Mixed day for English in IPL auction
Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan, Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad earned contracts on the first day of the Indian Premier League auction but Graeme Swann and James Anderson were among England’s World Twenty20 winners who were overlooked.
Pietersen had to content himself with a cut-price deal as Deccan Chargers paid US$650,000 (£418,000) for his services, a significant drop in his price after the batsman was purchased for a then record $1.6million in the 2009 auction.
Broad earned his first IPL pay-day after the Kings XI Punjab bid $400,000. Morgan, who played for Royal Challengers Bangalore last year, was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for $350,000 while former Delhi Daredevil Collingwood was signed by Rajasthan Royals for $250,000.
But the biggest shocks came in the non-selection of Ashes winners Swann and Anderson, who have marked themselves as two of the world’s best bowlers in recent years.
Also missing out were World T20 winner Luke Wright and wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who, while not a first-choice in England’s T20 team, had been expected to earn some interest for his hard-hitting style.
England players were not expected to fetch the big money this year, due once again to their reduced availability because of calendar clashes, but the reluctance of the IPL franchises to sign them came as a surprise.
This fourth edition of the competition is set to begin in early April and run into May, when England’s players are due to start their preparations for the Test series against Sri Lanka, beginning on May 26 in Cardiff.
England team director Andy Flower had indicted he wanted his players to play at least one first-class game before the first Test.
Given Test regulars Pietersen and Broad were both selected, the snubs for Swann and Anderson were slightly mysterious.
Swann, the world’s top ranked Test spinner, was quickly overlooked at his base price of $400,000 by all franchises before they immediately set about a bidding frenzy for unheralded India leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, who eventually joined the Kings XI for $900,000.
The England players were not the only notable names to be overlooked, however, with former West Indies skipper Chris Gayle unsold along with Sourav Ganguly, Jesse Ryder, Herschelle Gibbs and Brian Lara, who signed up despite having not played international cricket since 2007.
Kolkata made the most significant impact on the first of the two days of the auction after they began the day by breaking the record fee for Indian opener Gautam Gambhir.
They spent $2.4million, to beat the record paid for Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff two years ago, and tie down Gambhir before again splashing the cash to sign all-rounder Yusuf Pathan for $2.1million.
They were two of four players to break the $2million mark with new franchise the Pune Warriors offering $2.1million for Robin Uthappa while Rohit Sharma cost the Mumbai Indians £2million.
The second new franchise, Kochi, were the busiest team as they secured 11 players, headlined by the captures of Sri Lanka pair Mahela Jayawardene ($1.5million) and off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan ($1.1million).
It was the Knight Riders who stole the limelight, though, as they spent $7.625million in addition to their record purchases of Gambhir and Pathan.
The big-spending franchise also secured veteran South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis ($1.1million), Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan ($425,000), India batsman Manoj Tiwary ($475,000) plus Australia's Brett Lee ($450,000) and Brad Haddin ($325,000).
Rajasthan were the most miserly franchise as they spent $2.7miilion to bring in Ross Taylor ($1million), South Africa Twenty20 captain Johan Botha ($950,000) and Rahul Dravid ($500,000).
The Royals have a good record despite their frugal spending after they won the inaugural IPL having paid the least amount of any team.