could have come cheaper to his home franchise.
The auction is being held against the backdrop of the Mudgal Committee report but the mood inside the ITC Royal Gardenia Hotel didn’t reflect sombreness. BCCI president N Srinivasan arrived at the stroke of lunch to a huge welcome from all Board members present and throughout the day, it was business as usual.
From a pool of 514 players, 219 went under the hammer on Wednesday and 70 were sold. Unlike last year, the franchises didn’t go for the spectacular and stuck to the tried and tested. Simons explained it when he said that the franchises basically “focused on the structure”.
Rajasthan Royals mentor Rahul Dravid said they put emphasis on the players’ ability to play spin bowling while buying a batsman or all-rounder. In Steve Smith, bought for Rs 4 crore, Rajasthan found the right candidate.
They also went a long way for Nathan Coulter-Nile before losing to Delhi, whose final bid was Rs 4.25 crore. This time also, the auction was reopened as Dravid insisted that he raised the paddle before the hammer fell.
Sri Lankan stars unsold
Interestingly, most of the Sri Lankan players went unsold and only Thisara Perera and Muttiah Muralitharan were taken, by Punjab and Bangalore respectively. The low interest, however, had nothing to do with the Sri Lanka Cricket not supporting the position paper in the ICC. Sri Lanka would be embarking on a tour of England in May and the non-availability of the players was the major issue. England players too, even Ian Bell, were ignored for this reason.
There were a few let downs as well. New Zealand’s Corey Anderson, who holds the world record for the fastest ODI hundred, was taken for just Rs 4.5 crore by Mumbai. Indian capped players, Praveen Kumar, S Badrinath, RP Singh, Munaf Patel and Manpreet Gony too went unsold. But the Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf provided the biggest anti-climax.
Irfan got $1.9 million in 2011, while Yusuf pocketed $2.1 million. This time, they got Rs 2.4 crore ($400,000) and Rs 3.25 crore ($541,000) respectively as Hyderabad and Kolkata (through Rights to Match card) bought them.
Overall, the franchises went about their tasks methodically and all were happy at the end of the day.
Punjab had a distinct Australian colour as they roped in Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey and Shaun Marsh for Rs 6.5 crore, Rs 6 crore, Rs 3.25 and Rs 2.2 crore respectively. Delhi bought in three Bengal players in Mohammed Shami, Manoj Tiwary and Laxmi Ratan Shukla.