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 on the opening day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) players' auction in Bangalore on Wednesday. We take a look at the top 20 bids on Day 1 of the auction:
All-rounder Yuvraj Singh drew the highest bid of Rs 14 crore on the first day of the IPL auction and was bought by the Vijay Mallya-owned Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Yuvraj was earlier with the Pune Warriors (now disbanded).
The Royal Challengers Bangalore almost got Yuvraj for Rs 4 crore cheaper but auctioneer Richard Madley had to open the bidding again after he missed a Kolkata Knight Riders bid. What followed next was a close battle between Royal Challangers and Knight Riders and finally the Bangalore franchise sealed the deal.
Read: RCB lodges complaint for spending 4 crore more on Yuvi
Read: Yuvraj isn't worth Rs. 14 crore, according to an online poll conducted by HT
Delhi Daredevils created a flutter by roping in Dinesh Karthik for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore. They bought 13 other players on Wednesday and the team is now left with Rs 8.6 crore. Karthik is not a regular member of the Indian team, but he triggered a stunning bidding war among the franchises to set a new record in earnings in the cash-rich league.
Read: Lucky to be caught in bidding battle, says Dinesh Karthik
England may have jettisoned Kevin Pietersen but the maverick batsman's hard-hitting ability fetched him the highest bid among foreign players at Wednesday's IIPL auction. Pietersen, available for the entire duration of the cash-rich IPL after being shunned by England, was picked up by Delhi, the franchise he played for last year, for Rs 9 crore after an intense bidding war.
The Chennai, Hyderabad and Punjab franchises bid heavily for the 33-year-old, whose base price was Rs 2 crore, but Delhi bagged his services after using their right to match the highest bid. "Morning — so happy to be back with the Delhi family! Lovely start to the day," Pietersen, the former England captain, said on his Twitter account.
Leading among Australian players was Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson with Rs 6.5 crores (KXIP), David Warner with Rs 5.5 crores (SRH), Michael Hussey with Rs 5 crores (MI), Aaron Finch with Rs 4 crores (SRH), George Bailey with Rs 3.25 crores (KXIP), Brad Hodge with Rs 2.4 crores (Rajasthan Royals) and Shaun Marsh with Rs 2.2 crores (KXIP).
Previous edition's million-dollar buy Glenn Maxwell did well in the auction again as the Australian all-rounder was bought for Rs 6 crore by Kings XI Punjab. His base price was Rs 1 crore. Three franchises fought for Maxwell. Punjab waited for Rajasthan and Delhi to fight it out before sealing the deal. Mumbai Indians, Maxwell's team in the previous season, was not too keen to retain him after an initial attempt to buy him.
Johnson's compatriot David Warner went to Sunrisers Hyderabad for Rs 5.5 crores in the auction. The Australian opener was a marquee player and has been in good form lately. Warner's base price was Rs 1.5 crores. Sunrisers Hyderabad started bidding at 1.6 crores after which Mumbai Indians joined the tussle, only to bag the Australian player at Rs 5 crores.
South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis was sold to Kolkata Knight Riders at Rs 5.5 crore. He was taken by Kolkata through the 'right to match' provision after an initial bidding war between Chennai and Delhi. 'Right to match' allows a team to buy back a player who has been part of the same team in the previous season. The franchises have different numbers of 'right to match' cards in the auction, depending on the number of players they retained.
RCB bought Mitchell Starc for Rs 5 crore and will bank on the 1.96 m tall left-arm pacer to do real damage up front. The Aussie generates disconcerting pace in excess of 140 kmph and has a mean yorker as well. He is no mug with the bat either and fell just one short of a memorable Test century against India at Mohali last year.
Robin Uthappa was sold to Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 5 crore. Uthappa has stood out for his explosive batting and is a value-buy as he can chip in with the gloves too. His trademark shot, walking down the wicket to loft, will give his side the edge in the death overs.
Retired Australian great Michael Hussey, nicknamed Mr Cricket, attracted a winning bid of Rs 5 crore from the Mumbai Indians. A formidable batsman, the Australian late-bloomer is hard to distract at the crease.
India's Test opener Murali Vijay was bought by Delhi Daredevils, who did not retain any player, for a handsome amount of Rs 5 crore. Vijay, who was earlier with Chennai Super Kings, was the first cricketer to go under the hammer on the first day of the IPL auction.
Sunrisers Hyderabad used the 'right to match' card to buy back spin bowler Amit Mishra at Rs 4.75 crore from Delhi Daredevils. The leggie was picked for India's World T20 squad earlier in the day.
Faf du Plessis
CSK made a winning bid of Rs 4.75 crore for Faf du Plessis who has become South Africa's go-to player in seemingly lost positions. What's more, the 29-year-old is arguably the best fielder in the world and is, at times, spoken of in the same breath as his legendary countryman Jonty Rhodes.
New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson, who scored the fastest ODI century smashing a 36-ball ton to breach the record set by Shahid Afridi in 1996, got a decent package of Rs 4.5 crore with the Mumbai Indians though there was strong buzz of him emerging as the highest paid from this auction. "It's pretty surreal. Watching the auction all unfold, it's hard to explain.
There's times when you think you're going to get picked up and times you're not too sure. You see people who aren't picked up and wonder why, then guys are picked up for more than what you might think. It's a life changing event and pretty exciting… it felt like a little game you might play with your mates then you have to pinch yourself and realise that it's real money they're throwing around. It hasn't sunk in yet," Anderson said after a bid for him was made.
To complement the solidity of Faf du Plessis, CSK paid Rs 4.5 crore for the flair of Dwayne Smith. The West Indian hits the ball a long way and can also bowl nagging military medium. The 30-year-old plies his T20 skills in various leagues and is counted among the top performers.
DD paid Rs 4.25 crore for highly rated Aussie pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile, who could prove to be a smart buy. Speed and bounce are his calling cards, but he is also exciting as an explosive lower-order batsman. The 26-year-old has hit some of the biggest sixes in Australian grounds that are bigger than the ones that will be served up in India.
KKR bid Rs 4.25 crore for leg-spinner Piyush Chawla who is also a handy lower order batsman. The 25-year-old Uttar Pradesh player finds it difficult to cement a place in the national side, but is always there or thereabouts. Having made it to public eye as a teen, he will be keen on fulfilling the potential that many see in him.
DD bagged Mohammed Shami, India's most exciting pace bowler at this point in time, for Rs 4.25 crore. Born in UP, he plays for West Bengal. The 23-year-old caught the nation's eye in Sachin Tendulkar's farewell Test series against the West Indies last year and followed it up with strong performances.
SRH paid Rs 4.25 crore for Bhuvneshwar Kumar who has the uncanny ability to pick early wickets with his swing. Hyderabad have in the past relied more on team effort than stars to make a mark and the 24-year-old from UP fits right in with such ethos.
RR paid Rs 4 crore for Aussie Steve Smith who was one of the heroes of the recent Ashes campaign. His leg spin is no great shakes these days, but his batting has fans all excited. The 24-year-old is in form and can prove to be one of the smartest buys. To boot, he is a spectacular fielder.
Read: Million-dollar buys Yuvraj, Karthik rule IPL auction, Jayawardene, Lee unsold