Small names, big money
Sachithra Senanayake, $625,000, KKR
Sachithra Senanayake is a gangly offspinner, who has carved out an impressive domestic record after making his first-class debut in late 2006. What makes him a particularly handy Twenty20 commodity is his doosra, which is both well disguised and hard-spun, and is regarded as the best "other one" currently in operation in Sri Lanka. In his short stint in the national team, however, Senanayake was unable to impress the selectors enough to persevere with him at the top level.
Kolkata Knight Riders' bid might also have been motivated by Senanayake's results in Sri Lanka's premier ODI competition, which concluded last month, where Senanayake reaped 18 wickets at under 12. He was also the top wicket-taker in the same competition last season, and had been picked up by the Sydney Sixers for part of their BBL campaign in December. In addition to his bowling, Senanayake is an athletic fielder and has four domestic half-centuries.
- Andrew Fidel Fernando
Glenn Maxwell, $1,000,000, MI
Nicknamed "The Big Show" by his team-mates, Glenn Maxwell, 24, is a batting allrounder who is not short on self-confidence. A clean striker of the ball who can slide up and down the batting order, Maxwell is also a handy offspinner whose all-round skills have earned him a place in Australia's squad in all three formats over the past few months. Also electric in the field, Maxwell was always going to be an attractive proposition for IPL teams but even so, his eventual seven-figure price-tag was a major surprise. Parts of his game require further development, especially his bowling, and this summer he has had to shake the habit of trying to bowl the miracle ball every delivery. Patience, Australia's national selector John Inverarity said last month, did not come naturally to Maxwell, but that is of little consequence in Twenty20.
Maxwell made his name in state cricket with a 19-ball half-century for Victoria against Tasmania in 2010-11, the fastest one-day fifty in Australia's domestic history. He has also been exciting in first-class cricket and earned a call-up for Australia's Test tour of India this year, but T20 appears the most natural fit for his urgent style. He made his debut for Australia in T20 internationals and ODIs during last year's series against Pakistan in the UAE, and two days before the IPL auction showed off his timing with an unbeaten 51 from 35 balls when promoted to open the innings in the first ODI against West Indies at the WACA. As the auction was unfolding, he fell for golden duck in the second ODI but followed up with four wickets, highlighting his all-round value.
Kane Richardson, $700,000, PW
If a million dollars for Maxwell was jaw-dropping territory, $700,000 for Kane Richardson was jaw-falling-off stuff. Not that Richardson, 21, is not a fine bowler, for clearly he is, but the third-highest price of the auction? Only time will tell if Pune Warriors will get their money's worth. A tallish right-arm fast bowler from South Australia, Richardson took 10 wickets at 21.50 and an economy rate of 7.24 in the BBL for the Adelaide Strikers this summer. That put him equal ninth on the competition wicket tally.
Richardson likes to swing the ball in to right-handers and can extract good bounce, but he needs to sort out his bowling action. During his ODI debut against Sri Lanka last month, Richardson was barred from bowling for repeatedly running on the danger area of the pitch in his follow-through. He was withdrawn from South Australia's next Sheffield Shield match and the Prime Minister's XI game against West Indies last week in order to make technical adjustments to his run-up. Pune had better hope he sorts it out. One of Richardson's highlights from the recent BBL was a stunning, diving, one-handed catch in the outfield that can be seen here.
Nathan Coulter-Nile, $450,000, MI
A promising right-arm fast bowler from Western Australia, Coulter-Nile's BBL form this summer was decent but certainly didn't suggest the $450,000 that Mumbai Indians paid for him. For the Perth Scorchers, he picked up 10 wickets at 27.60 and an economy rate of 8.00, and his career Twenty20 record is much the same. However, he is the leading wicket taker this season in the Ryobi Cup, Australia's 50-over domestic competition, with 16 victims at 23.18.
Coulter-Nile can get the ball to kick off a good length and can be an awkward customer to face, and his batting also adds to his value. A powerful hitter, Coulter-Nile hit one of the biggest sixes ever seen at the Gabba during the BBL this summer in an innings of 23 off six balls that drove his team to a Duckworth-Lewis win. Notably, though, earlier in the same game his three overs cost 39. Still, there is no doubt that Coulter-Nile has immense talent and while he is yet to play for his country, he was part of the Australia A side that toured England last year.
- Brydon Coverdale
Chris Morris, $625,000, CSK
The assembly line that produced South Africa's all-rounders of the 1990s lay dormant for much of the last few years but finally it has spat out another. Meet Chris Morris. An allrounder in the Lance Klusener mould, Morris has risen to prominence over the last year for his pacy bowling and belligerent batting, which makes an idea finisher in the shortest format.
Morris, who plays for the Lions franchise, appeared on the radar when he finished as the top wicket-taker in last season's domestic T20 competition, regularly sent the speed gun over the 140kph mark.
Chennai Super Kings would have spotted Morris at the Champions League Twenty20 last year where the Lions surprised many when they reached the final and beat three IPL teams in the process. In the match between the Lions and Super Kings, Morris took 1 for 24 and scored 12 off 7 balls at the end to take the Lions over the line as they chased 159.
- Firdose Moonda