The opening bid of the day set the tone for the auctions to follow. Opener Murali Vijay went for a price tag of Rs 5 crore to the Delhi Daredevils, and that was the start of a splurging spree.
After Vijay went for a hefty price tag, there was a momentary pause as Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene failed to impress any franchise. The lull, they say, triggers a storm, and what a storm it was in the auction hall.
Next up was Kevin Pietersen, and the team owners tightened their grip on the handle. There was no way they were going to miss a shot at KP, who, after being dumped by England, would be available for the complete season of the cash-rich tournament. There was no surprise as the teams battled it out to bag the services of the maverick batsman, but it was Delhi Daredevils who used the joker card to full effect as they retained him with the ‘Right to Match’ card for a whopping Rs 9 crore.
Yes, we said Rs 9 crore. This can’t be the IPL auctions, right? The next draw was the big one. As Richard Madley announced Yuvraj Singh’s name, Priety Zinta couldn’t hide her excitement as she opened the bidding for the aggressive southpaw. Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore battled it out for the all-rounder as his bid, in no time, was over Rs 10 crore.
Surprisingly, it was RCB, with plenty of fire in their batting, who had the last laugh. Vijay Mallya and Co. got Yuvraj, but at a HUGE price tag of Rs 14 crore. Just for the record, Yuvraj had a pretty ordinary IPL for the Pune unit last year and scored only 238 runs at a poor average of 19.38. There were reports doing rounds that RCB skipper Virat Kohli was keen to get Yuvi on board. Chin up Cheeku (as he is fondly called by Yuvraj), the owners have not let you down.
After Yuvraj it was Virender Sehwag’s turn to face the moment of truth. In the build up to the auctions, Sehwag had given the eight franchises plenty of reasons to not pick him. A poor Challenger Trophy preceded a poorer Ranji Trophy campaign as the former India opener found it difficult in the middle.
The bids poured and Viru went to Kings XI Punjab for a modest Rs 3.2 crore. Delhi Daredevils – the franchise he played for six years – decided against using the ‘Right to Match card’ as Zinta took a sigh of relief!
KXIP were building momentum for what eventually turned out to be a good day in the office for them. They went on to scalp Mitchell Johnson and George Bailey, and added a couple of handy Indian names in Cheteshwar Pujara and Parvinder Awana.
Apart from KXIP, it was the Sunrisers Hyderabad unit which had a fruitful outing on the first day of the two-day event. They added a lot of electricity to their pace battery, maybe because of speculations of the tournament being held in South Africa due to 2014 General Elections in India. They maintained a fine blend of seamers, swing bowlers, spinners, all-rounders and attacking openers to sit in a good position after the end of first day.
Post lunch, there was not much action from any franchise. They were happy to wait and didn’t fancy a risk on the capped lot. No matter what player they got on Wednesday, the success in the seventh edition will depend on the local talent they are able to exploit during the uncapped auctions on the second day.