This year the bidding attracted a regular dose of talent, money and controversy.
This year saw a very discreet, low-key IPL auction at the Trident Hotel in Mumbai, chiefly owing to the fact that not more than 15 players were bought by the eight franchises. 66 players in all were up for grabs but only the latest big sensations got the IPL caps.
Kieron Pollard and Shane Bond scorched up the bidding grounds to catapult themselves to a maximum possible bid of $ 7, 50,000. Hard-hitting West Indian powerhouse Pollard was already the favourite buy this season after his excellent performance at the Airtel Twenty20 Champions League.
The biggest surprise though was New Zealand's paceman Shane Bond, who rose to the highest bid from a base price of just $100000. Mumbai Indians grabbed Pollard after a tie-breaker bid at $750000 with Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkatta Knight Riders. Shane Bond was signed by the Knight Riders after a similar tie.
Other big-budget signings were Kemar Roach to the Deccan Chargers for a whopping $720000 and Wayne Parnell to the Delhi Daredevils for $610000.
Our very own Chennai Super Kings laid their bid for many of these players but were able to bring home only Thisara Perera (SL) for $50000 and Justin Kemp (SA) at $100000. Mohammad Kaif was the only Indian in the auction and he got a Kings XI Punjab cap.
Three under-19 colts — Ashok Menaria, the Under-19 captain (to RCB), Harmeet Singh (to DC) and Harshal Patel (to MI) — were also part of the bidding game. Damien Martyn (RR), Yousuf Abdullah (KXIP) and Eoin Morgan (RCB) are other popular players who were inducted into this year's IPL.
The Pakistanis were in for a jaw-dropping shock as none of the 11 players was even given a thought to be bought by any franchise. Yes, Twenty20 champions they are, but they were devastated when they were given the cold shoulder for no fault of theirs. Some teams cited visa problems for the players because of the bad relations between India and Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
But IPL commissioner Lalit Modi broadened the reason saying that the franchises didn't want to risk their money if the players weren't sure of their availability for the whole tournament, which incidentally the Pakistani players weren't.
Some of these cricket stars were unfazed by this outcome, but others like Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir got back by expressing their disappointment and outrage.
Let the games begin
Some teams got whom they wanted, while some couldn't because of the ‘silent tiebreaker bid'. But what's important is not the player bought or the cash spent in the process.
At the end of the day, it comes down to hope for and encourage players to perform well and go all the way to win the tournament. May the best team win!
Nandakumar is a II Year student at Bits Pilani – Dubai.