The moments and the math
The first player to go under the hammer at the auction in Goa was Australian fast bowler Shaun Tait, snapped up in a matter of moments by the Rajasthan Royals for $375,000. It was a bright start for the Australians but that was as good as it got.
The most closely fought bid at the auction was not for the stars, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff, nor for the flavour of the season JP Duminy. Instead it was the bidding war between the Kings XI Punjab and for Bangladesh allrounder Mashrafe Mortaza. Mortaza's base price was $50,000 but it escalated, slowly at first before gathering speed when the auctioneer felt the franchises were dilly-dallying. Only when the Kolkata Knight Riders went as high as $600,000 did Punjab drop out of the contest. Mortaza was Kolkata's only purchase at the auction and his final value was 12 times his base price.
The franchises didn't probably consult the ICC rankings before coming to the auction. Or, if they did, didn't take them too seriously. The ICC recently ranked Shakib Al Hasan - developing left-arm spinner, versatile batsman, and swift fielder - at No 1 on its ODI allrounders list, yet he had no bidders even at his base price of $75,000.
Australia had the most players up for sale - 18 - but only two were bought. Tait went early but after him the franchises passed over several Australian players: some, like Brad Haddin and Stuart Clark, were internationals, others like Steven Smith and Aiden Blizzard more obscure. It wasn't until the very end of the auction that the second Australian player was bought by the Chennai Superkings: George Bailey at $50,000 was the cheapest buy at the auction.
Tyron Henderson. And he was bought by the Rajasthan Royals for $650,000, making him their second-most expensive player (Yusuf Pathan retains that slot). To put it in perspective, Rajasthan had paid only $450,000 and $475,000 for Shane Warne and Graeme Smith last year. Nor did they get Henderson, 34, without a fight - the Deccan Chargers kept bidding until the $600,000 mark. So what's so special about him? Very simply, he's the highest wicket-taker in Twenty20 matches, with 74 wickets in 62 games at an average of 21 and an economy rate below seven. He's played for the Cape Cobras in South Africa, and Middlesex in England, and is nicknamed 'The Blacksmith'.
Last season, the Bangalore Royal Challengers were mocked as a "Test" team for including the likes of Wasim Jaffer, Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis. They were dull, they were uninspiring and, most importantly, they were losing. Vijay Mallya, their flamboyant owner, fixed part of the problem by adding the glamour - Pietersen, for $1.55 million, whom Mallya said could be a captaincy option. The liquor magnate then added the colour by picking up New Zealand batsman Jesse Ryder, who has a history of alcohol-related disciplinary issues.
Big spenders to big hoarders
The Deccan Chargers blew up $3.3 million on four international players last year but this time they parted with only $250,000 - the lowest amount spent by any franchise. They had bought massive stars such as Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist last year but settled for West Indians Fidel Edwards and Dwayne Smith this time. Maybe they can do what the stars couldn't - avoid finishing last in the league.
The percentage amount unspent from a pool of $13,590,000 for all teams ahead of the auction. Deccan Chargers were the most conservative among the eight franchises, spending $250,000 out of $1.9 million. Bangalore Royal Challengers and Chennai Super Kings, on the other hand, spent more than 87% of their budget.
The number of unsold players this year out of 49 under the hammer. Shakib Al Hasan was the most notable among them, failing to win any bids despite being ranked No.1 on the ICC rankings for allrounders.
The Australians who were picked up. Shaun Tait and George Bailey were the lucky ones out of a total of 17 up for bids.
Million-dollar-men in the IPL after Friday. Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen were each snapped up for $1.55 million, and they join an exclusive club of six others - Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Andrew Symonds, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid - who pick up at least a million each season.
The percentage increase in Mashrafe Mortaza's sale price from first bid to closure. Starting from a base price of $50,000 - the lowest among players sold - he was bought, after an intense bidding battle between Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab, for a whopping $600,000. Tyron Henderson and Mortaza enjoyed an absolute increase of $550,000 from their respective base prices but Henderson's percentage increase - 550 - was half that of Mortaza's.