Indian Premier League: Shane Watson, Pawan Negi are million dollar men in auctions, Martin Guptill left out
Negi went for Rs 8.5 cr to Daredevils as Watson was purchased by RCB for 9.5 cr.
Bengaluru: Australia's veteran all-rounder Shane Watson emerged as the biggest draw going for a whopping Rs 9.50 crore but it was young uncapped all-rounder Pawan Negi who turned heads with a mind-boggling deal of Rs 8.50 crore to be the costliest Indian buy in an otherwise low-key IPL players' auction here.
The 34-year-old Watson, who marked his return to form with a blazing century against India in the last T20, triggered an intense bidding war among three franchises before Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) clinched the deal with the highest package so far.
Watson thus became the first million dollar buy of the auction with his package translating into USD 1.39 million. He was joined by Yuvraj Singh (Rs 7 crore to Sunrisers Hyderabad) soon after even though today's bid was far less than the Rs 16 crore he had garnered in the last auction.
The duo were the big hits of the morning session which started with the auctioning for the 12 marquee players. Also walking away with a package of Rs 7 crore was South Africa's big-hitting all-rounder Chris Morris, who was bought by Delhi Daredevils.
However, the show-stealer of the day came in the post- lunch session in the 23-year-old Negi, who has created a flutter with his selection for the Twenty20 World Cup next month.
The youngster, who has played for Chennai Super Kings, had a bonanza awaiting him just a day after being selected for the Indian team. No uncapped player has clinched the mammoth deal that he managed to get after an intense bidding war, which was won by Delhi Daredevils.
Although Negi clinched the biggest deal but it was a rewarding day for India's uncapped players, many of whom fetched excellent packages.
Some among them were Karun Nair (Rs 4 crore to Delhi Daredevils), India under-19 player Rishabh Pant (Rs 1.9 crore to Delhi), all-rounder Deepak Hooda (Rs 4.2 crore to Sunrisers Hyderabad), Tamil nadu spinner M Ashwin (Rs 4.5 crore to Rising Pune Super Giants) and Krunal Pandya (Rs 2 crore to Mumbai Indians).
Among the big names, veteran Indian pacer Ashish Nehra (Rs 5.5 crore to Sunrisers Hyderabad), Ishant Sharma (Rs 3.8 crore to Rising Pune Super Giants), Kevin Pietersen (Rs 3.5 crore to RPSG), and Dwayne Smith (Rs 2.3 crore to Gujarat Lions) were the top draws among the marquee players in the auction which was beamed live to millions of viewers.
Unheralded West Indian batsman Carlos Brathwaite was a surprise gainer fetching a whopping Rs 4.2 crore fee from the Delhi Daredevils, a huge jump from his base price of Rs 30 lakh.
Another top pick was Indian pacer Mohit Sharma, who was taken by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 6.5 crore.
Young Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson, who had a base price of rs 2 crore, was expectedly a sought after player with Delhi Daredevils buying him for Rs 4.2 crore.
The auction saw celebrity owners like Nita Ambani (Mumbai Indians), Preity Zinta (Kings XI Punjab) and Vijay Mallya (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and former players such as Ricky Ponting, Stephen Fleming, VVS Laxman, Tom Moody, Brad Hodge and Daniel Vettori actively involved in the bidding process for their respective franchises.
After the marquee players were sold out in the very first batch, the auction lacked fizz but the proceedings livened up when uncapped players were sold for unexpectedly big amounts.
Australia's T20 captain Aaron Finch went unsold initially but was picked by Gujarat Lions for his base price of Rs 1 crore in the ' Accelerated Process' which allowed unsold players to be brought back into the auction.
However, New Zealand's big-hitting batsman Martin Guptill, Australia's former captain George Bailey, South African Hashim Amla, and retired players like Mahela Jayawardene, Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin went unsold.
West Indian Darren Sammy, Sri Lankan Tillakaratne Dilshan, in-form Australian Usman Khawaja, David Hussey, Adam Voges and Munaf Patel also failed to find any takers.
Yuvraj wasn't third-time lucky in terms of being the biggest buy but Sunrisers Hyderabad entered late into the fray to buy him.
"I don't agree (that Yuvraj did not evoke interest among bidders). If you look at the bidding we were very interested, but issues of bidding and price ceiling issues, did not allow us to go for him. He is really a marquee player and hope he plays for us sometime in the future," RCB Director Amrit Thomas told reporters here.
Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh fetched a good deal from the Pune franchise, which bid Rs 4.8 crore for the enterprising player.
Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Karthik, who had got a stunning deal of over Rs 12 crore from the Delhi Daredevils the last time, went for a much lower Rs 2.3 crore this time with Gujarat Lions.
Gujarat also bought South African pacer Dale Steyn and West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Smith for the same price.
Pune also got Pietersen for Rs 3.5 crore, the first player to go under the hammer, even though Gujarat Lions also bid intensely for the dashing England batsman.
However, the player to hit the pay dirt was definitely Watson, who recently hit a smashing century in the third T20 International against India recently.
Also, he has been an ever-present player for the now banned Rajasthan Royals being the 'Player of the Tournament' in the league's first season.
Watson has retired from the longer format but his 130-135 kmph seam-up stuff has also turned out to be handy on Indian pitches.
Mumbai Indians loosened their purse strings for a couple of unexpected players, buying English stumper Jos Buttler (Rs 3.8 crore) and New Zealand pacer Tim Southee (2.5 crore ).
The Indian pace duo of Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan, both of whom have been out of reckoning from the national side, also found buyers.
While Irfan fetched a Rs 1 crore package from Pune, Praveen managed to pull off a bid of rs 3.5 crore from Gujarat.
Gujarat also picked Indian medium-pacer Dhawal Kulkarni for Rs 2 crore. South African pacer Kyle Abbott went to Kings XI Punjab for 2.10 crore.
Indian all-rounder Stuart Binny was sold for his base price of Rs 2 crore to Royal Challengers Bangalore. Another Indian pacer Barinder Sran, who made an impression during the recent ODI series against Australia, was bought for Rs 1.2 crore by Sunrisers Hyderabad.