Shakib Al Hasan became the most expensive buy in the Bangladesh Premier League when he was acquired by Dhaka for $365,000 in one of the many tiebreakers in the day. Imran Nazir, the second most valuable player at $280,000, was bought by Chittagong in another tight bidding battle. As a result, the auction lasted nearly eight hours with its share of drama.
The start of the auction was also the business end of it, as the golden category players - both local and foreign - were fought over. With small pay brackets, the seven BPL franchises often locked up at the highest price quickly, but then had to write up their price on a piece of paper, which was then read out by the auction commissioner, the highest bidder winning the player's services.
Half an hour into the auction, six franchises hit the $75,000 ceiling for Shakib. But when the written-up amounts were revealed, Dhaka's bid was $152,000 more than their nearest rival Rajshahi, who had quoted $213,000 while newcomers Rangpur were third with a $160,000 bid.
Shakib, however, will only get $162,000 because according to the league rules, anything above the ceiling (in this case $290,000 more than $75,000) gets distributed between the Bangladesh Cricket Board (60%), the player (30%) and Game On Sports (10%), tournament's event management firm. Tamim Iqbal would have joined Shakib but Rajshahi won the coin toss after the two franchises were tied on $165,000 even after the tiebreaker.
There was more drama when Nasir Hossain's turn came. Sylhet had begun their celebrations after they were announced winners, but the commissioner belatedly realised that one last envelope had remained unopened. As it turned out, the last bid was the highest one. Rangpur, who had bid $208,137 against Sylhet's $151,000, got the services of Nasir and left the Sylhet owners in a shock.
Rangpur threw more interesting numbers during the afternoon. They bought left-handed batsman Junaid Siddique for $67,757 and left-arm spinner Abdur Razzak for $92,777. They also bid $72,772 for Shahzaib Hassan and $89,792 for Ahmed Shehzad unsuccessfully. The trend inspired Khulna too as they made a successful bid of $51,105 for Farhad Reza.
The auction for the B category of foreign players went by quietly but the interest picked up again for the local players in the same category. There was a tiebreaker for almost every name; many going into the six-figure mark much against their track records. Rookie seamer Abul Hasan fetched $121,000 from Rajshahi while left-arm spinner Elias Sunny went for $106,000 to Barisal after a six-way tie on $50,000. Sylhet got young batsman Mominul Haque for $127,000 beating four other teams.
The nature of the bidding was such that teams had to make blind guesses, making some bids lop-sided. For example in case of Abul, the next best offer behind Dhaka's $121,000 was Khulna's $53,000.
After a frenetic auction day, the major challenge for the BPL will be to ensure that the players are paid according to the agreed schedule. Each player will receive 25% of his payments before the tournament starts on January 18 and the next 25% by the end of the tournament in mid-February. The other 50% will have to be paid within six months from the end of BPL 2013. The specter of unpaid player wages in BPL's first season would loom over the hype until these payments are finally made.
Barisal Burners: Alok Kapali, Shafiul Islam, Elias Sunny, Shuvagata Hom, Shabbir Rahman, Ifthikar Ahmed, Jubair Ahmed, Alauddin Babu, Al Amin, Nazmul Apu, Saeed Ajmal, Sunil Narine, Brad Hodge, Azhar Mahmood, Umar Gul, Kamran Akmal, Phil Mustard, Kabir Ali, Hammad Azam
Sylhet Royals: Mushfiqur Rahim, Sohag Gazi, Mominul Haque, Nazmul Hossain, Imtiaz Hossain, Nazmul Hossain Milon, Jupiter Ghosh, Suhrawadi Shuvo, Tino Best, Andre Russell, Dwayne Smith, Azeem Ghumman, Zulfiqur Babar, Hamilton Masakadza, Babar Azam, Sohel Ahmed, Paul Stirling
Duronto Rajshahi: Tamim Iqbal, Ziaur Rahman, Jahurul Islam, Abul Hasan, Farhad Hossain, Moktar Ali, Taijul Islam, Shaker Ahmed, Monir Hossain, Marlon Samuels, Abdul Razzaq, Mohammad Sami, Shahzaib Hasan, Alex Hales, Khalid Latif, Sean Ervine
Rangpur Riders: Nasir Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Junaid Siddique, Imrul Kayes, Mehedi Maruf, Shamshur Rahman, Taposh Ghosh, Dhiman Ghosh, Mohammad Sharif, Fidel Edwards, Kevin O'Brien, Sharjil Khan, Anwar Ali, Raja Ali Dar
Dhaka Gladiators: Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Ashraful, Anamul Haque, Mashrafe Mortaza, Raqibul Hasan, Mosharraf Hossain, Soumya Sarkar, Litton Das, Shahid Afridi, Luke Wright, Owais Shah, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Lasith Malinga, Joshua Cobb, Chris Liddle, Darren Stevens, Kaushal Lokuarachchi
Khulna Royal Bengal: Nazimuddin, Shahriar Nafees, Farhad Reza, Shahadat Hossain, Mizanur Rahman, Mohammad Mithun, Dollar Mahmud, Sanjamul Islam, Nabil Samad, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Awaiz Zia, Umar Amin, Ahmed Shehzad, Riki Wessels, Haris Sohail, Bilawal Bhatti, Shane Harwood
Chittagong Kings: Mahmudullah, Naeem Islam, Rubel Hossain, Arafat Sunny, Enamul Haque jnr, Aftab Ahmed, Marshall Ayub, Nurul Hasan, Imran Nazir, Dwayne Bravo, Wahab Riaz, Ravi Bopara, Ryan Ten Doeschate, Jacob Oram, Jason Roy, Kevon Cooper, Brendon Taylor, Saeed Anwar jnr