After a rollicking Twenty20-like start on Saturday, the Indian Premier League (IPL) players' auction saw more unsolds than bought with owners resorting to tactical bidding without much money left in their purses for the second and concluding day of the auction.
Like the opening day, the owners again thought it wise to go for the tried and tested Indian players who have a good reputation in the shorter format.
The availability factor of the Indians during the April 8-May 28 tournament also pegged them over reputed Australian and England players.
Among the big Indian catches were Munaf Patel (Mumbai Indians), Lakshmipathy Balaji (Kolkata Knight Riders), R Vinaykumar (Kochi), Ashok Dinda (Delhi Daredevils), Umesh Yadav (Delhi Daredevils), Manpreet Gony (Deccan Chargers) Abhimanyu Mithun (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Sudeep Tyagi (Chennai Super Kings).
However, it was an overseas player, little-known Australian Daniel Christian, who topped the money-list in the opening session Sunday with Deccan Chargers shelling out $900,000, 18 times his base price of $50,000. The 27-year-old from New South Wales is a fast bowler and also a big-hitter lower down the order.
Also, Nagpur speedster Umesh Yadav surprisingly emerged as the second highest and top Indian money grosser of the morning session. The tall fast bowler was bought by Delhi Daredevils for $750,000, 15 times more than his base price of $50,000.
Other star foreigners to go down the hammer were Shaun Tait (Rajasthan Royals, $300,000) Wayne Parnell (Pune Warriors, $160,000), Clint McKay (Mumbai Indians, $110,000), Nuwan Kulasekara (Chennai Super Kings, $100,000).
The 10 bidders, together having doled out $52.8 million out of the nearly $75 million in their kitty, were more into defensive and tactical buying than aggressive bidding at the ITC Royal Gardenia hotel, the venue of the auction.
Auctioneer Richard Madley, however, was on speed dial as he had 18 Indians and around 50 overseas players to sell before lunch-break. In fact, the entire section for wicketkeepers was scrapped with all the teams having already taken a stumper and it made one wonder whether there were too many players put on the auction list.
The owners were left with $19.5 million not only to buy from the auction but also to take on their teams the uncapped players after the auction.
Hence Sunday started with consecutive 'ducks' as none made an attempt to buy the first two players unlike Saturday when it was a fierce battle from the word go get Indian opener Gautam Gambhir ($2.4 million).
There were very few moments of excitement in the pre-lunch session when Matara marauder Sanath Jayasuria found no buyers and Christian went for a whopping $900,000 to Deccan Chargers.
The franchises and their new teams have just about three months to gel, strategise, practice and be in shape for the IPL 4 championship that kicks off in Chennai.
Top buys in the session. Indian: Umesh Yadav (Delhi Daredevils, $750,000), Munaf Patel (Mumbai Indians, $700,000), Venugopal Rao (Delhi Daredevils, $750,000), Lakshmipathy Balaji (Kolkata Knight Riders, $500,000), RVinaykumar (Kochi, $475,000), Ashok Dinda (Delhi Daredevils, $375,000), (Manpreet Gony, Deccan Chargers $290,000), Abhimanyu Mithun (Royal Challengers Bangalore, $260,000), Jaidev Unadkat (Kolkata Knight Riders, $250,000) Sudeep Tyagi (Chennai Super Kings, $240,000)
Foreigners: Daniel Christian (Deccan Chargers, $900,000), Shaun Tait (Rajasthan Royals, $300,000), Mitchell Marsh (Pune Warriors, $290,000), Scott Styris (Chennai Super Kings, $200,000), Wayne Parnell (Pune Warriors, $160,000), Clint McKay (Mumbai Indians, $110,000), Nuwan Kulasekara (Chennai Super Kings, $100,000)