Hopes the biggest draw in low-profile auction
The second round of the IPL's players' auction on Tuesday was in stark contrast to the high-profile, star-studded event held on February 20. Twenty-eight players were signed up - including 14 of India's Under-19 players - but, with most teams close to their US$5 million cap, the prices too were low: at $300,000, James Hopes, who joined Mohali, was the day's most expensive signing.
The biggest name traded on the day was Pakistan's Misbah-ul Haq, a star of the ICC World Twenty20 last year; he was signed up by Bangalore for $150,000. But the biggest surprise was the allrounder, Dimitri Mascarenhas, who became the first England player to join the IPL.
Mascarenhas, who joined for $100,000, will play under Shane Warne, his captain at Hampshire as well. Though Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and commissioner, had predicted no English presence, Mascarenhas has cleared all hurdles and even got a no objection certificate from Hampshire.
Ashwell Prince, who wasn't picked up in the first round, was signed on by Mumbai Indians for $175,000. Even though the franchise had only $53,750 left after their first-round buys, Modi said the remainder of Prince's contract price would be paid by the IPL.
The Under-19 players were chosen under a draft system and Delhi got first pick. They chose Pradeep Sangwan, who will get $50,000 and not $30,000, as he has played in the Ranji Trophy. Nine of the 14 U-19 players signed up have Ranji Trophy experience, including Virat Kohli, the India U-19 captain, who joined Bangalore. The original list had 16, but the Hyderabad franchise decided to pass on their two drafts.
The day's signings left Bangalore, Kolkata and Jaipur with nine overseas players in their ranks, one more than permitted under IPL rules. However, Cricinfo has learned that the IPL management agreed to relax the rules to accommodate as many players as possible.
"Yes, Bangalore and a couple of other teams do have nine foreign players," Charu Sharma, the Bangalore franchise's chief executive, told Cricinfo. "There were good reasons for having an eight-man limit, but with some of the players contracted by the IPL [like Ashwell Prince] still available, there was mutual agreement between the franchises that a ninth man could be chosen, if needed." All the available players were signed except Pakistan's Mohammad Yousuf, who also missed out in the first round.
Jaipur, who spent the the least in the first auction, signed up the South African fast bowler Morne Morkel ($60,000), Australian allrounder Shane Watson ($125,000), Pakistan left-arm fast bowler Sohail Tanvir ($100,000) and a couple of Indian U-19 players in Taruwar Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja. The Kolkata franchise bought two Pakistanis - Salman Butt ($100,000) and Mohammad Hafeez ($100,000) - and two U-19s in Siddarth Kaul and Iqbal Abdulla.
Mohali's two U-19 players were Tanmay Srivastava and Ajitesh Argal, and they also picked up the New Zealand bowler Kyle Mills and Australia's Luke Pomersbach for $150,000 and $50,000. The Tasmanian fast bowler Brett Geeves ($50,000) was a surprise buy for Delhi.
Mumbai bought Saurabh Tiwary and Manish Pandey, while Napoleon Einstein and Abhinav Mukund, two players from the U-19 World Cup, and Viraj Kadbe will represent the Chennai Super Kings. Besides Misbah and Kohli, Bangalore signed up the Bangladesh left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak ($50,000), New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor ($100,000) and India U-19 wicketkeeper Shreevats Goswami. The franchises must finalise their squads by March 18.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo