Himachal Pradesh skipper Rishi Dhawan received an early birthday gift on Thursday as he topped the chart among uncapped regional players after Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) bought him for a whopping Rs 3 crore on the second day of the Indian Premier League-7 auctions in Bengaluru.
The 23-year-old, six days shy of his birthday, was Ranji Trophy's highest wicket taker this year and had a base price of Rs 20 lakh. The all-rounder drew interest from Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals, before the KXIP sealed the deal.
For the Himachal lad, part of Mumbai Indians last year, it is a homecoming as he was part of the KXIP squad during the 2008 season.
"Good to be back with KXIP. I did well in Ranji Trophy and was expecting to be picked up for the IPL," said Dhawan, who was overlooked for the Rest of India squad in the recently concluded Irani Trophy. "It's part and parcel of the game. It's up to selectors to decide whom to pick. My focus is on my game," he said.
Dhawan almost went unsold as he received no bids initially. It was the Sunrisers who started the bidding with Mumbai Indians taking the bid to Rs 40 lakh. At this point MI withdrew but Daredevils picked up the bid, taking his price to Rs 70 lakh. It was here that KXIP jumped into the fray and a bidding war ensued with Sunrisers, who called it quits after it hit the crore-mark. Rajasthan, who were watching the proceedings from the sidelines, jumped into the fray and raised the price to Rs 3 crore before withdrawing.
Gurkirat breaches crore mark
Dhawan was not the only player to breach the magic Rs 1 crore mark in the uncapped players' category. KXIP managed to retain Punjab batsman Gurkirat Singh Mann for Rs 1.3 crore. Mann was part of the KXIP last year and his home franchisee went hammer and tongs to retain the player who had guided the team to a thrilling last-ball win over the now defunct Deccan Chargers.
"I am excited to be back with the team. In a way, Manan Vohra (retained), Mandeep Singh (Rs 85 lakh) and I are back in the team. We know the set up of the team and will again play in front of our home crowd," Mann said.
J&K's Pravez Rasool, who last played for the now defunct Pune Warriors, was snapped up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 95 lakh.
Sold: Rishi Dhawan (HP) (Rs 3 crore) (KXIP), Gurkirat Mann (Punjab) Rs 1.3 crore (KXIP), Pravez Rasool (J&K) Rs 95 lakh (SRH), Sandeep Sharma (Punjab) Rs 85 lakh (KXIP), Mandeep Singh (Punjab) Rs 85 lakh (KXIP), Manvinder Bisla (Haryana) Rs 60 lakh (KKR), Harshal Patel (Haryana) Rs 40 lakh (RCB), Siddharth Kaul (Punjab) Rs 45 lakh (DD), Vikramjit Malik (HP) Rs 20 lakh (RR), Ankush Bains (HP) Rs 10 lakh (RR), Yuzvendera Chahal (Haryana) Rs 10 lakh (RCB).
Unsold main players: VRV Singh (Punjab), Manpreet Gony (Punjab), Joginder Sharma (Haryana), Harmeet Bansal (Punjab), Uday Kaul (Punjab), Nitin Saini (Haryana), Paras Dogra (HP), Sunny Sohal (Punjab), Jiwanjot Singh (Punjab), Taruwar Kohli (Punjab) and Karan Goel (Punjab).