Pollard, Bond hit IPL roof; Pakistanis dumped (Roundup)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MUMBAI - Bidding for the exciting West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard and express New Zealand paceman Shane Bond went to the wire while the Pakistani players were left out in the cold at the auction for Indian Premier League III (IPL) here Tuesday.

The franchisees found the Australians unreliable and refused to touch them as the players had no qualms in deserting their teams in the first two editions of the Twenty20 tournament.

Pollard and Bond touched an undisclosed sums as both came out of a tie-break after touching the limit fixed for bidding, $750,000.

Mumbai Indians cornered Pollard and Bond went to Kolkata Knight Riders in an innovative “tie-breaker” wherein the bidders were asked to mention the figure they are willing to pay on a piece of paper to break the deadlock.

The players will, however, get $750,000 and the amount in excess quoted by the bidder will go into the IPL coffers.

Pollard was the most sought after player after his pyrotechnics in the Champions League here last year when he played for Trinidad and Tobago.

There was thrilling bidding contest among Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Bangalore Royal Challengers who were willing to empty their purses for Pollard when his base price was only $200,000.

IPL chairman and commiossoner Lalit Modi then invoked the “silent tie-breaker”, asking the four teams to quote their price on pieces of paper.

Modi opened the secret bids and announced that Mumbai Indians have left the other three behind, though it was not disclosed how much the four franchisees pegged their amounts at.

Mumbai Indians owner Nita Ambani said they went for Pollard because they were looking for a batting all-rounder.

Similarly, the price tag on cricket’s one-time fiercest bowler Bond, who returned to international cricket after severing his ties with breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL) and had recently retired from Test cricket to concentrate on shorter forms of the game, came as a bit of surprise.

Bond, whose base price was $100,000, broke a tie between Knight Riders and Deccan Chargers to be bought over by the Shah Rukh Khan outfit for an undisclosed amount, exceeding $750,000.

In fact, two other young fast bowlers also received handsome sums. West Indian Kemar Roach went for $720,000 to reigning champions Deccan Chargers and South African Wayne Parnell for $610,000 to Delhi Daredevils.

The only Indian player in auction fray Mohammad Kaif, who appeared for Rajasthan Royals in the last two seasons, went unsold in the first round, but was recalled after teams showed interest. He was signed up by Kings XI Punjab for $250,000 over a base price of $100,000.

Eleven of the 12 available slots for the eight franchisees were filled from a pool of 65 international cricketers.

But the biggest disappointment was that for the second successive season, the IPL will be devoid of Pakistani flavour.

The Pakistani players went unsold in the auction as there were sadly no takers for the stars of the World Twenty20 champion side.

The only ostensible reason for the Pakistanis not going under the hammer could be the uncertainty over their participation in view of the strained relation between the two sub-continental neighbours.

However, at least two team owners categorically stated that the Pakistanis were not favoured because they did not fit into their scheme of things and not because of any security concerns.

Pakistani players were barred from participating in the last edition in South Africa in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks. However, their players were registered for auction this time after a delay in Pakistan government clearing them to play in the Twenty20 tournament and India granting them the visas.

There was a hushed silence when the name of the Pakistan Twenty20 World Cup star player Shahid Afridi, who was expected to be a top draw in the auction, was announced first up. After that it was clear that none of the Pakistanis would be picked, though Kolkata Knight Riders bowling coach Wasim Akram was said to be keen on getting fast bowling sensation Mohammad Aamer.

The Akmal brothers — Kamran, who played for Rajasthan Royals in the first edition, and Umar, who scored century on his debut against New Zealand — met the same fate.

In all, eleven Pakistani players, including Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved and Imran Nazir, who were part of the breakaway Indian Cricket League (ICL), were in the auction list.

Batsman Eoin Morgan is the lone Englishman to attract attention at the auction, Bangalore Royal Challengers picking him up for $220,000.

Three India’s Under-19 players, priced at Rs.800,000 ($17,000) each, were chosen by a draft system. Bangalore picked U-19 captain Ashok Menaria, Deccan Chargers went for Mumbai spinner Harmeet Singh while Mumbai Indians opted for Harshal Patel.

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