The dizzying high of the first session of auctioning had barely sunk in when the blow came. Former India skipper Sourav Ganguly's name was pulled out immediately after the first break during the morning session only to find there were no takers. Even his team Kolkata Knight Riders had moved on. Retired West Indian batting great Brian Lara faced a similar response later.
The player auction for the fourth edition of the IPL kicked off with typical glitz and glamour at a Bangalore five-star hotel, just like previous editions. But this time, there was clearly no sentiment for the old guns as the franchises showed they have moved on and only sharp calculations and the purse at their command would matter.
Ganguly and Lara could still be picked up later in the auction at lower prices, but the message was clear; players should fit into the racy Twenty20 game.
The Kolkata Knight Riders showed the same decisiveness to purchase India opener Gautam Gambhir, one of the hot picks before the two-day auction began, for a record $2.4 million (Rs 11.04 cr). Not retained by Delhi Daredevils this time, Gambhir made more than 1000% jump having started at a reserve price of $200,000.
That set the new benchmark. Gambhir's price eclipsed the $1.55 million Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen commanded before the 2009 league. KP was this time bought for a modest $650,000 (Rs 3 cr) by Deccan Chargers.
Mumbai reportedly acquired West Indies all rounder Keiron Pollard for $2.2 million last year, although the amount is unofficial after a tie at $750,000.
KKR were on the charge in the morning as they grabbed another prize asset, Yusuf Pathan. The explosive batsman and off spinner cost $2.1 million (Rs 9.6 cr). Kolkata showed aggression as it had spent $5.6 million (Rs 25 cr) of its total purse of $9 million (Rs 41 cr) even before the morning was over as it got Jacques Kallis for another $1.1 million (Rs 5 cr). Indian batsmen ruled the roost at the auction with Rohit Sharma commanding $2 million (Rs 9.2 cr) as his home team Mumbai Indians made a successful bid.
The Sahara Pune Warriors, one of the two new franchises, also made a strong move to purchase Indian batsmen. They bought Yuvraj Singh for $1.8 million and then wrested Robin Uthappa for the joint second highest price. However, the seniors were painfully made aware of their diminishing T20 value. Rahul Dravid barely managed to clear his reserve price of $400,000 as Rajasthan picked him for Rs 2.3 cr. VVS Laxman went to Kochi for just double of his base price of $200,000.
The fights and scrambling were reserved to net the younger lot. Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI, Punjab were at loggerheads for a while over Saurabh Tiwary, the 21-year-old left-handed batsman. RCB finally bought him. The other intense battle came for Irfan Pathan, belying the fact the all rounder was not even named in the 30-player probables list for the World Cup. Delhi Daredevils had to cough up $1.9 million (Rs 8.6 cr) to ward off his former team, Kings XI, Punjab.