Indian Premier League: Astonishing that Dasun Shanaka remained unsold in the IPL player auction
If there is one player from Sri Lanka who, in recent times, has relished a competition against India more often than not, then it has to be skipper Dasun Shanaka
Yes, he has been unable to lead his side to victory in the last two T20I series played in India. But he has acquitted himself very well in that time.
A quick look at his stats in those last two series tells the tale of a man playing with some next-level confidence.
In 6 innings, he was not out thrice, thus meaning his average in those matches was 8266, and his strike rate was a staggering 192.24.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Dasun Shanaka is next and he too is UNSOLD <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TATAIPLAuction?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TATAIPLAuction</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/TataCompanies?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TataCompanies</a></p>— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) <a href="https://twitter.com/IPL/status/1606266025493745664?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 23, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
He scored 248 runs in those six games, including a 74* in Dharamshala that was a memorable knock.
Even with the ball, his figures are decent enough – he picked up three wickets despite only bowling a total of 5 overs in those two series.
All this does is beg the question of how the Sri Lankan captain went unsold in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL) player mini-auction.
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir felt that franchises should have gone for him. “Imagine if this series happened just before the player auction, some of the franchises would probably not have had the money to buy him,” he said on Star Sports.
This is a valid point in many ways. But as pointed out above, Shanaka’s ability has never really been doubted, given he’s performed well in India.
His absence from the IPL has as much to do with how IPL sides operate regarding foreign players.
There are two kinds of players in high demand for international talent – a rising young talent or someone who is already well established among the annals of cricket.
The likes of Cameron Green and Sam Curran fill the former void, whereas Ben Stokes is part of the latter group.
It was not much of a coincidence that they went for as much money as they did when they were up for auction.
Shanaka, on the other hand, fits neither of those groups. At 31, he is hardly a young star. But his peak as a finisher hasn’t been around for too long.
In the last couple of years, the world of cricket has begun to sit up and take notice of his nonchalant yet powerful hitting in the death.
Therefore, he doesn’t fit the mould of most IPL franchises. He isn’t someone to build a team around for the long run; neither is he a box office draw.
It’s unfortunate for what it is, but it showcases how IPL teams are run – they are businesses first and foremost, and every decision is taken keeping that in mind.
Because based purely on cricketing merit, there is no way Shanaka should be watching the IPL from the outside looking in.