In the players’ auction held on Thursday, defending champions Mumbai Indians picked up Arjun Tendulkar, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jimmy Neesham, Yudhvir Charak, Marco Jansen, and Piyush Chawla.
“I have spent a lot of time in the nets, trying to teach him some tricks of the trade, he is a hard working kid, he is keen on learning, it is an exciting part. The added pressure of being Sachin Tendulkar’s son will always be on him, it is something he needs to live with, the environment of the team will help him. It will help him become a good cricketer, how many times a youngster gets picked in the auction and everyone is talking about him, he has to prove himself and he has to show everyone he has the goods,” said Zaheer during a virtual press conference.
Talking about Nathan Coulter-Nile, Zaheer said: “It is a complete attack for sure, if you see how we have been stacking up for the squad, we have a good balance in our fast-bowling attack, we are happy to have Coulter-Nile back, we surely back him and he is going to add that balance to the squad, previous IPL, he was one of our top picks.”
“We released two domestic players for this season, it is just a case by case basis, we believe in encouraging young talent, someone who has been with MI, it is not that he has gone away from the system, it is about making strategic calls and it depends on what is coming our way in the upcoming season. This year was in fact the year where we released more overseas players than the domestic players,” he added.
When asked about acquiring all-rounder Jimmy Neesham, Zaheer said: “He is someone who has capabilities of a good all-rounder, it is all about timing, we have timed it well. Neesham has the capabilities and that is what we all think, hence the opportunity. It is all about timing, it is all about getting a chance to prove yourself.”
Mumbai Indians head coach Mahela Jayawardene also said that Jimmy Neesham will be a back-up option at number six if anything happens to Kieron Pollard.
“We feel Jimmy Neesham has potential, he has played good cricket, you can have a bad season but that doesn’t mean you are a bad player. He will be a power-hitter for us at number six as a back-up to Kieron Pollard, it gives us good options to fall back to if we need that backup option. He is a left-hander and that is a plus,” said Jayawardene.
Before the auction, Mumbai Indians had retained Rohit Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Chris Lynn, Anmolpreet Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Aditya Tare (WK), Kieron Pollard, Hardik Pandya, Krunal Pandya, Anukul Roy, Jasprit Bumrah, Trent Boult, Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav, Dhawal Kulkarni, and Mohsin Khan.
South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris became the most expensive foreign player in the history of the IPL as he was picked up by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 16.25 crore. RCB bought Kiwi all-rounder Kyle Jamieson for Rs 15 crore. Arjun Tendulkar was picked up by Mumbai Indians for his base price of Rs 20 lakh.
Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan on Thursday was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the ongoing IPL mini-auction. Shakib had his base price as Rs 2 crore, but both Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Punjab Kings made bids for him, and in the end, the Bangladesh all-rounder was sold to KKR for Rs 3.2 crore.
The IPL “mini-auction” this year has 291 players going under the hammer as England pacer Mark Wood withdrew from the auction at the end moment.
All these cricketers have been shortlisted by the eight franchises. A total of 164 Indian players, 125 overseas players, and 3 players from associate nations are up for grabs in the mini-auction.