Bangalore: Mumbai Indians failed to get West Indian off-spinner Sunil Narine in the players` auction forIPL-5 on Saturday, but its senior player Harbhajan Singh expressed satisfaction with the team composition after buying Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson.
"It would have been nice to get Sunil Narine on board but unfortunately we could not get him. Mitchell Johnson was a very good buy and I hope that he will be fit to play all the matches," Harbhajan said on the sidelines of the players` auction at the ITC Royal Gardenia Hotel.
"We did not get Narine and Brendon McCullum but we are happy with the team combination. Luckily we got the players we were looking for. We have got a very strong bowling line-up and we can now definitely explore a lot of options. We can field a different kind of team altogether depending on what kind of surface we are playing. We have lot of bowlers now," said the out-of-favour India off-spinner.
Narine was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for USD 700,000 (Rs 3.40 crore) against a low base price of USD 50,000.
Mumbai bought R P Singh (USD 600,000), Johnson (USD 300,000), Herschelle Gibbs (USD 50,000) and Robin Peterson (USD 100,000) in the IPL auction and still had over USD one million left in their purse.
Harbhajan was one of the IPL bidding contingent for his team and admitted that nerves were developing when asked about the atmosphere in the auction room.
"For me, it was something very new. I was little tense, it was more intense than playing cricket. Obviously, it was nice to be part of the core team to select the side," he said.
Royal Challengers Bangalore`s team director Siddharth Mallya said the franchise is absolutely "thrilled" to have retired Sri Lankan off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan in their contingent.
"We are absolutely thrilled to have someone of Murali`s calibre. Anyone who has got over 1000 international wickets, no matter what age he is, he is always be an asset. It was fantastic buy and fantastic addition to our squad. Murali was always on our list and to have him is quite fantastic.”
"We have Anil Kumble as the mentor of the team, we have Daniel Vettori as captain and now we have Murali...we have a strong spin bowling," said Siddharth.
Muralitharan was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for USD 220,000 (approx. Rs 1.06 crore).
Struggling veteran Indian batsman VVS Laxman, who was a big disappointment during the Test series against Australia, found no takers in the players` auction.
Commenting on Laxman returning unsold in the auction, IPL Governing Council Chairman Rajeev Shukla said that it was the prerogative of the franchises to buy somebody or not.
"It`s the prerogative of the franchises to buy him or not. It`s the commercial decision of the franchises keeping in mind their various calculations," he said.
Darren Lehmann, the coach of Deccan Chargers for which Laxman played for last season, said that his franchise was happy that it got a younger players in Australian Brad Hodge in place of Laxman.
"VVS is a great player and I m sure he will be bought by some franchise down the line. But we bought a younger player in Brad Hodge in place of Laxman. We are happy," he said.