Riley Meredith, a name unknown to many before the IPL 2021 auction, ended up becoming one of the most expensive uncapped purchases in history.
Punjab Kings broke the bank to secure the services of the 24-year-old Australian for INR 8 crores. Delhi Capitals were also interested in purchasing Meredith, hoping to add him to the existing pace bowling duo of Rabada and Nortje.
They were in an intense bidding war with Punjab Kings which drove Meredith’s value up from a base price of just INR 40 lakhs to INR 8 crores. But who is Riley Meredith and why did Punjab Kings such a hefty price for him?
The youngster found his breakthrough in the 2018-19 season when he picked up 27 wickets for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield and followed that up with another 16 wickets in the Big Bash League for Hobart Hurricanes, helping them reach the semi-finals. Riley Meredith has a particularly interesting suitor in the legendary Shane Warne who has been very vocal about the Tasmanian’s talents.
The speedster can consistently bowl deliveries upwards of 150 kmph and has a lot of pace, strength and bounce to offer. He was in fantastic form during the most recent edition of the Big Bash League. His raw pace helped him pick up 16 wickets from just 13 matches and he had an economy rate of 7.82 in the competition. In 34 T20s, Riley Meredith has notched 43 wickets at an economy rate of just above 8 runs per over.
Meredith has expressed his ambition to play in the IPL quite often and after several impressive seasons in the Big Bash League, will finally get his chance in world’s premier domestic T20 competition. Earlier in the auction, Punjab Kings broke the bank for fellow Australian Jhye Richardson as well, making him the second most expensive bowler to be sold at the auction.
With the acquisition of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, Punjab have some serious firepower in the pace department. They will be joining Mohammad Shami but it will be interesting to see how many overseas pace bowlers Punjab regularly use in order to maintain balance.