As auctioneer Richard Madley was about to bring down the hammer, Preity Zinta raised the paddle. An uneasy silence descended on the auction hall as Virender Sehwag’s name was announced, and suddenly there was an apprehension that the out of favour superstar might go unsold. Sehwag had set his base price in the highest bracket of Rs 2 crore and Kings XI Punjab saved him from a huge embarrassment. The initial bid was at his base value. Then Mumbai Indians joined the race but conceded it to Punjab who forked out Rs 3.2 crore. Discarded by the national selectors from all formats and not retained by his home franchise Delhi Daredevils, Sehwag badly needed an IPL contract to revive his flagging career. Punjab offered him a lifeline.
Yuvraj Singh, however, turned out to be a big hit among the franchises and Royal Challengers Bangalore picked him for a mind-boggling Rs 14 crore after a keen contest with Rajasthan Royals, Punjab and Kolkata Knight Riders. In fact, the auction for him had to be re-opened despite the fact that Madley marked him as ‘sold’ for Rs 10 crore to Bangalore. Actually, he missed Kolkata’s bid. Bangalore, however, were hell bent on having the left-hander on board and had the last laugh.
“We are very, very happy to have Yuvraj. We’ve to keep on bidding because our captain was very keen on him. That extra Rs 4 crore was a bit unfortunate, but the auctioneer has the sole discretion. Everybody saw him look around the room before the hammer fell but he chose to continue. So life goes on,” franchise owner Vijay Mallya said. Yuvraj, however, won’t mind, because it made him the highest paid player of IPL 7. His inclusion also gave Bangalore more match-winning options with Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Kohli already on board.
Dinesh Karthik was snapped up by Delhi for Rs 12.5 crore. Eye brows were raised but the team management had a valid reason. “We needed an experienced and quality ‘keeper-batsman to strike the right balance,” bowling coach Eric Simons said. Kevin Pietersen was bought back by Delhi for Rs 9 crore through the Right to Match option. Sunrisers Hyderabad had offered the same amount but Delhi always wanted to take him back after he became available for the entire duration of the tournament.
On the first day of the auction, the Right to Match cards, which was introduced this season, was utilised eight times but in Jacques Kallis’s case, Kolkata made a mistake by placing a bid and then buying him back for Rs 5.5 crore through the Card option. Kolkata’s first bid of Rs 2.5 crore increased the value of the player who, otherwise, continued…