Mumbai Indians off-spinner Harbhajan Singh believes Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson, acquired at his base price of $300,000, was a great buy for the team but was disappointed at not getting New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum and West Indies leggie Sunil Narine at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction here Saturday.
"I hope Mitchell is fit and he will play most of the matches for us. Now, we have a lot of options. We were sitting till four in the morning discussing about the players. Narine and McCullum got away but still we have a very good team," Harbhajan said.
Harbhajan, who has been dropped from the Indian national team, was happy with the players bought by Mumbai Indians.
"We had a set plan and we got the players who we were looking for. I was a little tense initially. It was more intense than playing cricket," he added.
Johnson had shunned lucrative IPL contracts in 2008 to concentrate on his Test career. But now he feels that the high-profile Twenty20 league is the best way to resurrect his Test career.
The 30-year-old Johnson is recuperating from a toe surgery that he underwent in December and won't be considered for the upcoming West Indies tour in March and April. But he is hopeful he might be able to make his comeback to the Australian team after a good show in IPL which runs through April-May.
The Australian was lucky to get an IPL contract with Mumbai Indians buying him for a base price of $300,000.
Besides Johnson, Mumbai Indians also bought South African Herchelle Gibbs for a base price of $50,000, and India pacer Rudra Pratap Singh, who had a base price of $200,000, for $600,000. Mumbai Indians had to fight hard with Deccan Chargers to get Rudra Pratap, who was the highest wicket taker for the Hyderabad franchise when they won the IPL in 2009.
Harbhajan said with Lasith Malinga, Rudra Pratap and Johnson in the side Mumbai Indians will have a great bowling attack.
Mumbai Indians also made a surprise bid for South African left-arm orthodox spinner Robin Peterson and bought him for his base price of $100,000.
They fought hard with Kolkata Knight Riders for Narine and McCullum. Narine, who had a base price of $50,000, was sold for a whooping $700,000 while McCullum was the first player to be sold for $900,000. McCullum was a part of the Knight Riders for the three years before being bought by Kochi Tuskers last year.