Bengaluru: On a day when the Indian Premier League franchisees made a conservative approach at the players’ auction on Saturday, the team management splurged heavily on strengthening their bowling department especially adding specialists to their roster.
A tug of war ensued between Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Delhi Daredevils to claim the high-rated South African quick Chris Morris. On the suggestion of their bowling coach Sanjay Bangar, the Preity Zinta-co-owned Kings XI Punjab broke the bank to sign T20 specialist Mohit Sharma for `6.5 crore.
On paying such a hefty amount Zinta candidly admitted, “We did not expect him to go for such a price but we had to. He’s getting married and I think his wife is very lucky for him.”
Daredevils were again in a bidding war and this time it was for the Caribbean spearhead Carlos Braithwaite. From a meagre Rs 30 lakh, Daredevils and the KKR battled till the price went up 13 times his base price to Rs 4.2 crores.
IPL newbies Rising Pune Supergiants began to build their bowling unit roping in Ishant Sharma (Rs 3.8cr), Aussie fast bowler Mitchell Marsh for Rs 4.8 crores and sidelined India allrounder Irfan Pathan (Rs 1cr).
Gujarat Lions also spent big money to clinch the experienced campaigners Praveen Kumar (Rs 3.5 crores), Dale Steyn (Rs 2.3 crores) and Dhawal Kulkarni (Rs 2 crores). Lions owner Keshav Bansal said, “It’s all very well planned. We want to make sure we have a strong core team. They are the players who are going to play most of the game. Most of them are allrounders. We want a balanced team in place. We didn’t expect Praveen Kumar to go for that much but we needed that balance.”
Meanwhile, Sunrisers Hyderabad surprised everyone bidding for Bangladesh left-arm seamer Mustafizur Rehman for Rs 1.4 crores and later added India pacer Barinder Sran (Rs 1.2 cr) to their line-up. SRH also grabbed burly Karnataka speedster Abhimanyu Mithun for a modest Rs 30 lakh. It may be a batsman’s game, but this auction it was memorable for the bowlers.