Team owners get candid after IPL auction

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The IPL Auction for Season 3 seemed to throw up surprises, but some of the mysteries were solved as team owners sat down to chat with NDTV.

Updated: January 19, 2010 10:32 IST
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The IPL Auction for Season 3 seemed to throw up surprises, but some of the mysteries were solved as team owners sat down to chat with NDTV.

For instance, all owners agreed that availability of players was a top-of-the-mind issue when bidding. As was injury and individual team strategy.

Rajasthan Royals co-owner Shilpa Shetty said: "Player availability is a big issue...every team has a strategy, Royals has a bowling line-up so we were not looking for bowlers this time. Why spend money on a player when you know he won't be available a lot of the time...We were looking for batters and that's what we've got."

But why were the Pakistanis left out in the cold?

Lalit Modi, chairman of the IPL, also on the panel, said: "I am hearing from teams that after the 1st two seasons, availability was an issue... even among the Australians only one was bought...those who are available have been snapped up. So the Pakistanis got left out."

Modi described it as an exciting auction. "I didn't expect two tie-breakers," he said.

The Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner Jai Mehta explained spending all his money on Shane Bond: "We were looking at getting a pacer, had two-three choices...we had made up our minds we wanted Shane Bond and we stuck to our strategy." He said the coach and captain had worked out the balance the side needed.

Talking about what to expect from the season, some shared their plans. Jai Mehta confirmed that after much experimenting last year, "Sourav Ganguly is our Captain going forward."

Vijay Mallya, who owns the Bangalore Royal Challengers, said Anil Kumble would remain captain for Season 3. He described his buy of Eoin Morgan as "the bargain of the season, he fulfills a specific need in my team, so I'm happy."

"Sometimes you pay top dollar for what you want, sometimes not, as I pleasantly discovered today", Mallya said to laughter around the table.

Mallya was also gung ho about having picker India Under 19 captain Ashok Menaria at the spur of the moment. "Everyone knows I picked Virat Kohli as well, so now I've picked Menaria too because as Captain he must be good. I was initially flummoxed as I didn't know him too well, but I hedged my bets," he said.

Preity Zinta was sure her team's key player Australian Brett Lee would be fit for the IPL. "We've been in constant touch with him, he's recovering we're not worried about him at all."

Talking about changing captains she said: "Yuvraj is a very essential part of KXIP, but we're a team with 11 players, only thing constant in life is change, so we wanted to do a change, it was amicable...we're not the first ones to do this...every team has shuffled to find the right balance, but we're all part of the same team, aiming for the same result." Sri Lankan Kumara Sangakkara will captain the side in IPL 3, in place of Yuvraj.

In the auction, Kings XI Punjab bought Mohammad Kaif for $250,000 and Yusuf Abdullah for $50,000. "Our purse was more limited than the others," Zinta said after the bidding.

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