Fleming: Hard to retain Ashwin under Rs. 4 crore at IPL auction

Chennai Super Kings, coming into the auction with Rs. 47 crore, made no bid for its former spinner Ravichandran Ashwin. Ashwin went to Kings XI Punjab for Rs. 7.6 crore.

R. Ashwin spent seven seasons with Chennai Super Kings.   -  R. Raghu

Ravichandran Ashwin heading to Kings XI Punjab created the first headlines of the Indian Premier League auction held in Bangalore on Saturday. The Chennai Super Kings, coming into the auction with Rs. 47 crore, made no bid for its former spinner.

Ashwin goes to Kings XI for Rs 7.6 crore

"We went into the auction knowing our cap for Ashwin will not be more than Rs. 4 crore, knowing it will be a lot more than 4. He (Ashwin) was a big part of CSK. But as proven it was going to be harder to retain him," CSK coach Stephen Fleming said.

The think-tank instead made a coup in signing veteran India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for his base price of Rs. 2 crore to support Ravindra Jadeja. "His bowling will support wider boundaries. He was outstanding last year. And with the combination of M.S. Dhoni and Suresh Raina, the Indian core is strong now adding to Bhajji's purchase," the former New Zealand skipper said.

Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody feels the purchase of Manish Pandey will add balance to the IPL side. Pandey, formerly of Kolkata Knight Riders, was picked up by the 2016 IPL champion for a whopping Rs. 11 crore at the auction.

Hyderabad ropes in Pandey for a fortune

"He is an Indian top order batsman. Indian batsmen come at a premier price. We knew we have to pay the high price for Indian players. Not a lot of supply of those kind of players (of Pandey's quality). He adds a lot to fielding, the kind which we want our team to display. Also, the Hyderabad surface will suit his game and he will add balance to our side," said Moody.

Manish Pandey was purchased by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs. 11 crore.   -  AFP

 

After going quiet in the initial stage of the auction, Royal Challengers Bangalore came alive during the bidding for all-rounders. The side bought Woakes (Rs. 7.4 crore), Kiwi Colin de Grandhomme (Rs. 2.2 crore) and England's Moeen Ali (Rs. 1.7 crore).

"Our strategy for this year's auction was to pick up all-rounders. In Woakes, Colin and Moeen, I feel we have filled our needs. That works pretty well at Chinnaswamy stadium.

After missing out on England all-rounder Chris Woakes in the bidding race with RCB, CSK roped in former Australia cricketer Shane Watson. "Our strategy is around all-rounders. Has been our strategy in the past. He had a very good BBL. His experience is important. We have been on the receiving end of Watson in the past seasons. One way of eliminating that is to get him on your side," said Fleming.

After making a good start to the auction and having retained key players in David Warner and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Moody was pleased with the day's preceedings. "We knew the first day of the auction was going to unpredicatble. But we are pretty pleased. A lot of work left to be done in the afternoon's auction. We also have tomorrow as well," the former Australia cricketer said.

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