Asghar Stanikzai, charismatic allrounder Dawlat Zadran and the excellent offspinner Mohammad Nabi – who also bats. There is a genuine belief that all will acquit themselves with distinction should they make their respective starting XIs. There also may be another reason they were all contracted.

“There is sometimes much going on behind the scenes which people do not see, not even the players,” an experienced official who has attended the last seven IPL auctions told me this week. “Afghanistan cricket has a lot of (ICC) money after qualifying for World Cups and they are very ambitious to raise the profile of their game in the world.” Although he didn’t say so, it sounded as though a sweetener may have been used.

Wayne Parnell has had his chances in the IPL and failed to shine while Andile Phehlukwayo and Dwaine Pretorius are likely to feature at some point in the future if they continue to play as well as they have been recently for the Proteas.

As for the eight members of the squad who do have contracts – Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock, Faf du Plessis, AB de Villiers, J-P Duminy, David Miller, Chris Morris and Tabraiz Shamsi – their income will be curtailed by the training camp as they are only paid for the games for which they are available. In the case of the highest paid, De Villiers, that could mean missing three league games and, potentially, the play-offs and final – around $150 000 in total. Which is just about the value of his annual CSA contract.


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