Eight minutes during yesterday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) sixth edition auction were the most anxious moments for Abhishek Nayar in recent times.
The Mumbai all-rounder, who finished as the second highest run-getter in the just-concluded Ranji Trophy season, broke into a cold sweat when the bidding was on.
“My hands went cold. This was the first time I was watching the auction. It was a good experience to see yourself getting sold,” Nayar told MiD DAY. Nayar clearly lived up to the hot property tag with as many as six teams bidding for him during the auction. He was eventually sold to Pune Warriors India for $675,000 (Rs 3.3 crore) — the highest fetched for an Indian player in yesterday’s auction.
“I kept everyone away when the auction was on and locked myself in a room because I didn’t want anyone to see my reactions. “I was pleasantly surprised to see so many teams bidding for me. I was expecting a decent run (in the auction).
“So, I am very happy and relieved that the auction is over. I will now focus on doing well,” added Nayar, who has played three ODIs for India.
Two-time champions Chennai Super Kings were the first to open the bid for Nayar at $100,000. Immediately, 2008 IPL champions Rajasthan Royals jumped into the fray. In a flash, the bid was at $250,000. Chennai opted out, but Delhi Daredevils jumped in.
New team Sunrisers Hyderabad, in place of Deccan Chargers, entered the bid at $325,000. Rajasthan raised it to $350,000 and so did Hyderabad.
Royal Challengers Bangalore gave a challenging time to all teams when they placed a $400,000 bid. Sunrisers too loosened their purse placing a $575,000 bid. RCB took their time before placing a $600,00 bid.
Just when RCB thought they had got their man, Pune Warriors India surprised everyone with a $625,000 bid. RCB took the challenge and raised it to $650,000. Pune went a step further to place a winning bid of $675,000.
It was a quick change of fortunes for Nayar, who played a crucial role in Mumbai’s 40th Ranji Trophy triumph, scoring 966 runs in 11 games which included three tons and eight half-centuries. He also claimed 19 wickets in the Ranji Trophy.
In Amre’s company
Kings XI Punjab had dropped the southpaw midway into the last IPL season. Nayar then went to his mentor-cum-coach Pravin Amre, who is assistant coach of Pune Warriors India, to sort things out.
“I have always felt very comfortable with Amre Sir. I have been with him for the past six years. Now, I am in good hands,” said Nayar.
Amre revealed that Pune Warriors stretched their budget to get Nayar. “He is in great form. It was a crucial season for him after Punjab dropped him. As for the auction, we were clear to have Nayar and we pushed beyond our budget to get him. “We needed another left-hander with Yuvraj Singh. We are happy to have him in the squad,” said Amre.