Robin Uthappa topped the charts, triggering the highest bid of Rs.3.25 lakh, as the bidding for players competing in the forthcoming Karnataka Premier League Twenty20 tournament concluded at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Friday afternoon. Bangalore Brigaders, the team representing the Bangalore Urban zone, snapped up Uthappa in a well-contested bid.
Uthappa may have emerged on top of the heap but there was stiff competition from allrounder Stuart Binny, who has just returned from the rebel Indian Cricket League, thanks to the amnesty offered by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Stuart secured Rs.3.20 lakh as Bijapur Bulls trumped the competition.
Surprisingly Manish Pandey, who was expected to be a top-draw, gained only Rs.2.55 lakh from Belgaavi Panthers. Pandeys bid was number 24 in the list and by then most of the team-owners were struggling with shrinking budgets and hence his value dipped. Pandey however was in his element on the field, striking a century for KSCA XI against Air India in the KSCA All India invitation tournament final in the adjoining ground. Even Sunil Joshi went for less at Rs.2.05 lakh.
Earlier, the bidding for the top 48 players started at 10 a.m. with Charu Sharma donning the role of auctioneer and -the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) officials selected the players by a draw of lots. Left arm spinner K.P. Appanna became the first player to be auctioned in the KPL. Appanna was picked up by Malnad Gladiators (Shimoga) for Rs.1.45 lakh.
The spotlight, however, shifted immediately to Uthappa, who was next on the block and as Bangalore Brigaders lapped him up, the opener was busy playing for Air India on the nearby field as part of the Air India team. As the bidding process gathered pace, B. Akhil’s name caused a stir and the all-rounder emerged as the third-most expensive player in the KPL, notching Rs.3 lakh with Provident Bangalore (Bangalore Rural) bidding successfully.
Attention was also riveted on Sunil Joshi, who with his mix of proven left-arm spin and handy batting lower down the order, caused the bids to zoom a bit until it steadied at the two lakh mark. Eventually Shamanur Davangere Diamonds, representing Joshi’s catchment area of Hubli-Dharwad, bagged the veteran at Rs.2.05 lakh.
The bidding process paused for a while when KSCA Secretary Brijesh Patel read out the available balance with the eight franchises who were juggling their combined budgetary cap of Rs.7 lakh to buy top six players for their respective teams.
“Mangalore is yet to open their account and they have all the money, may be they can give it to the KSCA,” said Patel with a smile.
Perhaps on cue, Mangalore picked Udit Patel at Rs.90,000 and later grabbed opener Bharat Chipli for Rs.2.35 lakh.
Later the bidding race over-heated for Stuart Binny, struck a high with seamer Vinay Kumar (Rs.2.50 lakh), slumped for a while and then flickered when unheralded all-rounder R. Jonathan got Rs.1.80 lakh from Mangalore.
The KPL Twenty20 tournament featuring eight zonal teams will be held in Bangalore and in Mysore from September 9 to 23. Mysore will host six matches from September 18 to 20.
The players (read as player, team, bid amount in lakhs): 1. K.P. Appanna, Malnad Gladiators, 1.45 lakh; 2. Robin Uthappa, Bangalore Brigaders, 3.25; 3. K.B. Pawan, Mysore Maharajas, 1.85; 4. C.M. Gautam, Shamanur Davangere Diamonds, 1.40; 5. Sunil Raju, Shamanur Davangere Diamonds, 1.35; 6. B. Akhil, Provident Bangalore, 3; 7. C. Raghu, Mysore Maharajas, 1.60; 8. Ganesh Satish, Malnad Gladiators, 1.30; 9. Sunil Joshi, Shamanur Davangere Diamonds, 2.05; 10. Udit Patel, Mangalore, 0.90; 11. Raju Bhatkal, Malnad Gladiators, 2.10; 12. Thilak Naidu, Provident Bangalore, 1.10; 13. Deepak Chougule, Bangalore Brigaders, 1.80; 14. Bharat Chipli, Mangalore, 2.35; 15. Stuart Binny, Bijapur Bulls, 3.20; 16. A. Mithun, Malnad Gladiators, 1.50; 17. Devraj Patil, Bijapur Bulls, 1.70; 18. N.C. Aiyappa, Provident Bangalore, 0.80; 19. Vinay Kumar, Belgaavi Panthers, 2.50; 20. David Johnson, Belgaavi Panthers, 0.35; 21. Sudhindra Shinde, Mangalore, 0.95; 22. Amit Verma, Provident Bangalore, 1.35; 23. S. Arvind, Mangalore, 1.25; 24. Manish Pandey, Belgaavi Panthers, 2.55; 25. David Mathias, Bangalore Brigaders, 0.35; 26. Suraj Sampath, Belgaavi Panthers, 0.30; 27. Karun Nair, Mangalore, 0.40; 28. Sinan Abdul Khader, Mangalore, 0.20; 29. Chetan William, Mysore Maharajas, 1.05; 30. K.L. Rahul, Bangalore Brigaders, 1.0; 31. Pawan Deshpande, Shamanur Davangere Diamonds, 0.30; 32. S.L. Akshay, Malnad Gladiators, 0.40; 33. Abrar Kazi, Mysore Maharajas, 0.55; 34. Anirudh Joshi, Provident Bangalore, 0.45; 35. Mansur Ali Khan, Bangalore Brigaders, 0.35; 36. Vinay Uthappa, Belgaavi Panthers, 0.35; 37. C.B. Karthik, Bijapur Bulls, 0.30; 38. Kunal Kapoor, Malnad Gladiators, 0.25; 39. M.R. Darshan, Provident Bangalore, 0.20; 40. R. Jonathan, Mangalore, 1.80; 41. Md. Arif, Bijapur Bulls, 0.40; 42. Aditya Sagar, Mysore Maharajas, 1.0; 43. A.V. Ragavendra Rao, Shamanur Davangere Diamonds, 0.20; 44. Mayank Agarwal, Shamanur Davangere Diamonds, 1.0; 45. C. Raghavendra, Mysore Maharajas, 0.45; 46. P. Yogesh, Belgaavi Panthers, 0.45; 47. C.B. Karthik, Bangalore Brigaders, 0.20; 48. Mithun Beerala, Bijapur Bulls, 0.30.
July 17: KPL launched.
August 5: Bidding for teams garners Rs.35 crore. Brigade Group with Rs.7.2 crore for Bangalore Urban, chips in the highest bid.
August 13: BCCI says no to KSCAs request for outside-Karnataka players in the KPL.
August 14: Bidding for top 48 players. Robin Uthappa gets the highest bid of Rs. 3.25 lakh from Bangalore Brigaders.
September 9 to 23: KPL at Bangalore and Mysore.
Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadeyar, KSCA President: “The KPL has got a tremendous response, the concept is a success and we from the KSCA promise support to all the team-owners.”
Brijesh Patel, KSCA Secretary: “The KPL will help rural cricketers gain exposure. Playing in front of crowds and being part of live television will toughen these players.”
Anil Kumble: “Why can’t the KSCA conduct the tournament on its own instead of letting corporates in? The KSCA can develop rural infrastructure on its own.”
Javagal Srinath: “There seems to be a shift in priority within the KSCA. It is evident in the way they have handled the Karnataka Cricket Academy, which needs to be revived.”
Sunil Joshi: “Having emerged from Gadag, I know the difficulties of a rural cricketer. The KPL, if handled well, can help rural players.”