: They are not exactly T20 stars, but retired Australian skipper Ricky Ponting and his successor Michael Clarke have attracted the highest base price of $400,000 (approx. Rs. 2.1 crore) among the 101 names who will go under the hammer in the Indian Premier League players’ auction to be held here on Sunday.

There are four marquee players in the list, which expectedly does not feature a single Pakistani player even this year. The other two marquee players are South African all-rounder Johan Botha and out-of-favour Indian pacer R.P. Singh, whose base price has been pegged at $100,000.

R.P. Singh was bought by Mumbai Indians last year for $600,000, but after a dismal show of 10 wickets from 11 matches, he was released by the franchise.

While Clarke was previously with Pune Warriors, Ponting was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders last season. Botha, on the other hand, has attracted a base price of $300,000. The list includes seven Indians, two Englishmen and Irish all-rounder Kevin O’Brien. Even though Clarke and Ponting have attracted the highest base price, their T20 credentials are not exactly exciting.

Clarke retired from the format a couple of years ago, while the 38-year-old Ponting did not quite click with his initial franchise KKR.

Darren Sammy, who captained the West Indies in its World T20 Championship triumph last year, will be among the first-timers up for sale. His base price has been set at $100,000.

Among other international players, England’s Matt Prior and Ravi Bopara — both of whom went unsold last season — have a base price of $100,000 and $200,000.

The auction is expected to be a low-key affair owing to lack of star players in the list. — PTI

Special Correspondent reports from New Delhi

Former Australian batsman and coach for Deccan Chargers Darren Lehmann will be the new coach of Kings XI Punjab in this year’s Indian Premier League.

Lehmann, who in the inaugural edition of the IPL in 2008 joined Rajasthan Royals only as a cover for South Africa’s Graeme Smith, will be third full-time coach for Kings XI since the inception of the competition.

Tom Moody was the Kings XI’s coach from 2008 to 2010 before handing over the mantle to Australian teammate Michael Bevan in 2011. Last year, skipper Adam Gilchrist was the also the mentor-cum-coach of the team. In fact, in 2009 when Deccan Chargers won the IPL, Lehmann was the coach of the team, captained by Gilchrist.

With the two Australians together once again, it remains to be seen whether Kings XI can make it to the playoffs after being a semifinalist in the inaugural edition.

“I am extremely honoured to get a chance to coach Kings XI Punjab in this year’s IPL. The franchise has always excited me and I look forward to working with the owners, players, support staff and fans.

“I’m geared up for the challenges it brings and will always encourage our team to be an entertaining and aggressive brand that people love to watch and associate with.

“I’m also looking forward to working with Adam Gilchrist again and help all the players grow on and off the field,” said Lehmann, who turns 43 on February 5.

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