IPL 2016: Shane Watson is the top buy, while Yuvi gets million dollar deal

Australia’s ageing all-rounder Shane Watson on Saturday emerged as the biggest draw going for a whopping Rs 9.50 crore, while Yuvraj Singh was the costliest buy among the Indians with a bid of Rs 7 crore in a rather low-key IPL players’ auction here on Saturday

The 34-year-old Watson, who marked his return to form with a blazing century against India in the last T20, triggered an intense bidding war among three franchises before Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) clinched the deal with the highest package so far.

Watson thus became the first million dollar buy of the auction with his package translating into USD 1.39 million. He was joined by Yuvraj soon after even though Saturday’s bid was far less than the Rs 16 crore he had garnered in the last auction.

Another veteran Indian pacer, Ashish Nehra (Rs 5.5 crore to Sunrisers Hyderabad), Ishant Sharma (Rs 3.8 crore to Rising Pune Super Giants), Kevin Pietersen (Rs 3.5 crore to RPSG), and Dwayne Smith (Rs 2.3 crore to Gujarat Lions) were the other top draws among the marquee players in the auction which was beamed live to millions of viewers.

Unheralded West Indian batsman Carlos Brathwaite was a surprise gainer fetching a whopping Rs 4.2 crore fee from the Delhi Daredevils, a huge jump from his base price of Rs 30 lakh.

Another top pick was Indian pacer Mohit Sharma, who was taken by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 6.5 crore.

Young Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson, who had a base price of rs 2 crore, was expectedly a sought after player with Delhi Daredevils buying him for Rs 4.2 crore.

The auction saw celebrity owners like Nita Ambani (Mumbai Indians), Preity Zinta (Kings XI Punjab) and Vijay Mallya (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and former players such as Ricky Ponting, Stephen Fleming, VVS Laxman, Tom Moody, Brad Hodge and Daniel Vettori actively involved in the bidding process for their respective franchises.

After the marquee players were sold out in the very first batch, the auction lacked fizz with several players going unsold.

Surprisingly, Australia’s T20 captain Aaron Finch, New Zealand’s big-hitting batsman Martin Guptill, Australia’s former captain George Bailey, South African Hashim Amla, and retired players like Mahela Jayawardene, Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin went unsold.