New Delhi/Bengaluru: The auction for the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League ended on Saturday with franchisees spending over 136 crore. Australian all-rounder Shane Watson attracted the highest bid for a marquee player in the auction on Saturday as he was sold to the Vijay Mallya-owned Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for 9.5 crore.

The former Rajasthan Royals star was the subject of intense bidding from the newly-formed Rising Pune Supergiants (RPSG) franchise, before the Mumbai Indians (MI) joined the race for Watson’s services. However, he will now play for RCB.

Indian all-rounder Yuvraj Singh was also among the most expensive players in this category, after he was sold for 7 crores to the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). In the last auction, Yuvraj went for a whopping 16 crore (also a league record), when he was purchased by the Delhi Daredevils. He will be joined at Sunrisers Hyderabad by 36-year old Ashish Nehra, who was snapped up by the franchise for 5.5 crore. Both Yuvraj and Nehra are members of the India’s World T20 squad announced on Friday.

The two new franchises in the IPL, the Rising Pune Supergiants (RPSG) and the Gujarat Lions (GL), made their presence felt in the auctions, snapping up some high-profile names in the opening rounds of Saturday’s auction. In fact, RPSG and GL fought bid by bid for English batsman Kevin Pietersen, before the Pune franchise prevailed with a winning bid of 3.5 crore. Pune added Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma for 3.8 crore.

The Intex-owned Gujarat Lions, who will represent Rajkot in IPL 9 and 10, opted for West Indian T20 specialist Dwayne Smith, who they bought for 2.3 crore. They also added South African paceman Dale Steyn to their squad for 2.3 crore.

Surprisingly, there were no takers for two of the most explosive opening batsmen in limited-overs cricket, Martin Guptill (New Zealand) and Aaron Finch (Australia). Finch also leads Australia in the shortest format of the game.

Addressing media after the first set of auctions, Raghu Iyer, CEO of Rising Pune Supergiants said, “We will be looking for all-rounders as well. We’re happy with the two players we’ve bought. We’re doing well and are in good form, and hope it carries on for the next three sessions of the auctions. Every individual team will be having their own strategy."

Likewise, Amrit Thomas, director, RCB said that they got the players they wanted. “Shane Watson is what we were looking for. We got him for a bargain, judging by his recent performance. He’s been in good form." He added, “We were interested in Yuvraj. We set a ceiling price and we went up to it, unfortunately we couldn’t get him."

Delhi-Daredevils swept Morris for a whopping 7 crore after jumping in to the bid later led by Mumbai Indians. T.S. Sekar of Delhi Daredevils said, “Morris always part of the plan." “After eight years of seeing IPL auctions we can see that “Teams have become smart enough to know when to enter the bid and when to pull the plug." “It’s not like you have a plan and you straight away enter the bid, but you can enter late after seeing how many people can hold on to the bid," he added.

Keshav Bansal, owner of IPL’s Rajkot team and director of Intex Technologies Intex Mobiles, on Rajkot’s biddings said," All planned , all five players will make our core team that becomes strong, they will play most of the matches, most of them all-rounders. Going with strong Batsmen and all-rounders was a planned thing, We are quite sorted." “Auction isn’t over yet by end of the day you might hear more from us. We are looking for young talent. “Dinesh, we got at 2 crore — we expected it to go higher. Important to get your goals right."

Some of the leading batsmen in international cricket didn’t find any takers among the eight franchises. These include the likes of Indian test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, retired Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene and South Africa’s Hashim Amla. All of them went unsold. However, the rules of the auction mandate that any unsold player may be recalled for bids, if the franchises nominate the said player.

Interestingly, players in the wicket-keepers category saw some intense bidding. Young Indian keeper Sanju Samson, who impressed during his stint with the suspended Rajasthan Royals franchise, was snapped up by the Delhi Daredevils for 4.2 crore, after a duel with the Gujarat Lions. Similarly, the in-form English wicket-keeper Jos Buttler, with a base price of 1.5 crore was subject to bid by the Mumbai Indians, only to be joined by the Kolkata Knight Riders just as the auctioneer was about to throw the hammer. After an exciting round of bidding which went over double his base price, Buttler was sold to the Mumbai Indians for 3.8 crore. Similarly, IPL journeyman and former India wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik was sold to the Gujarat Lions for 2.3 crore.

Indian all-rounder Irfan Pathan was sold to the Rising Pune Supergiants for a fee of 1 crore. One of the surprise picks in the all-rounder category was South African Chris Morris, who with a base price of 50 lakh, was eventually sold for 7 crore, after several suitors, including the Mumbai Indians, the Kolkata Knight Riders were involved in a round of bidding. However, a late bid from the Delhi Daredevils, their only bid in the round, won them Morris’ services, albeit for a steep fee of 7 crore. Kiwi all-rounder Colin Munro was sold to KKR for 30 lakh.

Another Indian all-rounder, Stuart Binny, was snapped up by the Royal Challengers Bangalore for his base price of 2 crore. Mitchell Marsh, one of the best young all-rounders in international cricket, was also subject to a round of heated bidding, before he was sold to the Rising Pune Supergiants for 4.8 crore.

Mumbai fast bowler Dhawal Kulkarni, was sold to the Gujarat Lions for 2 crore. Kulkarni, was an important member of the Rajasthan Royals squad over the last three seasons. Kolkata Knight Riders also secured the services of Australian paceman John Hastings for 1.3 crore. Indian swing bowler Praveen Kumar, who was initially valued at 50 lakh, was sold for seven times his base price at 3.5 crore to the Gujarat Lions.

New Zealander Tim Southee, who last represented the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, saw two bids, one each from the Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore, before the former prevailed, to secure his services for 2.5 crore. Indian international medium-pacer Mohit Sharma also attracted significant bids from two franchises, the Kings XI Punjab and the Kolkata Knight Riders. Sharma, who’s base price was at 1.5 crore, was eventually sold to Kings XI Punjab for 6.50 crore.

Some of the better spinners in international cricket, including Nathan Lyon, Pragyan Ojha, Michael Beer among others, remained unsold.

While it might appear to be a surprise, IPL teams have typically relied on domestic spin-bowling talent over the years, and may well consider the overseas spinner a waste of purse money.

The second set of batsmen who were auctioned, a mix of active and discarded internationals, found no takers among the eight franchises. These included the likes of Australians David Hussey and Joe Burns, Indian opener Abhinav Mukund and West Indian Darren Bravo.

Similarly, the second set of all-rounders at the auction, which featured the likes of Englishman Chris Jordan, South African Wayne Parnell and Australian Andrew Tye among others, didn’t find much enthusiasm among the eight tables. Only two players from this category, Carlos Brathwaite, the West Indian all-rounder, attracted interest from two franchises, the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Delhi Daredevils. Brathwaite, whose base price was 30 lakh, was eventually sold for fourteen times that worth at 4.2 crore to the Delhi Daredevils. Likewise, Australian Marcus Stoinis was also subject of two bids from the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Kings XI Punjab. Stoinis, after an initial round of bidding, was sold to the Kings XI Punjab for 55 lakh.

The second set of fast bowlers saw two teams bidding for young Bangladeshi left-arm paceman Mustafizur Rehman. Rehman, who shot into prominence in the series against India last year, was initially valued at 50 lakh. After a duel between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Sunrisers Hyderabad, the player was sold to the Sunrisers for 1.4 crore. Saurashtra left-arm paceman Jaydev Unadkut, also capped by India in international cricket, also attracted good interest from three franchises, including the one from Unadkut’s home, Rajkot. However, they dropped out of the race along with the Sunrisers, which was eventually won by the Kolkata Knight Riders for 1.60 crore. Unadkut has previously represented Kolkata in the IPL.

The auction also saw a battle between the Royal Challengers and Kings XI Punjab for South African Kyle Abbott’s services. Abbott’s base price was 30 lakh, but the paceman was bought by Kings XI Punjab for 2.1 crore. Barinder Singh Sran, who made his international debut in India’s recent tour to Australia was the subject of bidding from the two newcomers, Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions, before Sunrisers Hyderabad joined the fray. While Pune dropped out of the race as the bidding got higher, Sran, whose base price was 50 lakh, was sold to the late entrants, Sunrisers Hyderabad for 1.2 crore. Likewise, Karnataka and India fast bowler Abhimanyu Mithun, who was valued at 30 lakh, was sold to the Sunrisers Hyderabad, who bought him for his base price. R.P. Singh, who represents Gujarat in domestic cricket these days, was also part of a successful bid by the Rising Pune Supergiants, who bought him for his base price of 30 lakh.

Post-lunch auction

The post-lunch session of the 2016 IPL auction, began with the auctioning of uncapped players, meaning those who haven’t represented their respective countries in international cricket. Kerala’s Sachin Baby, who had a base price of 10 lakh was sold for the same to the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Karnataka’s Karun Nair, who famously scored a triple-century in last season’s Ranji Trophy final, was subject to an initial round of bidding between Rising Pune Supergiants, the Delhi Daredevils and the Gujarat Lions. With a base price of 10 lakh, Nair was finally snapped up by the Daredevils, fighting off the Sunrisers, a late bid entrant for a bid of 4 crore. Nair, who cost the Daredevils forty times his base price, represented the Rajasthan Royals in the last two editions of the IPL. Himachal batsman Paras Dogra, whose base price was 10 lakh, was sold for the same to the Gujarat Lions, the lone bidder for the player’s services.

Ishan Kishan, currently leading the India in the Under-19 World Cup in Bangladesh, was sold for 55 lakh to the Gujarat Lions. Kishan’s colleague, Rishabh Pant, the Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman, who recently scored the fastest fifty in Under-19 cricket, attracted interest from the Mumbai Indians, the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. With a base price of 10 lakh, Pant eventually went to his hometown franchise, the Delhi Daredevils for 1.90 crore.

Earlier on Saturday, Pant scored 111 off 96 balls for the India against Namibia in the quarterfinals of the Under-19 World Cup. Uttar Pradesh wicket-keeper Eklavya Dwivedi had an opening bid of 20 lakh from the Gujarat Lions, with the Sunrisers coming in next. The two franchises slugged it for a while, before Dwivedi was finally snapped up by the original bidder, the Gujarat Lions for 1 crore. The Mumbai Indians and the Sunrisers Hyderabad fought it out for Aditya Tare, the wicket-keeper batsman who leads Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy. Tare, who had a base price of 20 lakh was sold to the Sunrisers Hyderabad for 1.2 crore.

Another all-rounder from Mumbai, Iqbal Abdulla, valued at 10 lakh, was sold to the Royal Challengers Bangalore, who also happened to be the lone bidder for the player. Baroda all-rounder Deepak Hooda, who starred for the Rajasthan Royals last year, saw a round of bidding between the Gujarat Lions and the Kings XI Punjab, before the Sunrisers Hyderabad came into the scene. Hooda, for whom bidding began at 10 lakh, was finally sold to the Sunrisers for 4.2 crore. Ankit Sharma, the Madhya Pradesh all-rounder, was sold for an opening bid of 10 lakh, also his base price.

Pawan Negi, the Delhi all-rounder, who was a surprise inclusion in India’s World T20 squad, saw two bids, one each from the Rising Pune Supergiants and Delhi Daredevils. Negi’s base price was 30 lakh. The intense bidding process saw multiple rounds of bidding for Negi, who was finally snapped up by the Delhi Daredevils for a massive 8.5 crore. This makes him the second most expensive player in Saturday’s auction, after the Royal Challengers Bangalore snapped up Shane Watson for 9.5 crore.

Veteran Delhi all-rounder Rajat Bhatia, saw a similar round of bidding (though, not as intense) between the same parties—the RPSG and the Daredevils. Bhatia, whose base price was 30 lakh, was sold to the Rising Pune Supergiants for 60 lakh. The Gujarat Lions, the sole bidders for Pradeep Sangwan, picked up the Delhi all-rounder for 20 lakh.

Promising fast bowler Nathu Singh, valued at 10 lakh, also fetched bids from the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Delhi Daredevils. However, it was the Mumbai Indians who snapped the Rajasthan youngster up, paying 3.2 crore for his services. The Rising Pune Supergiants also added in-form Madhya Pradesh paceman Ishwar Pandey to their squad. Pandey cost the Pune franchise his base price of 20 lakh. Another promising paceman, Ankit Rajpoot from Uttar Pradesh, was bought by the Kolkata Knight Riders for 1.5 crore.

The Gujarat Lions also added 43-year old leg-spinner Pravin Tambe to their squad for the next two seasons. Tambe, who played for Rajasthan Royals till recently, was sold for 20 lakh. They also added leg-spinner Sarabjeet Ladda for his base price of 10 lakh. The third leggie in the pool, M. Ashwin of Tamil Nadu, turned out to be quite the surprise pick of the auction, prompting an interesting duel between the Rising Pune Supergiants and the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Ashwin was finally bought for 4.5 crore by the Rising Pune Supergiants. The Gujarat Lions also bought left-arm spinner Shivil Kaushik for 10 lakh.

K.C Cariappa, the ‘mystery’ spinner from Karnataka was the surprise package of last year’s auction, when he fetched a fee of 2.4 crores. He was subsequently released by the Kolkata Knight Riders. This time around, Cariappa, whose base price was the nominal 10 lakh, was snapped up for a much lower fee of 80 lakh by the Kings XI Punjab.

Accelerated auction

In the ‘accelerated auction’, where teams can recall unsold players, Australia’s T20 captain Aaron Finch was the first player to be sold. Finch was purchased by the Gujarat Lions for his base price, which was 1 crore. Kiwi opener Martin Guptill, one of the high-profile players to go unsold in the first round, remained unsold even after he was recalled back to the auction. Besides Guptill, other overseas players like Hashim Amla, George Bailey, Michael Hussey and Usman Khawaja also went unsold.

Delhi Daredevils, picked up English wicketkeeper Sam Billings for 30 lakh, also his base price. Besides Billings, the Daredevils also bought two Under-19 players—Khaleel Ahmed and Pratyush Singh for 10 lakh each. Ahmed is currently representing India at the Under-19 World Cup. They also added another fast bowler, Joel Paris, to their squad, at his base price of 30 lakh. Delhi medium pacer Pawan Suyal was also sold to the Daredevils for 10 lakh. Also joining Delhi would be Hyderabad medium pacer Chama Milind, who was sold to the franchise for 10 lakh.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad bought uncapped batsman Tirumalasetti Suman for his base price of 10 lakh. They further added Australian Ben Cutting to their squad, picking him up at his base price of 50 lakh. Also joining the Sunrisers Hyderabad would be all-rounder Vijay Shankar, who was sold for 35 lakh.

The West Indian captain Jason Holder was part of a late duel between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Delhi Daredevils, before the former bid 70 lakh to secure his services for the next two seasons. The Knight Riders also bought Tamil Nadu all-rounder Rajagopal Sathish for 20 lakh and Delhi all-rounder Manan Sharma for 10 lakh.

Rising Pune Supergiants also bought Himachal wicketkeeper Ankush Bains as a possible backup for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Bains went for his base price of 10 lakh. They also added Australian Peter Handscombe to their squad for a price of 30 lakh. The only Sri Lankan cricketer to be sold in the auctions today, Thisara Perera, will turn up for the Supergiants. Perera was snapped up at his base price of 1 crore. They also bought Tamil Nadu all-rounder Baba Aparajith and Rajasthan paceman Deepak Chahar for 10 lakh each, their respective base price. Pune also shored up their bowling attack by procuring Indian paceman Ashok Dinda, who was priced at 50 lakh. They further added Aussie paceman Scott Boland to their ranks for 50 lakh. Australian leg-spinner Adam Zampa, who made his one-day international debut earlier on Saturday, will be playing for Pune this year. He was sold at his base price of 30 lakh.

The Gujarat Lions too did some business in the accelerated auction, purchasing batsman Umang Sharma for 10 lakh. They added a second player in the accelerated auctions, roping in Australian Andrew Tye for 50 lakh. Goa and former CSK left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati was also snapped up by the Rajkot-based franchise for 10 lakh, along with Aksh Deep Nath, who they picked up at the same price. They also added Saurashtra captain Jaydev Shah for 20 lakh. Fast bowler Amit Mishra, was also added to the Lions for 10 lakh.

The Mumbai Indians successfully bid 10 lakh for wicketkeeper batsman Jitesh Sharma during the accelerated auctions. Kishore Kamath, another Karnataka-based player, was an interesting pick. The player, who was valued at 10 lakh, was snapped up for 1.40 crore by the Mumbai Indians. Another Baroda player, Krunal Pandya, was picked for 2 crore. Pandya will join his younger brother Hardik in the Mumbai Indians squad. They also added Services all-rounder Deepak Punia for 10 lakh.

The Kings XI Punjab bought 17-year old Armaan Jaffer at his base price of 10 lakh. Jaffer is currently representing India at the Under-19 World Cup. They added Pardeep Sahu to their squad, again for a price of 10 lakh. The third player the Kings XI bought in the accelerated auction included Swapnil Singh, the Baroda all-rounder.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore bought Karnataka all-rounder Praveen Dubey for 35 lakh, after a brief bid by the Delhi Daredevils. Dubey starred in the local T20 of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, also known as the Karnataka Premier League. Besides Dubey, they also bought Vidarbha’s ambidextrous spinner Akshay Karnewar at his base of 10 lakh. They also snapped up Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson and West Indian spinner Samuel Badree for their respective base prices of 2 crore and 50 lakh. They further added Vikramjeet Malik to their squad, with the Himachal all-rounder going for 20 lakh. The Royal Challengers Bangalore also secured the services of Delhi fast bowler Vikas Tokas for 10 lakh.

Mumbai Indians who won the series last season picked up more domestic players. “We’ve been scouting now for seven months, looking for the right domestic talent, many teams will be looking to add domestic talent," added Akash Ambani, owner at Mumbai Indians.

Unlike last season that saw auction rates touch 16 crore, franchisees resorted to more calculated spends this auction.

Prices, added T.S Sekar at Delhi Daredevils, were more realistic, teams knew what they wanted and went for it.

“This is not a mega auction, franchisees have already picked up what they wanted, they were just filling their gaps if they don’t require players they didn’t take it," said Rajeev Shukla on the quantum of unsold players.

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