Bangalore : Flamboyant all-rounder Yuvraj Singh was the surprise recipient of a windfall at the IPL players’ auction, fetching a record bid of Rs 14 crore from the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
But the bid was instantly embroiled in a controversy with RCB owner Vijay Mallya lodging an official complaint to the IPL Governing Council, saying his franchise had coughed up Rs 4 crore more on buying the all-rounder
RCB, it seems, had almost bought Yuvraj for Rs 10 crore when Kolkata Knight Riders joined in the bidding, and eventually the left-handed batsman was sold for Rs 14 crore to the Bangalore outfit.
Mallya, however, claims that the hammer had fallen at Rs 10 crore. “The hammer did go down at Rs 10 crore. Normally, my understanding is that when the hammer falls, that’s the final,” he said.
“We have written to the IPL Governing Council regarding this. I am hopeful that they will consider the matter,” Mallya told a TV channel. Later, RCB said in a statement that the correct procedure was not followed in Yuvraj’s case. But apart from the Yuvraj row, the other acquisitions happened without hiccups. Delhi, too, went on a spending binge and forked out Rs. 12.5 crore to bring wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik back in their camp.
Both Yuvraj and Karthik, who are not even regular members of the Indian team, triggered stunning bidding wars among the franchises to set a new record in earnings in the cash-rich league. They surpassed the Rs 11.04 crore that was bid on Gautam Gambhir in 2011, the highest thus far.
The disappointments were also there: Veteran Indian opener Virender Sehwag (base price Rs 2 crore), who had been released by Delhi, went to Kings XI Punjab for just Rs 3.2 crore. The India discard’s name was all set to be hammered in as unsold before Punjab bought his services fending off bids from Mumbai Indians.
There were also huge pay-cuts in store for the Pathan brothers — while Yusuf was sold for Rs. 3.25 crore, Irfan took home Rs. 2.4 crore. Ishant, who was axed from the ODI side o Tuesday, was retained by Hyderabad for
Rs. 1.9 crore, while Zaheer will now wear the Mumbai jersey. MI bought him for Rs 2.6 crore.
A total of 216 players went under the hammer on day one but only 70 were sold. Former Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene, former New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor, Australian T20 specialist Cameron White, who captained SRH for a while last season, West Indian Marlon Samuels, pacer Daniel Christian and England batsman Ian Bell surprisingly found no buyers.
Australian wicketkeeper Matthew Wade, batsman David Hussey and retired pacer Brett Lee also suffered a similar fate but all the unsold players can come back into auction on Thursday.
Many of the Sri Lankans cricketers went unsold largely because of their unavailability for the entire duration of the IPL VII, which is clashing with their tour of England and Ireland.
Controversial batsman Kevin Pietersen, whose England career came to an abrupt end after a disastrous Ashes campaign earlier this month, fetched a huge Rs 9 crore, and was bought by Delhi Daredevils, the franchise he played for last season.
Upcoming New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson, who scored the fastest ODI century smashing a 36-ball ton to breach the record set by Shahid Afridi in 1996, expectedly got a decent package of Rs 4.5 crore from the Mumbai Indians.
Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson (Rs 6.5 crore, Kings XI Punjab), all-rounder Glenn Maxwell (Rs 6 crore, Kings XI Punjab), Indian opener Murali Vijay (Rs 5 crore, Delhi Daredevils), South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis (Rs 5.5 crore, Kolkata Knight Riders), Robin Uthappa (Rs 5 crore, KKR), West Indian batsman Dwayne Smith (Rs 4.5 crore, Chennai Super Kings), Amit Mishra (Rs 4.25 crore, Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Aaron Finch (Rs 4 crore, SRH) were some of the players who triggered intense bidding in the auction.
Delhi Daredevils, who are building their team from a scratch, bought the most number of players (13), followed by Sunrisers Hyderabad (11), Kings XI Punjab (10), Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders (8 each), Royal Challengers Bangalore (9), Rajasthan Royals (6) and Mumbai Indians (5).
Actress Preity Zinta, co-owner of Kings XI Punjab, Juhi Chawla, co-owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, businessman Vijay Mallya, Nita Ambani (Mumbai Indians), cricketers Rahul Dravid (Rajasthan Royals), Anil Kumble (Mumbai Indians) were among the celebrities present at the auction which was beamed live.
The 33-year-old Pietersen was always expected to be a hot pick since he would be available all through the season post his forced retirement from international cricket. So it came as no surprise that his name triggered 3-way bidding between CSK, KXIP and Delhi. The player eventually went to Delhi, which exercised the ‘Right to Match’ provision to grab him being his former employers. The salary cap for the IPL fees of the entire squad has been fixed at Rs 60 crore this year which will be increased by five per cent in 2015 and 2016.