'I went blank for a while' - Deepak Hooda
Deepak Hooda, Sunrisers Hyderabad, INR 4.2 crore
I didn't follow it closely. When one of my relatives told me [that I was picked] I went blank for a while. I instantly hugged all my friends who were with me. I knew it would be a good auction for me. I was confident of being picked up, but didn't expect this price. My mom told me I had to focus more and work even harder. I felt that, 'people trust me so much, I need to live up to it.'
[Playing the Mushtaq Ali Trophy before the IPL auction] was a good thing. But ek dum pressure tha [there was a lot of pressure] because I knew what had happened to Rajasthan Royals, and I needed to keep performing to attract a new team. Given my IPL experience, there is also naturally more expected of me when I play for Baroda. But automatically sab accha hua [everything panned out well].
I think the Ranji Trophy last season was very important to me. Also, winning the best allrounder award in domestic one-dayers last season. Munaf bhai treats me like his younger brother and he taught me what life is about really, its ups and downs. Rahul bhai, Monty [Desai] bhai and others in the IPL were hugely helpful because I would keep asking them a lot of questions on getting better.
Karun Nair, Delhi Daredevils, INR 4 crore
Obviously, my heart is still pounding. Many people have been mocking me [about how] I was going to go for this much [money] or that much. When people keep telling you, it sort of gets to your head, so I stopped thinking about it. I didn't expect so much. I was only hoping to get what I got at Rajasthan Royals last year [INR 75 lakh]. That was the bare minimum I expected.
M Ashwin, Rising Pune Super Giants, INR 4.5 crore
I expected to be picked but not this price. I got picked by a team that I didn't go for trials [Ashwin had auditioned for three teams - Kings XI Punjab, Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore]. I was really nervous because my name came at the end and the purse was getting diminished. I sat in the same place with my dad from the morning [out of superstition]. I got excited even when I was bid for at the base price. I was happy at that time that some team had opted for me. I was not too keen on the money, but just wanted to play for an IPL franchise and gain experience.
My wife, who was at her cousin's place, was in tears when she heard the news. [The Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy] before the IPL is a very big boost. It's a great opportunity to come into the limelight. I saw it as a life-changing, life-altering tournament.
Krunal Pandya, Mumbai Indians, INR 2 crore
I am a left-arm spinner and he [Krunal's brother, Hardik Pandya] is a seamer, but we are both hard-hitting batsmen. Both of us have played together from childhood, be it at More sir's club or for Baroda. We had a dream to play at a competitive level together; that like Pathan brothers even the Pandya brothers should do well. For our parents, sone pe suhaga jaisi baat hui [it was the icing on the cake].
Rahul Sanghvi sir and Kiran More sir [Mumbai Indians' scouts] and Pravin Amre sir [Delhi Daredevils] would call me regularly to get updates about my progress [after a shoulder surgery last year]. That two big franchises were following my growth motivated me to get fit quickly.
We struggled a lot financially. My father was the sole breadwinner but after he had three heart attacks there was no source of income. Jab tak Hardik IPL mein khela tab tak dikat tha [our troubles didn't end before Hardik made it to the IPL]. My father's health improved after watching Hardik succeed.
I always enjoyed Hardik's success and he enjoyed mine. I told him on a lighter note that 'Main zyaada mehenga player hoon [I am a costlier player than you], and he responded: 'Chal, main India player hoon [get lost, I play for India].
Ishan Kishan, Gujarat Lions, INR 35 lakh
I found out only after the match. But I'm not thinking much about it because it's a kind of distraction and the mind gets diverted so just concentrating on the World Cup right now.
[An IPL contract at this age] means a lot to a player, it gives a lot of happiness. You get confidence from it that you have to prove yourself in the World Cup so that people think that you've been picked for the right reasons.
[On India Under-19s team-mate Rishabh Pant being bought by Daredevils for INR 1.9 crore] It's a World Cup going on and semi-final is coming up so we are not seeing it individually that who got what in IPL. A lot of careers are yet to be made so we are trying to do our best in the World Cup.