The two superstars of English cricket, Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen, may not be the best of mates, but they now wear identical price tags, as far as the Indian Premier League is concerned.
It is no secret that recent happenings, which led to the exit of Pietersen from England's captaincy, has taken a toll on their already uneasy relationship.
Rubbing their hands in glee, apart from Flintoff and Pietersen, will be their respective counties Hampshire and Lancashire, who are to get 10 percent of the players' fee for having released them for three weeks.
Bangalore Royal Challengers bid $1.55 million for Pietersen; Chennai Super Kings an identical amount for Flintoff. The two teams may have spared English cricket further problems by putting them on par at the auction Friday.
Flintoff feels the identical pay package has come as a boon for not just the two players, but may also have stopped tongues wagging. A differential pay packet may have added to the woes of the already divided England dressing room.
"It's worked well, hasn't it? We would not have had any problem with different prices but I guess being the same might stop a few of the other lads taking the mick," said Flintoff."
The duo on Friday became the costliest IPL recruits, beating Mahendra Singh Dhoni's previous best of $1.5 million. Add to this difference in the conversion rates of the dollar between then and now. When the auction was held last year, the dollar was pegged at Rs 40 and now it is almost Rs.50.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Pietersen lost his England captaincy under controversial circumstances and Flintoff was painted as the leader of the pack that led to KP's downfall.
At the moment, both are playing under Andrew Strauss in West Indies, trying to mend their frosty relationship.
"It's not been (IPL) in the back of my mind on tour. I just regard it as a massive bonus. I didn't know what to expect, I went in at $950,000 so to get that, it's unbelievable really, it has not quite sunk in I guess," Flintoff was quoted as saying in English media.
Pietersen, referring to his IPL contract, said: "I'm really excited about it. It is an unbelievable amount of money."
"It looked like an absolute blast last year and I think the England lads just want to be involved this year in what is such an amazing tournament."
Other England players sold in Friday's auction were Ravi Bopara ($450,000 to King's XI Punjab), while Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood were both bought by Delhi Daredevils for $275,000 apiece.
"I didn't make any plans to stay up (for the IPL auction) with the Test match in progress, but I must admit I got a text message telling me what had happened. I slept easily after that," Collingwood said.
"I am absolutely delighted at the price tag on my head. The reserve price was
$250,000 so to get a bit more than that is a really nice feeling. To be honest I am just happy to be there because once you get your nose in the tournament anything can happen and the cricket will be something special."
The England players, who will be contracted to their teams and paid over two years, will actually only receive about half of this year's fee because they will be available only for three weeks.
Their availability between back-to-back home and away series against West Indies was the subject of much discussion but the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) eventually agreed to create the three-week window.