Dhoni gets the highest price at IPL auction

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STARS AT THE AUCTION: Franchise owners Vijay Mallya (Mumbai), Shah Rukh Khan (Kolkata), Preity Zinta & Ness Wadia (Mohali) snapped with the IPL Chairman Lalit Modi (second from left) at the auction in Mumbai on Wednesday.
STARS AT THE AUCTION: Franchise owners Vijay Mallya (Mumbai), Shah Rukh Khan (Kolkata), Preity Zinta & Ness Wadia (Mohali) snapped with the IPL Chairman Lalit Modi (second from left) at the auction in Mumbai on Wednesday.

G. Viswanath

CRICKET / Chennai Super Kings grabs the Indian ODI skipper for $1.5 million while Hyderabad gets Symonds

Mumbai: Chennai Super Kings, a franchise team owned by N. Srinivasan’s India Cements, set the ball rolling by giving a $1.5 million start to the BCCI-promoted Indian Premier League Twenty20 championship auction of the Indian and overseas players here on Wednesday.

The cement major from South India made the highest bid for Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India’s new poster boy and captain of the ODI team and the ICC World Twenty20 winning Indian squad.

Historic occasion

The auction, described as a historic occasion for Indian and world cricket by Lalit Kumar Modi, Chairman and Commissioner, IPL, engaged the eight franchise owners in spirited bidding for over seven hours, with Chennai Super Kings and Hyderabad region owner, Deccan Chronicle, advised by a team of experts, taking the centrestage by grabbing some top players.

Dhoni’s price turned out to be the biggest single bid. Though accorded the icon status with a reserve price of $400,000, Dhoni did not belong to any of the eight regions and hence was put up for auction.

Surprises were in store in the course of the long auction conducted by the London-based independent auctioneer, Richard Madley. “It’s exciting, but nonetheless tiring,” said Modi before announcing the results of the sixth set of bidding.

Clearly, all the eight franchise owners were keen and eager to have Dhoni in their team, but eventually, Chennai Super Kings, notwithstanding the constraints of a $5 million cap a franchise can spend on the salary of the players, took the bold move to pick Dhoni.

Hyderabad, owned by Deccan Chronicle, also displayed smart business sense by picking up some key players. It took a giant step by successfully bidding for Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds for $1.35 million, only the second player to cross the one-million mark individually.

Apart from Dhoni and Symonds, the franchises were keen to bag India’s new fast bowling sensation Ishant Sharma. Franchise owner Red Chillies Entertainment, advised by former India captain Sourav Ganguly, offered a price of $950,000 to Ishant.

Reliance Industries Limited kept quiet for a long time before opting to take Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya.

As a result of Jayasuriya, Irfan Pathan (Mohali), Ishant (Kolkata) and Jacques Kallis (Bangalore) being bought at over $900,000, the five ‘iconic’ players — Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Virender Sehwag — will receive 15 per cent more than the sums that will be paid to them.

In all, the first IPL will pay one million plus dollar salary to six cricketers: five Indians and one Australian.

Thrilling experience

After the auction, franchise owners Vijay Mallya, Shah Rukh Khan, Ness Wadia and Preity Zinta described it as a thrilling experience and added that the IPL would boost domestic cricket.

“We will try and support other sports so that it will become a viable proposition for the Indian youth. This is a money-making proposition, which hopefully it will be. The culture of sport has to be brought into this country as a profession. Let’s start with cricket and spread the culture as a team to other sports,” said Shah Rukh.

“We bought six foreigners, and intend to play 10 Indians. IPL is the best thing to have happened to Indian cricket. It will provide an opportunity to hone the skills of the youngsters. We look forward to the opening ceremony in Bangalore on April 18,” said Mallya.

Excited by the whole exercise was Lalit Modi. “It’s been very tiring. Bidding was fierce. I cannot sit on judgment why some players commanded a surprisingly heavy price and some surprisingly low. It’s for the franchise owners to answer.

“They have strategically bid for the players, keeping in mind their quality, endorsement value and glamour quotient and finally the team composition.

“M.S. Dhoni, Andrew Symonds and Ishant Sharma were bid by all the franchise owners. I am happy that the Indians have been picked up, and picked up well. They are all world-class players. It was a competitive round (for batsmen).

“In all, 75 players were sold either at the bid price or above it. We withdrew Ashwell Prince and Mohammad Yousuf from the auction. Zaheer Khan has started running and hopefully he will be fit by the middle of April,” added Modi.

“The IPL will enhance all the events in world cricket. This is the second landmark event, the first was in 1993 when the supreme court decision came in favour of the BCCI,” said the The IPL governing council member, Inderjit Singh Bindra.

The Managing Director of Deccan Chronicle, P.K. Iyer said: “V.V.S. Laxman will lead the Hyderabad team. He put the Hyderabad team before his personal icon status. He wanted the team to have a higher budget.

“It was a tremendous gesture putting the team requirements ahead of the iconic status. He asked what he is going to achieve by being an icon. That’s why we withdrew the icon status for him on Tuesday,” Iyer added.


 Read as player, team, bid amount (in U.S. dollars)

Note: The five icons — Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai), Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata), Rahul Dravid (Bangalore), Yuvraj Singh (Mohali) and Virender Sehwag (Delhi) — will get 15 per cent more than the highest-paid player in their side.

Highest bids: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Ind), Chennai, 1.5 million; Andrew Symonds (Aus), Hyderabad, 1.35 million; Sanath Jayasuriya (SL), Mumbai, 975,000; Ishant Sharma (Ind), Kolkata, 950,000; Irfan Pathan (Ind), Mohali, 925,000; Brett Lee (Aus), Mohali, 900,000; Jacques Kallis (RSA), Bangalore, 900,000; R.P. Singh (Ind), Hyderabad, 875,000; Harbhajan Singh (Ind), Mumbai, 850,000; Chris Gayle (WI) Kolkata, 800,000; Robin Uthappa (Ind), Mumbai, 800,000.

Teams: Bangalore: Jacques Kallis (RSA), 900,000; Anil Kumble (Ind) 500,000; Cameron White (Aus) 500,000; Zaheer Khan (Ban) 450,000; Mark Boucher (RSA) 450,000; Nathan Bracken (Aus) 325,000; Dale Steyn (RSA) 325,000; Shivnaraine Chanderpaul (WI) 200,000; Wasim Jaffer (Ind) 150,000.

Kolkata: Ishant Sharma (Ind) 950,000; Chris Gayle (W.I) 800,000; Brendon McCullum (NZ) 700,000; David Hussey (Aus) 625,000; Shoaib Akhtar (Pak) 425,000; Murali Karthik (Ind) 425,000; Ricky Ponting (Aus) 400,000; Ajit Agarkar (Ind) 350,000; Umar Gul (Pak) 150,000.

Chennai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Indi) 1.5 million; Jacob Oram (NZ) 675,000; Albie Morkel (RSA) 675,000; Suresh Raina (Ind) 650,000; Muttiah Muralitharan (SL) 600,000; Matthew Hayden (Aus) 375,000; Michael Hussey (Aus) 350,000; Stephen Fleming (NZ) 350,000; Parthiv Patel (Ind) 325,000; Joginder Sharma (Ind) 225,000; Makhaya Ntini (RSA) 200,000.

Delhi: Gautam Gambhir (Ind) 725,000, Manoj Tiwary (Ind) 675,000; Mohd. Asif (Pak) 650,000; Daniel Vettori (NZ) 625,000; Dinesh Karthik (Ind) 525,000; Shoaib Malik (Pak) 500,000; A.B. de Villiers (RSA) 300,000; Glenn McGrath (Aus) 350,000; Tillekeratne Dilshan (SL) 250,000; Farveez Maharoof (SL) 225,000.

Hyderabad: Andrew Symonds (Aus) 1.35 million; R.P. Singh (Ind) 875,000; Rohit Sharma (Ind) 750,000; Adam Gilchrist (Aus) 700,000; Shahid Afridi (Pak) 675,000; Herschelle Gibbs (RSA) 575,000; V.V.S. Laxman (Ind) 375,000; Chaminda Vaas (SL) 200,000; Scott Styris (NZ) 175,000; Nuwan Zoysa (SL) 110,000; Chamara Silva (SL) 100,000.

Jaipur: Mohd . Kaif (Ind) 675,000; Graeme Smith (RSA) 475,000; Yusuf Pathan (Ind) 475,000; Shane Warne (Aus) 450,000; Munaf Patel (Ind) 275,000; Younis Khan (Pak) 225,000; Justin Langer (Aus) 200,000; Kamran Akmal (Pak) 150,000.

Mohali: Irfan Pathan (Ind) 925,000; Brett Lee (Aus) 900,000; Kumar Sangakkara (SL) 700,000; S. Sreesanth (Ind) 625,000; Mahela Jayawardene (SL) 475,000; Piyush Chawla (Ind) 400,000; Ramnaresh Sarawan (WI) 225,000; Simon Katich (Aus) 200,000; Ramesh Pawar (Ind) 170,000.

Mumbai: Sanath Jayasuriya (SL) 975,000; Harbhajan Singh (Ind) 850,000; Robin Uthappa (Ind) 800,000; Shaun Pollock (RSA) 550,000; Lasith Malinga (SL) 350,000; Loots Bosman (SA) 175,000; Dilhara Fernando (SL) 150,000.

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