Michael Clarke, tipped to be one of the big buys at Friday’s IPL auction, has pulled out at the eleventh hour.
Clarke blamed his busy schedule even as Indian Premier League commissioner Lalit Modi blamed him for “chickening out.”
“We’ve only got a couple of weeks off, we’ve got a very busy schedule,” Clarke told reporters.
Modi made his displeasure at Clarke’s move known in an interview to a TV channel.
“I don’t think anybody is ready to pay that kind of price,” he said, referring to Clarke’s reserve price of $1 million.
“The reality is in front of him. He didn’t want to be unsold in the auction and so decided to pull out.”
With 17 slots for international players open among eight teams, and approximately $14 million to be spent, Kevin Pietersen (reserve price $ 1.35 million) and Andrew Flintoff ($ 950,000) are expected to be the most sought after.
South Africa’s JP Duminy — for whom bidding will begin at $ 300,000 — is another player who has created a buzz before an auction that could be low key owing to the global financial slowdown.