Last year's million-dollar boy Glenn Maxwell struck gold once again in the 2014 Indian Premier League auctions underway in Bangalore on Wednesday. The Australian all-rounder was bought by Kings XI Punjab for six times his base price of Rs 1 crore. There was a three-way fight for Maxwell with Punjab making a late dash after Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils were locked in a tense tussle. Interestingly, Mumbai Indians, Maxwell's team last season, showed little interest in the limited overs specialist. (2014 IPL auctions Day 1 highlights)
New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson was Mumbai's latest big buy. The Ambani-sponsored franchise loves to test fresh talent and it didn't come as a surprise when Neeta Ambani was quickly off the blocks after Rajasthan made the first bid. Anderson is the latest craze in limited overs cricket after striking a world record 36-ball ODI century against the West Indies on January 1, 2014. Anderson, who bowls medium-pace, has been in great form against India at home and was one of the top attractions of the IPL auctions. Delhi and Sunrisers Hyderabad also showed great interest in the Kiwi star-in-the making but in the final stretch, Mumbai won the battle by offering to pay Rs 4.5 crore. Hyderabad were next best at 4.25 crore. (Read: RCB break bank to buy Yuvraj, Karthik 2nd costliest IPL player in history)
Delhi Daredevils, coached by former South African batsman Gary Kirsten and mentored by former pacer T.A. Sekar, fought a fierce battle with Rajasthan royals for Aussie pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile. Nile was snapped up the Daredevils for 4.25 crore. Interestingly, teams reposed their faith on Indian pacers too. Experienced customers like Laxmipathy Balaji and Ashish Nehra were still good enough to get more than their base price. Balaji, base price 50 lakhs, went to Kings XI for 1.8 crore while Nehra was bought by Chennai at his base cost of Rs 2 crore.
Jaydev Unadkat, the left-arm quickie, who has been in and out of the Indian team was quite in demand. Delhi, Rajasthan and Punjab were engaged in a grim bidding war. Delhi got him for Rs 2.8 crore, 20 lakh more than the more experience Ishant Sharma, who was retained by Hyderabad. Mohit Sharma was retained by CSK for twice his base price of Rs 1 crore while Varun Aaron was taken by RCB for 2 crore after Delhi did not use their right-to-match option.
The post-lunch session was relatively boring. Proven performers like Cameron White, Marlon Samuels, Brett Lee, Johan Botha and Jesse Ryder found no takers. With most teams picking their main players in the morning session, the evening saw long stretches when players went sold. Teams were more keen to bolster their bowling attack. Aussie pacers Kane Richardson and Ben Hilfenhaus went to Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings at their base price of a crore each.
Thursday will see another round of auction but the day is expected to belong to uncapped players. Of course, the big names who were not sold on Wednesday can come back to the pool if the teams desire. Punjab still have 14.2 crore left in the purse (there is a cap of Rs 60 crore per team) while Rajasthan have more than 12 crore. While Hyderabad, Delhi and Kolkata each have anything between 8-9 crore in their kitty, Bangalore have less than 2 crore to spend. Bangalore of course, dominated Day 1 of the auction by spending a record 14 crore on Yuvraj Singh.