Big bucks

Barbados and West Indies fast bowler Jason Holder and middle-order batsman Dwayne Smith went collectively for BDS$1.6 million on the first of two days of auctioneering in the India Premier League (IPL) today.

Smith, who played a pivotal role in the Mumbai Indians winning the IPL and the Champions Trophy last year, and was Man-of-the-Series of the latter, was surprisingly not retained by Mumbai. But he will be plying his trade for the Chennai Super Kings who paid BDS$1.4 million for his signature and came out tops in a bidding tussle that included Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore and
Delhi Daredevils.

Holder, who played last year for the Chennai Super Kings, but got precious little playing time due to the depth in that squad was purchased by the Hyderabad Sunrisers for BDS$240 000. Holder will be joining his West Indies Twenty20 captain Darren Sammy who went into the auction as a marquee player and was retained by the Sunrisers for BDS$1.2 million. Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils had also tried to buy Sammy in the auction.

Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies T20 specialist, leg-spinner Samuel Badree, was acquired by Chennai Super Kings for BDS$96 000, while his compatriot Ravi Rampaul will be returning to Royal Challengers Bangalore. Kolkata Knight Riders failed in their bid to acquire Rampaul.

Prior to today’s first day of auctioneering Bangalore had earlier retained Chris Gayle, while Mumbai Indians had retained Kieron Pollard, Knight Riders secured the signature of Sunil Narine and Chennai Super Kings continued their preference for all-rounders by retaining Dwayne Bravo.

Trinidad and Tobago’s uncapped bowling all-rounder Kevon Cooper, who has impressed at that Rajasthan Royals franchise, remained un-bought at the end of the first day of bidding,

The other West Indians who remained unbought after the first day of bidding today were: Darren Bravo, Marlon Samuels, Lendl Simmons, Denesh Ramdin, Andre Fletcher, Andre Russell, Sulieman Benn, Fidel Edwards, Ashley Nurse, Nikita Miller, Kieran Powell, Chris Barnwell, who was on Royal Challengers’ books last year, Devendra Bishoo, Adrian Barath, Rayad Emrit, Tino Best, Jerome Taylor, Danza Hyatt, Krishmar Santokie and Sheldon Cotterrell.

Indian middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh was the most expensive buy on the first day of the auction, a relatively conservative exercise in which 70 players were bought for a total of about US$35 million. There were five million-dollar bids – for Yuvraj, Dinesh Karthik, Kevin Pietersen, Mitchell Johnson and Glenn Maxwell – but the value of some previous millionaires, including the Pathan brothers, Yusuf and Irfan, and Saurabh Tiwary, recorded a steep decline.

The overall mood was less dramatic than previous auctions, with the franchises looking at team-building over shirt-selling. The last big auction, in 2011, had yielded 15 millionaires on its first day and a total of US$52.8 million spent – a marked change, even accounting for the fact that there were more teams then and different spending rules.

Yuvraj and Karthik were part of the 16-player marquee list that kicked off the auction and were fiercely contested by three franchises. Royal Challengers Bangalore made a successful bid for Yuvraj at US$2.33 million, while Delhi Daredevils bought Karthik for US$2.08 million.

Kings XI Punjab paid US$1.083 million to snap up Johnson and US$1 million for Maxwell. Pietersen, whose international career was recently brought to an abrupt end by the ECB, remained a favourite in the IPL as Delhi Daredevils, his previous employers, became the first franchise to exercise the right-to-match card to buy him for US$1.5 million.

In fact, Pietersen, who was once the most expensive player in the IPL along with former England team-mate Andrew Flintoff in 2009 (both were bought at US$1.55m), was the costliest buy using the right-to-match card option.

At the end of the first day no players from Sri Lanka, including Mahela Jayawardene, had been bought by any of the India franchises. Pacer Lasith Malinga had been retained before today’s auction process and prior to Sri Lanka not supporting India’s bid, along with Australia and England, to have greater control of world cricket through the International Cricket Council.

The auction continues tomorrow (tonight Barbados time).

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