Mohammad Kaif will consider himself very lucky as he nearly missed the Indian Premier League (IPL) III bus on Tuesday.
The former Rajasthan Royals middle-order batsman, who was the only Indian to go under the hammer, went unpicked in the auction initially, but was later signed up by Kings XI Punjab for 2.5 times more than his base price of $100,000 (Rs 45.5 lakh).
Kaif was bought out by the Rajasthan Royals on Monday and sent into the auction pool. Placed in ‘Pool B’, Kaif fizzled out against South African Wayne Parnell and New Zealand speedster Shane Bond.
He remained unsold until he was later brought back into the auction pool at the behest of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
After an intense bidding, Kings XI Punjab won Kaif for $2,50,000 (Rs1.13 crore). While Kings XI Punjab co-owner Priety Zinta “blamed” the Rajasthan Royals for the hike in Kaif's price, co-owner Ness Wadia quickly said in damage control: “Kaif brings in the Indian side of things to our squad. We see tremendous value in him as a middle-order player and he is a great fielder.”
For Kiaf, it would be quite tough to break into a more or less stable batting line-up.