The young domestic cricketer, largely resigned to the shadows, unlike those who play for the nation and premier State sides, found validation in the Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction here on Saturday. The stars, too, found riches coming their way with Shane Watson being the day’s most expensive buy at Rs. 9.5 crore (Royal Challengers Bangalore).
With auctioneer Richard Madley goading the owners, 94 players went under the hammer, including 23 overseas cricketers. A whopping Rs. 136 crore was spent on player purchases, and the two new entrants — Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions — bolstered their respective squads.
The day’s highlight was the Rs. 8.5 crore that Delhi left-arm spinner Pawan Negi secured from Delhi Daredevils. From a base price of Rs. 30 lakh, Negi gained immensely as Supergiants and Daredevils tussled over him. Negi even emerged as the most expensive Indian player, pipping Yuvraj Singh, who got Rs. 7 crore from Sunrisers Hyderabad.
The afternoon offered a mix of suspense and delight as Rajasthan’s unsung fast bowler Nathu Singh found an expensive price tag of Rs. 3.20 crore from Mumbai Indians. Another surprise was Tamil Nadu leg-spinner M. Ashwin, who was bought for Rs. 4.50 crore by Supergiants.
It wasn’t all roses, though, as South Africa’s Hashim Amla and New Zealand’s Martin Guptill found no buyers. IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla got it spot-on when he said: “The USP of this auction is that all the franchises have done good work on the players in the domestic circuit. Certain players like Nathu, hailing from a humble background, who couldn’t even buy a shoe a few years back, went for 3.2 crore. It was very satisfying.”