Yuvi big winner, Karthik hits jackpot at IPL auction

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Six years ago when the idea of an auction for cricketers was mooted, it was scoffed at and ridiculed. Taking it in its stride, the cricket board went ahead with the bold ‘concept’ as players were freely traded and bought.

From a sheepish feeling six summers ago to walking in the clouds, the auction has come a long way, as have the cricketers, who have enriched their coffers with undoubted talents.

Every auction has unfailingly thrown up a star; be it Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Gautam Gambhir or Ravindra Jajeda who were picked up for mind-boggling sums in the past.

On Wednesday Yuvraj Singh joined the elite list as Royal Ch­allengers Bangalore coughed up Rs 14 crore for their prized catch on Day One of the IPL-7 auction.

Blowing up almost half their available purse of Rs 30 crore on Indian cricket’s greatest battler, Vijay Mallya’s Challengers were left battling a severe cash crunch as other ‘hot’ bids came up.

Delhi Daredevils, entering the fray without a team and looking for a fresh start, stretched their purse strings of Rs 60 crore, roping in Dinesh Karthik for a staggering Rs 12.5 crore while retaining Kevin Pietersen, who has been forced into retirement by England, for Rs 9 crore using their ‘right to match’ card to equal the bid of Sunrisers Hyderabad.

For the first time in four auctions, the event was conducted in Indian currency unlike dollars in the past and if it was dollar millionaires who were the pick of the auctions, it was crorepatis many times over, this time around.

Overall, the eight teams combined to spend Rs 212.35 crore with Daredevils unsurprisingly being the highest splurger at Rs 51.40 crore from their full purse while Rajasthan Royals, typically, were the lowest spender at Rs 10.4 crore from their available fund of Rs 22.5 crore.

Having retained five players — including Shane Watson, James Faulkner and Stuart Binny — the Royals didn’t show interest in any of the 16 marquee players and refrained from picking any from the two sets.

“We have our players. Obviously when you retain five players, it reduces the budget. Given the prices for which they (marquee players) went, it wasn’t possible for us to go for them. But we had our marquee players sorted out,” said team mentor Rahul Dravid.

The biggest surprise was Daredevils’ splurge on Karthik, who himself may have been a bit shaken by their confidence, while Kings XI came out swinging and ended up with a smile on their faces with their quality composition.

As in all the auctions, there were a few surprises and many let-downs, but the most glaring of it all was the studied refusal of the franchisees to bid for Sri Lankan players. Now, it may have more to do with the Lankan players’ non-availability for the duration of the tournament than with Sri Lanka Cricket Board’s unwillingness to back Indian cricket chief N Srinivasan’s proposal at the ICC enclave a few days ago. But it only added grist to the rumours.

Be that as it may, Thisara Perera was the lone Lankan to get the nod, as Kings XI snared him for Rs 1.6 crore while all others, including the stylish Mahela Jayawardene, remained unsold on the day.

Of the lot, Daredevils’ squad looked awfully strong, but then again they have always packed a punch but not been able to cross the line. Having said that, their decision to let go of iconic Virender Sehwag after six seasons raised several eyebrows, but they obviously had decided to move on.


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