Mortaza phenomenon rattles everyone

February 6th, 2009 - 5:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Shah Rukh KhanPanaji, Feb 6 (IANS) Little known Bangladesh fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza virtually stole the thunder in the second Indian Premier League (IPL) auction here. Even journalists were caught on the wrong foot after Mortaza outshone the established names in the 50-player list.Just when it seemed the drama in the auction was over with Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen smashing IPL records with a package of $1.55 million each, Richard Madley, the leading auctioneers from Britain, pulled a rabbit out of the hat in the last round in Mortaza.

Mortaza came within striking distance of being hammered in the unsold category just as several others, before Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders took the call in the very last second.

What followed was a frantic bidding war that lasted 20 minutes between Bollywood stars Shah Rukh’s Knight Riders and Priety Zinta’s Punjab Kings XI Punjab.

When Mortaza finally went to Knight Riders kitty for $600,000, 12 times more than his base price of $50,000, after the longest IPL bidding, the media contingent could be seen frantically googling for details of the comparatively lesser known cricketer from Jessore.

Here’s a small transcript of a brief conversation, which puts the Mortaza phenomenon in context.

Journo I: Mortaza? Is he from Pakistan?

Journo II: No…? He’s from Bangladesh.

Journo I: Never heard of him earlier! Who follows Bangladeshi cricket anyway!

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