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19 April 2024

Gambhir sets $2.4 million IPL auction record


Indian stars Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan were snapped up for more than $2 million each at the Indian Premier League auction on Saturday, smashing the record price paid for an IPL player.

Left-handed opener Gambhir was the first player to go under the hammer for the scandal-plagued tournament's fourth edition, bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for $2.4 million, far higher than his base price of $200,000.

Gambhir was soon joined in the exclusive bracket by all-rounder Pathan, who was snapped up by the same franchise for $2.1 million. Pathan's reserve price was $300,000.

The prices paid easily eclipsed the previous record price paid for the England duo of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, who went for $1.55 dollars each in 2009.

Pietersen, with a base price of $400,000, was bought by Deccan Chargers for $650,000 this time.

Among the $1 million men were New Zealander Ross Taylor, Sri Lankan Mahela Jayawardene, South African AB de Villiers and India's Yuvraj Singh.

Former West Indies captain Brian Lara and a host of England's Ashes heroes were also among 353 players up for grabs at the two-day auction in Bangalore.

Lara and England paceman James Anderson were among 21 cricketers with the highest reserve price of $400,000 for a three-year contract.

Other foreigners on offer included Australians Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee, South Africans Graeme Smith and Jacques Kallis, and New Zealand's Daniel Vettori.

Proceedings at a luxury hotel in the IT hub of Bangalore, presided over by Richard Madley, a professional auctioneer from Britain, began at 11:00 local time (0530 GMT).

The annual IPL tournament revolutionised the sport when it burst onto the scene in 2008 with a high-octane blend of international star players, Twenty20 matches and Bollywood glamour.

But its fortunes dipped dramatically last year after allegations of massive corruption, money-laundering and tax evasion, as well as secret deals to hide teams' real owners, and even links to India's criminal underworld.

IPL founder Lalit Modi -- whose brash style personified the event -- was thrown out by the BCCI, the sport's governing body in India, over accusations about his conduct and organisers hope this year will be fresh start.

The tournament, to be held from April 8 to May 22, will feature 10 teams, including two new sides -- Pune Warriors and Kochi.

The players' auction was due to be held in November but was delayed amid confusion about the size and format of this year's tournament, which will start just six days after the end of the World Cup co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Twelve players have been retained by their original franchises, with Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni staying with the Chennai Super Kings and Shane Warne and Shane Watson sticking with the Rajasthan Royals.

Some top cricketers have opted out of the IPL's fourth season, including the Australian trio of Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson, and  former India captain Anil Kumble.

Pakistan's cricketers continued to miss out on the IPL bonanza after none of them was included for the auction.

Their players participated in the inaugural IPL, but were forced out of the 2009 season due to security concerns following the Mumbai attacks, and were then ignored for the 2010 tournament.

Who got who for how much:\

 Player                     Team         Base Price   Bidding Price   Role
Gautam Gambhir  KKR         $200,000         $2.4 million  Batsman
Dilshan T                RCB         $400,000         $650,000  Batsman
Zaheer Khan          RCB         $400,000           $900,000  Bowler
Ross Taylor            RR           $400,000           $1million       Batsman
Yusuf Pathan         KKR         $400,000            $2.1 million  All-rounder
Kevin Pietersen       DC         $400,000         $650,000   Batsman
Mahela J                 Kochi        $400,000           $1.5 million  Batsman
Yuvraj Singh           Pune         $400,000          $1.8 million  All-rounder
AB de Villiers          RCB         $400,000          $1.1 million  Batsman
Sourav Ganguly                       $400,000         Unsold          Batsman
Cameron White        DC         $300,000          $1.1 million  Batsman
Jacques Kallis        KKR         $300,000          $1.1 million  Batsman
Rohit Sharma             MI         $200,000          $2 million  All-rounder
Andrew Symonds       MI         $300,000          $850,000  All-rounder
Kumar S                     DC         $300,000           $700,000  Wicket-keeper
Adam Gilchrist        Kings       $400,000         $900,000  Wicket-keeper
Rahul Dravid  RR                      $400,000          $500,000  Batsman
Graeme Smith  Pune                $400,000         $500,000  Batsman
Robin Uthappa  Pune         $200,000                  $2.1 million  Batsman