Gautam Gambhir became the most expensive IPL player with a price tag of $2.4 million (R11.04 crore), veteran Sourav Ganguly found no takers and Indian talent trumped foreign flavour on Day 1 of the Indian Premier League players' auction in Bangalore on Saturday.
Shah Rukh Khan wasn’t there but his team, the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), showed money was no object as it put down the huge amount for Gambhir. The former Delhi Daredevil beat the 2009 record of $1.55 million paid for England’s Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen.
KKR dropped a bomb shell when it did not bid to retain Ganguly, the favourite son of Kolkata. More surprises followed as Brian Lara also found no takers while ageing players Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman went for modest prices.
Young batsmen were in demand as KKR bought the explosive Yusuf Pathan for $2.1 million while newcomer Pune Warriors paid the same for Robin Uthappa. Mumbai Indians roped in local batsman Rohit Sharma for a cool $2 million.
A total 72 players were auctioned for $52.8 million of the total purse of $72.3 available. The list contained 30 Indians. Five franchises in the 10-team field have retained 12 players.
At the end of the day, it seemed the controversies — the sacking of Lalit Modi and the troubles of three teams (Rajasthan, Punjab and Kochi) — had not dampened the mood for cricket. It looks like IPL is all set for a fresh beginning.Glamour queens of Kings, Royals grin and bear it
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