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Mohali picks up pace and grabs Pathan

Chennai Super Kings made the most of the opening round while the Mumbai team had a lot to cheer about after the second round of auction of players for the Indian Premier League.

India skipper Mahendra Dhoni was the prize catch of the day for the Chennai team, which bid a whopping 1.50 million dollars to ensure a big Indian name in the absence of an icon player on the ranks. Wily Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was also seized by the team for 6,00,000 dollars in what were seen as big gains for the outfit in the opening round.

But though the amount for Dhoni was not a big surprise, few would have expected Andrew Symonds to run him close with a 1.35 million bid later in the third round of action.

The second round saw Mumbai go for Sri Lankan all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya (9,75,000 dollars) and Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (8,50,000 dollars) as the IPL, which promises the game not just huge amounts of money but also the chance to showcase the world’s best in the exciting Twenty20 format, gave a glimpse of what to expect in the unique tournament that is scheduled to begin on April 18.

Film star and franchise owner of the Kolkata team, Shahrukh Khan, missed the first round of auction as the results were announced by IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi after the list A players were auctioned by Richard Medley of England. Business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, who bought the high-profile Mumbai team that has Sachin Tendulkar as an icon player, too missed the first round of bidding but cine star Preity Zinta was well in time to have a shout for her Mohali team.

Dhoni, the only top Indian player not to figure among the icon players (who are not up for bids and will play for their home teams) was a prime property and was lapped up in what was the highest bid in the first list of players and gave the team an Indian star.

Just retired Australian Adam Gilchrist was another hugely popular player in the starting A list of players, who went for 7,00,000 to Hyderabad. Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar was taken by Shahrukh’s Kolkata team for 4,25,000 dollars, Aussie spin magician Shane Warne went to Jaipur for 4,50,000 dollars while Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene was bought by Preity Zinta’s Mohali outfit for 4,75,000 dollars.

In the second round, Anil Kumble went cheap to home team Bangalore, which is backed by liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, at just double of his reserve price of 2,50,000 dollars, while Sri Lankan wicketkeeper-batsman Kumar Sangakkara went to Mohali for 7,00,000 dollars.

But surprisingly, there were no takers for former Aussie pace-man Glenn McGrath, who retired from international cricket last year along with Warne. No one put a hand up for McGrath even at the reserve price of 2,50,000 dollars and he was consigned to a reserve list of players to be bid for later in the day.

Pakistan’s prolific batsman Mohammad Yousuf, who was up for grabs in the second round along with McGrath, too was not wanted, probably because of imminent litigation as he had signed with the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL) before being enticed back by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB).

In what might come as a surprise to many, Symonds, not the most popular with fans here because of his spat with Indian players, went for 1.35 million dollars to the Hyderabad team during the third round. Feared speedster Brett Lee was taken by Mohali for 9,00,000 dollars in the same round, which also saw Brendon McCullum (7,00,000 dollars, Kolkata), Jacob Oaram (6,75,000 dollars, Chennai), Ricky Ponting (4,00,000 dollars, Kolkata) and Matthew Hayden (3,75,000 dollars, Chennai) being auctioned.

Michael Hussey was not bid for in the third round. There is a cap of five million dollars for each team to bid, but that still makes it a total of 40 million dollars.

In the fourth round of bidding, South African Jaques Kallis was the most expensive player with Vijay Mallya’s Bangalore franchise bagging the all-rounder for 900,000 dollars. Bangalore also bought the Indian pacer Zaheer Khan for 450,000 dollars while Mohali took S Sreesanth for 625,000 dollars.

While West Indies captain, who got the second highest bid was bagged by Kolkata for 800,000 dollars.

The South African skipper Graeme Smith went to the Jaipur team for 475,000 dollars while teammate Herschelle Gibbs was bought by Hyderabad for 575,000 dollars.

Stephen Fleming was bagged by the Chennai Super kings for 350,000 dollars. Hyderabad took Pakistan all rounder Shahid Afridi for 675,000 dollars. Fellow Pakistan players Younis Khan and Mohammad Asif went to the Delhi Daredevils for 225,000 dollars and 650,000 dollars.

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