“What times the gangnam?” tweeted Yuvraj Singh.
The message was addressed to Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and A.B. de Villiers, who will be his teammates at Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Surely, it is a quartet that is the stuff of nightmares for harried bowlers.
Yuvraj's itch to wear his dancing shoes was understandable as, on Wednesday morning, he emerged with the highest bid as RCB successfully snapped him up at a whopping Rs 14 crore in the Indian Premier League player auction at the ITC Gardenia Hotel here.
The southpaw, who has been on the sidelines of Indian cricket until recently and has now found a berth in the national squad for the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, couldn’t have asked for a better validation of the high esteem he still holds in cricket’s shortest version.
It was a respect reflected in RCB owner Vijay Mallya’s words: “Very, very happy to have Yuvraj Singh as part of the RCB squad. We were very keen on him, Virat Kohli, our captain, was very keen on him too.”
Just like his roller-coaster life, the bids that tailed Yuvraj, also rode through a rough terrain as after Mallya nearly closed the deal at Rs 10 crore, Kolkata Knight Riders jumped into the fray.
Auctioneer Richard Madley revived the bid, but RCB never gave up and KKR gave up once the figure touched the 14-crore mark.
Yuvraj was part of a relatively small group of players who pocketed big bucks on the first day of auction. Owners, hamstrung by the money they had blown up on retentions and also cautious about the need for a buffer while looking at uncapped players, tended to play it safe while also going that extra mile for a few they fancied.
Besides Yuvraj, the second highest bid was for Dinesh Karthik, who was bagged by Delhi Daredevils at Rs 12.5 crore. The Delhi outfit, having not exercised its retention-card prior to the auction, was flush with Rs 60 crore in its kitty and could afford to keep KKR at bay while securing the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Pietersen back with DD
Daredevils had stirred up the money-pot in the morning itself as it exercised its ‘Right-to-match’ card against Sunrisers Hyderabad at Rs 9 crore while successfully getting Kevin Pietersen back into its fold.
Chennai Super Kings started the bidding war for Pietersen before ceding ground to Sunrisers and eventually Daredevils had the last laugh. Promptly, Pietersen tweeted: “Morning - so happy to be back with the Delhi family! Lovely start to the day.”
Among the other big names, Mitchell Johnson was surprisingly overlooked by his former team Mumbai Indians, which refused to exercise its lone Right-to-match card for the Australian speedster. The left-armer, however, did laugh all the way to the bank as King’s XI Punjab won him at Rs 6.5 crore.
And, while illustrious players like Jacques Kallis and Virender Sehwag had their takers, former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was overlooked. A similar cold-shoulder awaited many Indian seamers ranging from R.P. Singh to Karnataka’s highly successful Abhimanyu Mithun as the owners tightened their purse-strings in a yawn-inducing afternoon where the unsold list kept bulging.
However, more action is in store on Thursday as 295 uncapped players will go under the hammer and the squads will take their final shape.