Chennai: Rising Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell stole the thunder from his illustrious compatriots, fetching a whopping USD one million (Rs 5.3 crore), while Abhishek Nayar and R P Singh also invited unexpectedly high bids in the players` auction for the sixth edition of the IPL here on Sunday.
The 24-year-old Maxwell was bought by Mumbai Indians after fierce bidding war with new entrants Hyderabad Sunrisers in an otherwise low-key auction where 108 players went under the hammer.
"He is an upcoming youngster. He can bat, bowl and I think he is a great fielder. We had thought of some names before we came here and he was one of them," said Mumbai owner Nita Ambani on the logic behind making such a high bid for the youngster who is just eight ODIs and nine T20s old in the international arena.
Currently playing against the West Indies in an ODI series, Maxwell was ironically out for a first-ball duck in -- while franchises bid for him here.
Mumbai all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, who performed consistently in the domestic arena, went to Pune Warriors for USD 675,000 (Rs 3.5 crore), a huge improvement on his base price of USD 100,000.
Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera also fetched Rs 3.5 crore from Hyderabad Sunrisers, while Indian paceman R P Singh managed to get a good deal from Royal Challengers Bangalore, who bought him for USD 400,000 (Rs 2.1 crore).
It was a surprise given that his base price was USD 100,000 and he has not done anything significant to merit such a high price tag.
South African all-rounder Johan Botha was bought by Delhi Daredevils for USD 450,000 (Rs 2.3 crore).
Australian captain Michael Clarke and his predecessor Ricky Ponting, both of whom were marquee players, did not generate much interest among the franchises. The two were sold on their base price of USD 400,000 (Rs 2.1 crore).
Maxwell made his debut for Australia against Afghanistan in a One Day International in the United Arab Emirates in 2012.
Among others who would be smiling all the way to bank are Maxwell's compatriot Luke Pomersbach. The troubled player, who has battled alcoholism, fetched a deal of USD 300,000 (Rs 1.5 crore) with Kings XI Punjab. The 28-year-old batsman started with a base price of USD 50,000.
West Indies captain Darren Sammy was purchased by Hyderabad Sunrisers for USD 425,000 (Rs 2.2 crore), while Australian James Faulkner also had a good day at the auction with Rajasthan Royals shelling out USD 400,000 (Rs 2.1 crore) for him.
The all-rounders drew interest from the franchises with most of them getting decent packages but it turned out to be quite a dampener for all the wicketkeepers in the list as they went unsold.
South Africans Vernon Philander and Herschelle Gibbs, West Indian Darren Bravo, England's Ravi Bopara, Australians James Hopes, Matthew Wade and Tim Paine were the prominent names who did not invite a single bid.
The contracts offered at this year's auction are for just this season as all the players will go under the hammer next year.
Among those who got good deals were Australia's Moises Henriques (sold for USD 300,000 to Royal Challengers Bangalore), temperamental New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder(USD 260,000 to Delhi Daredevils).
India's uncapped domestic stars Jaydev Unadkat and Pankaj Singh were also among the big gainers at the auction. Jaydev was bought for USD 525,000 (Rs 2.7 crore) by Bangalore, much higher than his base price of USD 100,000.
Pankaj, on the other hand, was bought for USD 150,000 by the same franchise, a massive jump from his base price of USD 50,000.
Another Indian pacer Manpreet Gony went for USD 500,000 (Rs 2.6 crore) to Kings XI Punjab.
West Indies have lost their two wickets in Chris Gayle and Ramnaresh Sarwan. Gayle was snared by Mithcell Starc after being hit on the pads in front of the stumps. He scored just 4 runs. Starc gave Windies another blow two balls later in Sarwan who was also given out lbw. He went for two-ball duck.
As the auction progressed, there were more surprises in store as the likes of Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis and forgotten Australian pacer Dirk Nannes triggered bidding wars which fetched them much more than their base prices.
Mendis was bought by Pune Warriors for USD 725,000 (Rs 3.8 crore). The bowler, who is no longer the formidable force that he was when he first broke into the scene, came to the auction with a modest base price of USD 50,000.
Nannes fetched a bid of USD 600,000 (Rs 3.1 crore) from the Chennai Super Kings, a massive hike from his base price of USD 200,00.
West Indies bowler Fidel Edwards was bought by Rajasthan Royals for USD 210,000 (Rs 1.1 crore), a good improvement from his base price of USD 100,000.
Indian pacer Sudeep Tyagi and Kiwi Nathan McCullum were roped in by Hyderabad Sunrisers at their respective base prices of USD 100,000.
The unsold list grew longer as the proceedings continued with Australian Doug Bollinger and Sri Lankan Rangana Herath joining the prominent names who failed to evoke the franchises' interest.
South African all-rounder Christopher Morris, who has played just one Twenty20 international, quite literally struck gold at the auction by fetching USD 625,000 (Rs 3.3 crore) after starting with a measly base price of USD 20,000.
The 25-year-old was bought by Chennai Super Kings after an intense three-way bidding war with Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The bizzare buying pattern at the auction continued with little-known Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake going much beyond his base price of USD 50,000.
The franchise that initially bidded on him were Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings before Kolkata Knight Riders entered the fray to raise his price tag to USD 625,000 (Rs 3.3 crore) to snatch him from CSK.
Australian fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile went on sale at a base price of USD 100,000 but went on for USD 450,000 to Mumbai Indians, who outbid the Rajasthan Royals.
The 25-year-old is yet to make his international debut and currently turns up only for Western Australia and Perth Scorchers in his domestic circuit.
Another uncapped player who triggered a bidding war was promising Australian pacer Kane Richardson. The 21-year-old, whose base price was USD 100,000 was ultimately bought by Pune Warriors for USD 700,000 (Rs 3.7 crore).
The prominent players who went unsold after the lunch break were New Zealand veterans Scott Styris and Jacob Oram, Australian pacer Clint McKay, Irish batsman Kevin O'Brien and Australian batsman Travis Birt.