Overseas Allocation Frustration

In no time at all in the 2022 IPL season, the cardinal sin has already been committed. Indeed, multiple teams have been taking to the field with only 3 overseas players. Rules dictate that a team can field a maximum of 4 overseas players in a starting XI, the idea being that they are thus incredibly valuable. So how have we once again got to the point that teams are not making the most of this?

Let’s first take my beloved Rajasthan Royals, an example of how the problem can often be explained by a poor auction strategy. In terms of their first three international picks, the RRs played a blinder. Retaining the best in the world Jos Buttler, and buying the top level talents of Trent Boult and Shimron Hetmyer gives them a formidable trio. The problem is that Rajasthan struggled to fill the fourth slot.

Opting to only play 3 overseas players can be traced back to the auction. After snapping up Boult and Hetmyer, Rajasthan could not find the man to finish off their overseas picks. Efforts were made to find a boundary-hitting, death bowling number 7, but no deals were closed. In a late flurry the names of Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jimmy Neesham, and Daryl Mitchell were snapped up. This is where a mistake was made.

In reality, Rajasthan did not truly and deeply want these players. NCN played one game before succumbing to injury, and the Royals then opted to play only 3 overseas players rather than Neesham or Mitchell. Neesham is perhaps the definition of a dead on arrival pick given his skillset is theoretically perfect for No.7. If Neesham cannot get picked now then it is evident Rajasthan never really wanted him.

Thus, this exemplifies how poor auction strategy can cause the problem months before the season starts. If you panic buy and fail to get your desired profiles, you may soon start to get a strong case of retail regret.

On the other side of the coin are the Mumbai Indians. Instead of being rooted in auction problems, Mumbai seem to have lost faith in their tactical approach.

The man to fall out of the side here is Tim David. Renowned in other leagues for being an explosive finisher, David’s job is to score big and often score late. With this role comes an expectation of volatility. It is not easy to go in late in a game and immediately smack boundaries. One would expect that this unstable nature should bring with it extra patience.

Unfortunately, Mumbai seem not to view it this way. After a couple of failures, David was jettisoned. This raises questions about Mumbai’s faith in their plan. Thinking simply, one would assume that in buying Tim David that the Mumbai Indians wanted to play Tim David. They know that he cannot succeed in every match, yet seem surprised with this.

The Mumbai Indians case is all the more interesting because they seem to be changing their balance every match to no avail. First they bring in Dewald ‘Baby AB’ Brevis, looking to add some power to the top order. Then, they play five out and out bowlers to try and bolster their attack in the Powerplay. These tactics have two things in common.

  • They have not made the Mumbai Indians win matches
  • They are not good for Tim David

For David to come back, MI need to have confidence in their original plan. Play the team they chose to build at the auction rather than making kneejerk decisions.

I suppose my frustration here comes from the fact that overseas players should be so valuable to teams. A ridiculous number of players declare, so it pains me to see teams botch their buys and inevitably come to regret it. As ever, teams need to get smarter. Stop panic buying in a late auction flurry because the one idea you had did not come off. Certainly, do not drop a player for not scoring in an entire team that is not scoring.

If you are not using your full overseas allocation, you are failing.

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