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Second IPL season scores low on glamour quotient

cricket Updated: Feb 06, 2009 16:06 IST
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Abhijeet Kulkarni
Hindustan Times
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If the first players' auction a year ago was a free for all bout between eight heavy weight franchises, the exercise for the second edition of the Indian Premier League this year was more a battle of wits with the bidders waiting for the right opportunity to score a point.

And the strategy was clear in the first round of auctioning itself when Team Bangalore owner Vijay Mallya could not hide the smile on his face as the other franchises raised their hands for the first three players on offer.

Mallya was only interested in former England skipper Kevin Pietersen from the lot of the four most expensive players that included his compatriot Andrew Flintoff, Australian speedster Shaun Tait and the new South African sensation Jean-Paul Duminy.

"I was in fact cheering the teams who were bidding for the other three players," he said after the first round. "It meant that they were all ready spending their money and we had a distinct advantage when the bidding for Peitersen started."

The auction was also a bit low on the glamour quotient this time around with the likes of Team Kolkata co-owner Shah Rukh Khan and Team Mumbai owner Mukesh Ambani staying away from the Taj Aguada.

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, who joined the IPL bandwagon last week by buying 11.7 per cent stake in Team Rajastan, kept a low profile during the auction. "I am soaking in the atmosphere here. I am a first timer and this is a huge learning experience for me," she told reporters.

"Our team management is very experienced and have a game plan ready," she added.

The defending champions won the bid for South African medium pacer Tyron Henderson for $650,000 after an intense bidding.

Apart from the bidding, the talking point has been the high security around the hotel. "The security was anyways increased after the terrorist attack in Mumbai. But since so many big people are coming here we have been doing stringent security checks on everyone entering the hotel," said the security guard at the entrance.