Dhoni is most expensive with $1.5 million at IPL auction

February 20th, 2008 - 11:48 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Harbhajan Singh
(Night roundup)

Mumbai, Feb 20 (IANS) India’s Twenty20 World Championship-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at $1.5 million the most expensive of the 77 cricketers auctioned for the maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) here Wednesday. The name of the dashing Dhoni, who is leading India in the Commonwealth Bank Triangular Series, came under the hammer as his city Ranchi is not among the eight franchise cities bidding for players in the Twenty20 IPL, beginning April 18. The Chennai Super Kings snapped him up for the highest bid.

Both Indians and foreigners were sold at the day-long auction, at which some of the best known names from Bollywood and business fraternity were present, less than two months before the first match is played in Bangalore.

Andrew Symonds was the second most expensive player, the Deccan Chronicle Hyderabad team picking the Australian all-rounder for $1.35 million

Sri Lankan dasher Sanath Jayasuriya narrowly missed touching the million-dollar-mark as he got Mukesh Ambani’s nod to play for Mumbai at $975,000.

Three more players, including India’s latest pace bowling sensation Ishant Sharma, came quite close to being bracketed in the million-dollar club. Sharma, far exceeding expectations and his base price of $150,000, went to Shah Rukh Khan-owned Kolkata for $950,000.

Two more players — India’s Irfan Pathan and South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis — touched the magic $900,000 figure. Pathan, a clean hitter with bat besides being a potent swing bowler, was snatched by Preity Zinta’s Mohali for $925,000 while Kallis was bought by Vijay Mallya’s Bangalore Rotal Challengers are on in full swing for $900,000.

On the other side of the spectrum, quite surprisingly retired Australian pace spearhead Glenn McGrath, who was touted to be one of the most expensive players, and reliable Pakistani batsman Yousuf Youhana, who is said to have signed for IPL’s rival Indian Cricket League and is involved in a court case, were not picked by any team initially.

They were put in the reserve pool and when they were presented before the bidders at the end of the eight scheduled rounds, McGrath only managed to get his pre-determined base price of $350,000.

Each franchisee will be allowed to spend a minimum of $3.3 million and a maximum of $5 million for buying players.

Two other players fancied by the bidders were Harbhajan Singh, the India off-spinner who was snared by Mumbai for $850,000, apparently for his all-round capabilities, and left-handed West Indian opener Chris Gayle who went to Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata team for $800,000.

There are five icon players - Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai), Rahul Dravid (Bangalore), Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata), Yuvraj Singh (Mohali) and Virender Sehwag (Delhi) - who will automatically play for their teams. They were not put up for auction, but will still get 15 percent more money than the highest paid player in their teams.

The biggest gainer was Delhi’s Ishant Sharma, who has improved by leaps and bounds during the ongoing Australian tour. The teenaged pacer’s base price was $150,000 but he was bought for $950,00 - an unexpected raise of $800,00.

Chennai team seems to have planned well for the auction as they have secured the services of some of the biggest hitters of the game - Dhoni, Australia’s Matthew Hayden and Jacob Oram of New Zealand - besides wily off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka and South African fast bowler Makhaya Ntini.

Hyderabad also strategised their buying well. They too have two hard-hitters in Symonds and his Australian teammate Adam Gilchrist, India’s promising Rohit Sharma, Shahid Afridi of Pakistan, South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs, who hit six sixes in an over in the 2007 World Cup. The team’s bowling department is well served by Sri Lankan pacers Chaminda Vaas and Nuwan Zoysa, India’s Rudra Pratap Singh and Scott Styris of New Zealand.

Mumbai, on the other hand, have the deadly combination of Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka, supported by hard-hitting South African Loots Bosman. Lankan pace duo Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando and Harbhajan will take care of their bowling department.

Mohali also secured an exciting combination of some competent batsmen and bowlers. While Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene and his team mate-cum-wicket-keeper Kumar Sangakkara are their main batsmen, Australian speedster Brett Lee and Pathan will take care of bowling.

Jaipur has bought mostly foreigners, and it will be interesting to see whether Mohammed Kaif will lead the side that also has South Africa skipper Graeme Smith, retired Shane Warne and Younis Khan, who has led Pakistan often.

South Africa’s Jacques Kallis and wicket-keeper Mark Boucher besides Anil Kumble and Zaheer Khan are the main players of Bangalore, which also bought Australian fast bowler Nathan Bracken and West Indian batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul.

No English player was available because the English county championship is clashing with the 44-day IPL.

While each team will be allowed to register a maximum of eight foreign players, only four will be able to play in the XI during any match. The XII, including the 12th man to be named for each match, will comprise four of the BCCI-contracted players, four Ranji Trophy players and four under-22 players besides the four overseas players. Some of the Ranji and under-22 players will also come from the catchments areas tagged with each of the eight teams.

All eight franchises, which have spent a cumulative $718 million to buy the eight teams, were at the auction. They were Mukesh Ambani (Mumbai), Mallya (Bangalore), Shah Rukh (Kolkata), Preity Zinta (Mohali), Emerging Media (Jaipur), Deccan Chronicle (Hyderabad), India Cements (Chennai) and GMR Group (Delhi).

It will be a 44-day tournament this year. The first game between Bangalore and Kolkata will be played under floodlights at Bangalore’s M. Chinnaswamy Stadium April 18.

The bidders and their franchise-buying price:

1. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance for Mumbai team ($111.9 million)
2. Deccan Chronicle for Hyderabad ($107.01 million)
3. Vijay Mallya’s UB Group for Bangalore ($106 million)
4. India Cements for Chennai ($91 million)
5. GMR Holdings for Delhi ($84 million)
6. Consortium led by Preity Zinta for Mohali ($76 million)
7. Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies (with Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta) for Kolkata ($75.09 million)
8. Emerging Media, a consortium including Manoj Badale of England, Lachlan Murdoch and others for Jaipur ($67 million)

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