Young India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was sold for $2 million at the Indian Premier League auction in Bangalore on Saturday, but a host of big-name stars missed out.
Reigning IPL champions Chennai Super Kings, owned by Board of Control for Cricket in India president N Srinivasan, bagged the 23-year-old Jadeja after an intense bidding war with Deccan Chargers.
Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene is now a Delhi Daredevil
Jadeja joins Indian colleagues Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa and Rohit Sharma in the $2-million-a-year bracket in the money-spinning Twenty20 league. Just 25 of the 144 foreign and Indian players who had thrown their hat in the ring found favour with the franchises in the auction, which was restricted to players not already aligned to any team. Among the chief gainers were Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, bought by Delhi Daredevils for $1.4 million, and Indian seamer Vinay Kumar, who fetched $1.0 million from Royal Challengers Bangalore.
New Zealand wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum went to Kolkata Knight Riders for $900,000, while 41-year-old Australian spinner Brad Hogg was picked up by Rajasthan Royals for $180,000. Former Pakistan international Azhar Mahmood, who now holds a British passport, will play for Kings XI Punjab for $200,000.
No takers for Poms
A bigger surprise, however, was the list of players who missed out. There were no takers for some prominent England players despite their team being the No 1 Test side and also the reigning world Twenty20 champions.
England's international players will not be available for more than a month, since their tour of Sri Lanka ends on April 7 and is followed by a home series against the West Indies starting in mid-May. Veteran Indian batsman VVS Laxman was also unsold.
Jadeja, Jayawardene, Kumar and McCullum belonged to the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers franchise, which played in last year's tournament before it was thrown out of the IPL in September for non-payment of dues.
The franchises used the auction to fill their quota of 11 foreign stars in the 33-man squads allowed for each club ahead of the fifth edition of the IPL which will be played between April 4 and May 27. Much depended on the availability of the players for the seven-week 76-match tournament.