Million-dollar Maxwell leads the show

Thirty-seven players purchsed at an expense of just under $12 million.

Million Dollar Baby: Will Maxwell prove to be worth all the money?

Young Aussie all-rounder Glenn Maxwell was the lone millionaire on an evening that saw the sale of 37 players from a pool of 108 for a total of $11.89 million. Maxwell commanded a winning bid of exactly seven figures from Mumbai Indians following a fierce competition between Nita Ambani’s franchise and newbies Hyderabad Sunrisers in preparation for the sixth edition of the IPL that begins in April.

Explaining their hugely expensive buy of Maxwell, Mumbai Indians mentor Anil Kumble said, “He is an exciting player and a good catch for us. I knew him before he made his debut for Australia. He will be with the Australian team in India for the Test series, so looking forward to the challenge.”

The auction adopted a bizarre route, with most franchises opting to forgo the known names in favour of the unknown commodity. As a result, rank outsiders proved to be the biggest gainers, a case in point being South Africa’s 25-year-old all-rounder Chris Morris, who was picked up by Chennai Super Kings for $625,000 from a base price of $20,000.

Big money

Other major successes included Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis ($725,000, Pune Warriors India), rookie Australian quick Kane Richardson ($700,000, PWI), and Thisara Perera ($675,000, Hyderabad Sunrisers). Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy hero Abhishek Nayar also made himself richer by $675,000, thanks to Pune.

Of the 108 names that were to go under the hammer on Sunday, Ricky Ponting’s and Michael Clarke’s were the biggest. But both iconic Aussies went to their first base price bids – of $400,000 – to Mumbai Indians and Pune Warriors respectively.

Surprises galore

Maxwell wasn’t the only Aussie laughing all the way to the bank. His 28-year-old compatriot Luke Pomersbach, a genuine trouble-maker, gained a $300,000 deal with Kings XI Punjab. Almost as big a surprise was medium pacer Manpreet Gony, who was also bought by Priety Zinta’s franchise for a stupendous half-a-million dollars. Others who hauled in the riches included the 21-year-old Australian fast bowler Richardson, purchased by Pune for $700,000 in the bidding session immediately after lunch.

IPL behemoths Chennai Super Kings added five names to their pool of players. The MS Dhoni-captained side claimed Chris Morris following an intense three-way bidding spree involving Mumbai Indians and RCB, and then took hold of Dirk Nannes for $600,000. Chennai also procured the services of Akila Dananjaya (a steal at $20,000), West Indian pacer Jason Holder, and Aussie quick Ben Laughlin.

Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake ($625,000) went for way more than his base price of $50k when Kolkata Knight Riders out-bid Mumbai and Chennai to him. Australian fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile ($450,000, Mumbai) and compatriot Richardson (Pune) were the two other parties in profit.

All-round show

West Indies’ World Cup winning captain Darren Sammy was snared by debutants Hyderabad Sunrisers for $425,000, while Aussie all-rounder James Faulkner netted the riches as Rajasthan Royals coughed up $400,000 for him. Moises Henriques went to Royal Challenges Bangalore for $300,000; the mercurial Kiwi Jesse Ryder was taken by Delhi Daredevils for $260,000.

South African all-rounder Johan Botha went to Delhi Daredevils for $450,000, but it was a surprise that England’s Ravi Bopara, South Africans Vernon Philander and Herschelle Gibbs, West Indian Darren Bravo, Australians James Hopes, Matthew Wade and Tim Paine, Kiwi Jacob Oram and Irishman Kevi O’Brien remained unsold.

Indian angle

Mumbai’s in-form all-rounder Abhishek Nayar – one of the seven Indian players up for sale – departed for the Pune camp for a price of $675,000. Fast bowler RP Singh was snagged by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $400,000 at four times his base price, while other Indian seamers also had a field day. Saurashtra medium pacer Jaydev Unadkat was bought by Bangalore for over half-a-million dollars.

Bangalore also picked up Pankaj Singh for $150,000, at three times his base price. RP Singh rounded up Bangalore’s army of local medium pacers when he was bought by Vijay Mallya’s franchise for four times his base price of $50,000. Sudeep Tyagi went to Hyderabad Sunrisers for $100,000.

Read more:Live auction
Read more: Auction gallery
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