Yuvraj Singh may have missed a berth in this year's World Cup squad but the bidding war over the all-rounder stole the show in an otherwise low-key Indian Premier League (IPL) auction here on Monday, with the Delhi Daredevils (DD) shelling out a whopping Rs 16 crore for the southpaw.
Incidentally, on the losing side of the bidding war was Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) which had let go of the flamboyant left-hander whom it bagged in last year's record bid of Rs 14 crore.
The moment RCB gave up, the auctioneer concluded that it was possibly the longest round of bidding in the history of IPL auctions.
Not to be outdone, the Bangalore franchise made the second costliest purchase of the day, bagging wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik for Rs 10.5 crore.
Delhi was caught in more than one bidding war with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), winning one and losing the other. With neither side willing to let go, the 'value' of 20-year-old KC Cariappa, an off-spinner who has not even played a first-class match, shot up from his base price of Rs 10 lakh past Rs 2 crore. KKR finally snapped up the Bengaluru lad for Rs 2.4 crore, raising eyebrows in an auction where veterans such as Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena and Hashim Amla remained unsold. India's Cheteshwar Pujara too saw no buyers.
At the end of yet another intensely-fought round of bidding with KKR, Delhi picked up Mumbai batsman Shreyas Iyer for Rs 2.60 crore. The youth played his first first-class match this year.
The youngest 'buy' of this year's auction was Mumbai's Sarfaraz Khan, 17, who was bought by RCB for Rs 50 lakh.
Sunrisers Hyderabad spent most of their budget on what can be termed 'smart buys'. The franchise picked up former England captain Kevin Pietersen at a relatively cheaper Rs 2 crore, current England skipper Eoin Morgan for Rs 1.5 crore, batsman Ravi Bopara for Rs 1 crore and New Zealand all-rounder Kane Williamson for Rs 60 lakh. The team also strengthened its bowling by picking Kiwi bowler Trent Boult for Rs 3.8 crore along with Praveen Kumar for Rs 2.2 crore.
Mumbai Indians added Australian opener Aaron Finch for Rs 3.2 crore. Spinner Pragyan Ojha (Rs 50 lakh), New Zealand's McClenaghan (Rs 30 lakh) and Abhimanyu Mithun (Rs 30 lakh) completed their big ticket shopping.
Australian batsman Mike Hussey was back with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) after a season's gap, going for his base price of Rs 1.5 crore
Murali Vijay was bagged by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 3 crore while Rajasthan Royals bought South African Chris Morris for Rs 1.4 crore.