Wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik says he was lucky to be caught in the dynamics of bidding to get a price of Rs.12.5 crore ($2.08 million) at the Indian Premier League-7 (IPL) auction in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Karthik, who talked to IANS on phone from the Bangalore airport while waiting to catch a flight for Chennai after playing in the Irani Trophy in Bangalore, said he was expecting a decent price after his good showing in the last couple of IPL tournaments and also internationally – but certainly not to be "so lucky" to get the second highest price tag after Yuvraj Singh's Rs. 14 crore ($2.3 million).
"When two or more teams bid for a player, anything can happen, and I am really happy with the windfall. I surely did not expect it, I just got lucky that Delhi Daredevils (DD) fought furiously for me," Karthik said.
Surprisingly, Karthik was not retained by reigning champions Mumbai Indians. Yet, they had the opportunity to match DD's offer to retain him, but the price was beyond them in the overall context of team formation. The Mumbai team had snapped him up for $1 million in 2012. Mumbai may again go back to Ambati Rayudu to keep wickets as they did before Karthik joined them.
He went into Wednesday's auction as one of the 16 marquee players and had three teams making a bid for him. Eventually, Delhi Daredevils outbid Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders, who entered the bid after it crossed the Rs. 10-crore mark.
The 28-year-old makes a return to Delhi Daredevils and is looking forward to working with likes of former India coach Gary Kirsten and sacked England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who cost DD Rs. 9 crore ($1.5 million).
Karthik played for DD in the first three editions (2008-10) of the IPL before moving to Kings XI punjab for a year.
"The highlight of the upcoming season would be to be back with Gary. It is a pleasure to spend time with him and the fact he is so grounded makes him a great coach," said Karthik.
Asked about playing alongside Pietersen, he said: "What do I say about Kevin. He is a legend and the best part would be that he will be available for the whole season."
Was he surprised that the Mumbai Indians did not bid for him?
"It is difficult to say anything about that. They had one joker card (right to match) but the price went a lot higher than expected."
Karthik is one of the contenders to captain the side. Is he up for that challenge and does he feel the pressure after being bought for a price higher than his expectations?
"The pressure to perform is always there, irrespective of the money you get. I feel I am in very good space at the moment and, if given the opportunity to lead the side, I will consider it a big honour to lead a side with which I spent my best years in the IPL and I will give my best for it," he concluded.