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My priority now is to play for India: Rishi Dhawan

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HP all-rounder, who was bagged by KXIP for Rs 3 crore, gets his priorities right

Rishi Dhawan is a man of few words and that didn’t change even after he bagged a whopping Rs 3 crore at the Indian Premier League 7 auction in Bangalore yesterday.

The Himachal Pradesh youngster, who had a base price of Rs 20 lakh, became the second most expensive uncapped player after Railways’ Karn Sharma (snapped up for Rs 3.75 crore by Sunrisers Hyderabad) on the second and the final day of the auction when he was sold to Kings XI Punjab.

 
Rishi Dhawan celebrates a catch during his stint with Mumbai Indians last year

Although he hit the jackpot, Dhawan, who ended up as the Ranji Trophy season’s highest wicket-taker with 49 scalps in eight matches, did not sound too excited. “Paise toh aate jaate rahenge (Money will come and go). I am not really thinking about the money at this moment. My aim as of now is to play for India as soon as possible. “Obviously, I am very happy with the kind of money I got, but the satisfaction will only come when I play for the country,” Dhawan, who will turn 24 on February 19, told MiD DAY yesterday.

Despite his superlative performance in the domestic season, the selectors ignored Dhawan for the recently-concluded Irani Cup. “Who does not want to play in BCCI tournaments? I am also keen to play as many tournaments and play for India soon. That’s my aim. Once you start playing top cricket, money will automatically come,” said the fast-bowling all-rounder from Mandi, a small town in Himachal Pradesh.

Dhawan and Karn’s bidding were the most eventful ones yesterday. The former would have gone unsold in the beginning, had it not been for Sunrisers Hyderabad entering the bidding process at the eleventh hour.

Mumbai Indians, for whom he had signed last season, took the bidding to Rs 40 lakh. Delhi Daredevils took it to Rs 70 lakh before quitting. That’s when Kings XI entered. Hyderabad decided to quit after the bidding amount crossed the one crore-mark.

Soon, Rahul Dravid’s Rajasthan Royals entered the fray, raising the bid to Rs 1.2 crore. There was a short discussion amongst the two teams when the bid touched Rs 2 crore. Rajasthan finally dropped out after Punjab, who had signed him in the 2008 IPL, raised it to Rs 3 crore.

‘I was a bit nervous’
“I did not know how to react when the bidding was on. I was a bit nervous. I knew there would be some interest amongst the franchises to buy me. I am happy to get an opportunity,” Dhawan said.

When asked what he would with his massive purse, Dhawan said: “I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it. I will give it to my parents so that I can focus on my cricket.

“I don’t want to think about money and stuff at this moment. My priority is playing good cricket.”

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