New Zealand may be have kept India down throughout this series, but there is no doubt their focus in the last few weeks has been on the build-up to the Indian Premier League (IPL) player auctions.
The anticipation has particularly grown since young all-rounder Corey Anderson smashed the fastest one-day international century against the West Indies on New Year day.
Anderson played down the excitement after helping New Zealand win the first ODI but the 23-year-old had been the focus, especially with three Kiwi coaches in the IPL – John Wright (MI), Daniel Vettori (RCB) and Stephen Fleming (CSK).
On Wednesday, pace bowler Tim Southee had an eye on the final Test against India starting on Friday, but the mind was occupied by the auction that was to start a few hours after the Kiwis had finished their training session.
“It is exciting times for a few players. Not sure how people are going to watch it or what they are going to do. I am sure most players will have an eye on it somewhere,” Southee told reporters.
In the end, Anderson attracted the highest bid, with only four New Zealand players finding takers on the first day of the auction. Skipper Brendon McCullum, all-rounder James Neesham and Southee were picked up while the big surprise, at least on Day One, was the team’s best batsman Ross Taylor going unsold.
The pre-auction drama surrounding the IPL probe committee report has also been quietly absorbed in the New Zealand camp, and Southee was careful not to comment on it. “No, it is all news to us,” he said when asked whether he was aware of the turmoil in the Chennai Super Kings, a team he has played for in the past.
Southee denied the Kiwi players were desperate to know the auction results. Perhaps not being able to watch it unfold real time – the auctions are not being shown live in New Zealand – has tempered their excitement.
But Anderson was definitely focused on the auctions, following it on internet at the team hotel late in the evening with bowling coach, Shane Bond, and a security official.