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Life-changing for few, routine for the others

cricket Updated: Jan 09, 2011 00:19 IST
Subhash Rajta
Subhash Rajta
Hindustan Times
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Makhaya Ntini quietly walked up to an Indian journalist even as South Africa's net session was on in full steam for the T20 match. "So, what's the news?" he asked. "Johan Botha and AB de Villiers been bought," he's told. "Wow," he whistles on hearing the amount and walks back to the nets.

AB de Villiers, meanwhile, also slipped out from the nets and browsed through his Blackberry to see it for himself. A big smile lit up his face on seeing what he had heard.

Even as the players were training hard, they had the IPL auctions at the back of their minds. "It's been quite an interesting practice session," said Johan Botha, South Africa skipper, referring to the bits of news filtering in during the session.

Indian players, on the other hand, looked their usual self --- aloof and indifferent. Perhaps, the news of quite a few of them going for mind-boggling sums had already sunk in, or maybe they are now used to it.

"We aren't actually following it much. We don't know where it's being telecast. We are getting the information through some odd text messages and some phone calls," said India skipper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

But the skipper sounded really pleased with the astonishing sums players like Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan and Rohit Sharma had received. "Of course you feel happy as long as cricketers are getting money, irrespective of who's getting how much. That's (money) the big thing IPL has brought to Indian cricket, and hopefully lots of cricketers will get good money," said Dhoni.

While the Indian players may be used to these astronomical sums, it's actually a 'life-changing event' for cricketers from other parts of the world. Johan Botha, who was picked by the Rajasthan Royals for a whopping $950,000 (R 4.37 crore approx), was actually at a loss for words. "It's a massive surprise and these type of things are life-changing. I will just try and be myself, work as hard as I normally do and be humble. I will try not let these things change my life," said Botha.