Indian cricketers reigned supreme on the first day of the auction for the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Wednesday, with Yuvraj Singh going to the Royal Challengers Bangalore for a staggering Rs 14 crore. Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik attracted a winning bid of Rs 12.5 crore from the Delhi Daredevils.
Five players — Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Kevin Pietersen, Glen Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson — bagged million-dollar contracts even as the eight franchise teams pointedly ignored Sri Lankan and English cricketers.
Among the leading stars who remained unsold on the opening day were Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene, and South Africans Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell. Former New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor also surprisingly found no buyers. Others who remained unsold included Brett Lee and a host of West Indian players.
The auction will resume Thursday when the uncapped and unsold players will be available for bids.
The auction list of 514 players features 219 capped players (169 Indians and 50 overseas players) and 292 uncapped players (255 Indians and 37 overseas players).
Royal Challengers appeared a bit miffed that they paid out an additional Rs 4 crore to Yuvraj after they bid Rs 10 crore only to see the auctioneer Richard Madley re-opened the bid to allow Kolkata Knight Riders into the ring. The bid eventually ended at Rs 14 crore in favour of the RCB after the KKR pulled out at Rs 13.5 crore.
Pietersen, unceremoniously dropped from the England squad earlier this month following the disastrous Ashes tour of Australia, went back to Delhi Daredevils who used the 'right to match' (RTM) to keep the hard-hitting batsman for Rs 9 crore ($1.5 million).
Kings XI Punjab successfully bid for Ashes hero Johnson for Rs.6.5 crore ($1.08 million) and fellow-allrounder Glenn Maxwell for Rs.6 crore ($1 million).
Also winning a lucrative contract was 23-year old Kiwi Corey Anderson who recently set a ODI World record of 36-ball century as Mumbai Indians bagged him for Rs.4.5 crore($750,000) and also former Aussie batsman Mike Hussey for Rs.5 crore ($833,000).
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With IPL completing six seasons, the eight teams were allowed to retain a maximum of five players, something that only Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals opted for while Delhi Daredevils preferred to release its entire squad.
With the Sri Lankans scheduled to tour England this summer, the franchises were obviously averse to bidding for players from these two countries.
Among the big losers were the Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf, and Saurabh Tiwary all of whom commanded far less price.
Yusuf, bought by Knight Riders in 2011 for $2.1 million, had to settle for Rs.3.25 crore ($540,000) with the same team. Irfan whom the now-defunct Pune Warriors had bought for $1.9 million in 2011, will now play for Sunrisers Hyderabad who won him for Rs.2.4 crore ($400,000).
Tiwary was bought for $1.6 million by Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011, but this time around, he managed only a contract Rs.70 lakh ($116,000).
Much of the action was during the pre-lunch session when there was a frenzy of buying, but the latter half of the day saw the franchises on the quieter side with an eye to their fast depleting salary caps while saving some funds for the morrow.
Royal Challengers Bangalore preferred to retain three as against two each by Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Those retained include Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Dwayne Bravo (CSK); Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Ambatti Rayudu, Rohit Sharma and Harbhajan Singh (MI); Stuart Binny, James Faulkner, Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson and Shane Watson (RR); AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli (RCB); David Miller, Manan Vohra (KXIP); Shikhar Dhawan and Dale Steyn (SH).
This is the first IPL auction where the bidding is being done in Indian rupees (INR) with a total of Rs 274.50 crore available across eight teams. Uncapped Indian players will be making their debut in the auction.