IPL 2024 auction – Shashank Singh ‘confusion’ a case of mistaken identity, say Punjab Kings

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After a curious sequence of events during the accelerated round at the IPL 2024 auction in Dubai on Tuesday, where Punjab Kings bid successfully for Shashank Singh and then tried to convince Malika Sagar, the auctioneer, that they didn’t want the player, the franchise has put things down to a case of mistaken identity.

Kings said in a statement on Wednesday that the player they had bought “was always on our target list”. “The confusion was due to 2 players of the same name being on the list,” the statement said. “We are delighted to have him on board and see him contribute to our success.”

There was indeed another “Shashank Singh“, who had also gone under the hammer and remained unsold. The Shashank Singh who was bought by Kings – an allrounder from Chhattisgarh who has previously turned out for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL – reacted after the franchise’s statement, saying “It’s All Cool … Thank you for Trusting on me!!!!” in a post on social media.

At around 7.47pm Indian time, the other Shashank Singh – a Bengal player – was up for bidding, and went unsold.

Soon after, at around 7.50pm Indian time, the name of the Shashank Singh in question came up, and Kings, who were in a buying spree at that point – they had just acquired Ashutosh Sharma and Vishwanath Pratap Singh in the preceding minutes – raised the paddle. There were no other bids, so the player went to the franchise at his base price of INR 20 lakh.

After that, even as Sagar put up the next player – Tanay Thyagarajan, who was also bought by Kings – there were some discussions and frowns-on-faces at the Kings table. A signal was sent out to the auctioneer by Preity Zinta, who had been operating the paddle, and her colleague Ness Wadia was seen waving his hand in an obvious “don’t want” gesture. “You don’t want the player,” Sagar asked. “No,” Wadia indicated. “But the hammer’s come down,” Sagar explained. Further words went to and fro, before the Kings table had to accept the player as part of their line-up, deal done.

It was a patchy auction for Kings on the whole, where they filled their quota of 25 players by making solid buys in Chris Woakes, Harshal Patel and Rilee Rossouw, but also missed out on some key buys – they lack an Indian middle-order batter, for example – and ended with INR 4.15 crore unspent (the third-highest behind Delhi Capitals’ INR 9.90 crore and Gujarat Titans’ INR 7.85 crore).

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