Gambhir tops

With a whopping bid of $2.4 million from the Kolkata Knight Riders, Indian opener Gautam Gambhir emerged as the top-draw. By K. C. Vijaya Kumar.

Cold logic, deep pockets or a lack of them and a sheer lack of sentiment were the underlying themes of the Indian Premier League player auction held at the ITC Royal Gardenia Hotel in Bangalore on January 8 and 9. With a whopping bid of $2.4 million from the Kolkata Knight Riders, Indian opener Gautam Gambhir emerged as the top-draw.

And in a just a reflection of the modern times where performance and youth are placed far ahead of an intangible like nostalgia, the Kolkata team remained silent on Sourav Ganguly, who at a base price of $400,000 was left stranded. It was a similar plight for Brian Lara and Sanath Jayasuriya as team owners mouthed platitudes in honour of these legends but refused to part with their money! The lone cheer for the old-guard was Rajasthan Royals' purchase of Rahul Dravid at $500,000.

The auction was well handled by an enthusiastic Richard Madley, who was willing to give those extra seconds to unsure team owners before bringing the hammer down. Madley was also prime witness to the twin faces of the auction — a bustling Saturday when millions changed hands and a dry Sunday when owners turned reticent and began to count every penny at their disposal while their minds wandered to the subsequent purchase of uncapped Indian players like the Manish Pandeys and Ambati Rayudus in the coming weeks.

IPL Chairman Chirayu Amin and RCB owner Vijay Mallya. "Let's have a good show," said Amin at the end of the auction.-PTI

Gambhir has often gifted the perfect start to India and Delhi and the opener's name was first on the block on a nippy Saturday morning while the winter sun peeped out. Mumbai Indians and new entrant Pune battled out in the initial bids before Knight Riders stepped in and the bid turned out to be the costliest in the tournament's brief history, going past the $1.55 mark of Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen. Missing its star-owner Shah Rukh Khan but still high on a full purse of $9 million as it had not retained any of its earlier players, Knight Riders seemed eager to make a clean cut from its past and CEO Venky Mysore cryptically said: “we came with an open mind”, when asked about Ganguly's omission.

Chennai Super Kings proved to be a loyalist and has managed to hold on to 10 players from its earlier squad. Coach Stephen Fleming explained: "We wanted a sense of continuity and camaraderie."-AP

Saturday's surge in dollars also meant that some of the hardest hitters of the ball like Yusuf Pathan (Knight Riders, $2.1 million), Robin Uthappa (Pune, $2.1 million) and Yuvraj Singh (Pune, $1.8 million) got big bucks. Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians, $2.1 million) and Irfan Pathan (Delhi Daredevils, $1.9 million) were also pleasantly surprised with the faith they garnered from indulgent owners. Sunday in contrast was all about honouring the unsung player with minimum expense and the big-buy proved to be Daniel Christian. The Australian allrounder elicited $900,000 from the Deccan Chargers.

Mumbai Indians owner Nita Ambani. Mumbai has both Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds in its ranks!-PTI

Among the new teams, Kochi snapped up its prodigal son S. Sreesanth ($900,000) and also pocketed two of the nicest cricketers who revel under pressure — Mahela Jayawardene ($1.5 million) and V.V.S. Laxman ($400,000). Pune picked up Yuvraj and Uthappa. As for the two teams — Rajasthan Royals and King's XI Punjab — that were trapped in legal hurdles and budgetary constraints, being at the auction and now secure about their participation in the IPL, is itself an added bonus. “Having placed bank guarantees in the courts, we have come to this auction with our hands tied but in Ross Taylor, we have got a good buy,” said Royals co-owner Shilpa Shetty.

Preity Zinta, co-owner of King's XI Punjab.-G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR

Seasoned teams like Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, that came in with just half their purse after retaining four players each including M.S. Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar respectively, played a wait-and-watch game. Super Kings proved to be a loyalist and has managed to hold on to ten players from its earlier squad and coach Stephen Fleming explained: “We wanted a sense of continuity and camaraderie.” Mumbai Indians meanwhile will give headline writers some angst during IPL's fourth season as it has both Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds in its ranks!

England and West Indies' players had a tough time at the auction as owners were wary of the late ‘No-Objection-Certificate' from the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Caribbeans' international calendar. Kevin Pietersen and a few other England players did find takers while James Anderson and Graeme Swann received the cold gaze and West Indian Chris Gayle shockingly remained unsold!

Shilpa Shetty (with her husband Raj Kundra), co-owner of Rajasthan Royals. "Having placed bank guarantees in the courts, we have come to this auction with our hands tied but in Ross Taylor, we have got a good buy," said Shilpa Shetty.-G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR

The auction tapered off on Sunday with the unsold basket brimming over though Mohammad Kaif's last-minute purchase at $130,000 by Royal Challengers Bangalore after the former India player was rejected twice, added some welcome last-minute drama. “Let's have a good show,” said IPL chairman Chirayu Amin. The coming months with the World Cup followed by the IPL would be a case of cricket over-kill or more the merrier, depending on where your cricketing sensibilities lie.

Players and Figures

The full list of players auctioned (figures in dollars):

Chennai Super Kings: Michael Hussey, 425,000; Wridhiman Saha, 100,000; Dwayne Bravo, 200,000; Doug Bollinger, 700,000; R. Ashwin, 850,000; S. Badrinath, 800,000; Scott Styris, 200,000; Ben Hilfenhaus, 100,000; Joginder Sharma, 150,000; Nuwan Kulasekara, 100,000; Sudeep Tyagi, 240,000; Suraj Randiv, 80,000; George Bailey, 50,000; Francois Plessis, 120,000.

Delhi Daredevils: Irfan Pathan, 1.9 million; David Warner, 750,000; Naman Ojha, 270,000; James Hopes, 350,000; Morne Morkel, 475,000; Aaron Finch, 300,000; Matthew Wade, 100,000; Ajit Agarkar, 210,000; Ashok Dinda, 375,000; Umesh Yadav, 750,000; Roelof van der Merve, 50,000; Venugopal Rao, 700,000; Andrew McDonald, 80,000; Travis Birt, 20,000; Colin Ingram, 100,000; Robert Frylinck, 20,000.

Deccan Chargers: Cameron White, 1.1 million; Kevin Pietersen, 650,000; Kumar Sangakkara, 700,000; J. P. Duminy, 300,000; Shikhar Dhawan, 300,000; Ishant Sharma, 450,000; Dale Steyn, 1.2 million; Pragyan Ojha, 500,000; Amit Mishra, 300,000; Daniel Christian, 900,000; Manpreet Gony, 290,000; Chris Lynn, 20,000; Juan Theron, 85,000; Michael Lumb, 80,000.

King's XI Punjab: Adam Gilchrist, 900,000; Shaun Marsh, 400,000; David Hussey, 1.4 million; Dinesh Karthik, 900,000; Stuart Broad, 400,000; Abhishek Nayar, 800,000; Praveen Kumar, 800,000; Ryan Harris, 325,000; Piyush Chawla, 900,000; Dmitri Mascarenhas, 100,000; Nathan Rimmington, 20,000.

Kochi: Mahela Jayawardene, 1.5 million; V.V.S. Laxman, 400,000; Brendon McCullum, 475,000; S. Sreesanth, 900,000; R. P. Singh, 500,000; Parthiv Patel, 290,000; Ravindra Jadeja, 950,000; Steven Smith, 200,000; Muttiah Muralitharan, 1.1 million; Ramesh Powar, 180,000; Brad Hodge, 425,000; Thisara Perera, 80,000; R. Vinay Kumar, 475,000; Stephen O' Keefe, 20,000; Owais Shah, 200,000; M. Klinger, 75,000; John Hastings, 20,000.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir , $2.4 million; Yusuf Pathan, 2.1 million; Jacques Kallis, 1.1 million; Brad Haddin, 325,000; Shakib Al Hasan, 425,000; Brett Lee, 400,000; Eoin Morgan, 350,000; Manoj Tiwary, 475,000; L. Balaji, 500,000; Jayadev Unadkat, 250,000; R. Ten Doeschate, 150,000; James Pattinson, 100,000.

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, 2 million; Andrew Symonds, 850,000; David Jacobs, 190,000; James Franklin, 100,000; Munaf Patel, 700,000; Clint McKay, 110,000; Moses Henriques, 50,000; Aiden Blizzard, 20,000.

Pune: Robin Uthappa, 2.1 million; Yuvraj Singh, 1.8 million; Graeme Smith, 500,000; Tim Paine, 270,000; Angelo Mathews, 950,000; Ashish Nehra, 850,000; Nathan McCullum, 100,000; Callum Fergusson, 300,000; Wayne Parnell, 160,000; Mitchell Marsh, 290,000; Jerome Taylor, 100,000; Alfonso Thomas, 100,000; Jesse Ryder, 150,000; Murali Kartik, 400,000.

Rajasthan Royals: Ross Taylor, 1 million; Rahul Dravid, 500,000; Johan Botha, 950,000; Paul Collingwood, 250,000; Shaun Tait, 300,000; Pankaj Singh, 95,000.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: AB de Villiers, 1.1 million; Dilshan Tillakaratne, 650,000; Zaheer Khan, 900,000; Daniel Vettori, 550,000; Saurabh Tiwary, 1.6 million; Dirk Nannes, 650,000; Cheteshwar Pujara, 700,000; Charl Langeveldt, 140,000; Luke Pomersbach, 50,000; A. Mithun, 260,000; Johan van der Wath, 50,000; R. Rossouw, 20,000; Nuwan Pradeep, 20,000; Jonathan Vandiar, 20,000; Md. Kaif, 130,000.