Sean Morris, the Rajasthan Royals CEO, made an appearance at the Motibagh ground on the second day of the Ranji Trophy final, raising speculation that besides signing four domestic cricketers from Rajasthan for the fourth edition of the IPL, the Royals were also keen on inking a deal with a couple of Baroda players.
The Briton insisted he was here "only to watch some cricket". However, till late in the evening, the buzz was that Baroda skipper Pinal Shah and Bhargav Bhatt were close to inking a deal with the inaugural IPL champions.
On the other hand, Morris confirmed Mumbai's top-order batsman Ajinkya Rahane, who was a member of the Mumbai Indians' squad, would be in the Royals' camp this season.
Elsewhere, it was confirmed that Kings XI Punjab had signed six domestic cricketers - Uttar Pradesh left-arm pacer Shalabh Srivastava, Himachal Pradesh's new-ball bowler Vikramjeet Singh Malik and Paras Dogra, Punjab's Sunny Singh and Paras Dogra and Mumbai batsman Siddharth Chitnis.
IPL debutants Sahara Pune Warriors have managed to rope in Bengal batsman Abhishek Jhunjhunwala and UP all-rounder Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.
UP players in demand
Despite a poor show this domestic season in all formats, almost all UP senior players are selling like hot cakes among the 10 IPL franchises. The Former Ranji champions Uttar Pradesh missed the knockout and came last in the domestic T20 championship this season in the Central Zone.
Among the 15-member Ranji squad this season, Suresh Raina, Sudeep Tyagi (both Chennai Super Kings), Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar (both Kings XI Punjab), Rudra Pratap Singh (Kochi) and Mohd Kaif (Royal Challengers Bangalore) have been sold, and Pune Warriors on Wednesday signed hero of Super Over in the IPL-2, Kamran Khan, besides pursuing ace all-rounder Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, the highest wicket taker a couple of seasons back.