IPL aution: KKR, CSK, Pune Warriors spend big money

NEW DELHI: Defending champions Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders and new entrants Sahara Pune Warriors were the three franchises that stood out for their precision while buying the players during the first day of the auctions for the fourth edition of Indian Premier League .

Among the cricketers who crossed the million dollar barrier, the top seven were Indians with Mahela Jayawardene being the most expensive foreign player bought for USD 1.5 million by Team Kochi.

KKR certainly hit the jackpot in the initial rounds snapping Gautam Gambhir, who is all set to lead the side in the next edition, along with superstar of shortest version Yusuf Pathan. For stability, they have a legend like Jacques Kallis.

The Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise seemed to have done a lot of homework which reflected in their buys.

Brad Haddin at USD 325,000 appeared to be a smart buy by KKR, as was Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib-al-Hasan for USD 425,000. Although Brett Lee hasn't played much international cricket of late but at USD 400,000, it seemed a good bargain.

For Pune, it was a good move to get Yuvraj Singh and T20 specialist Robin Uthappa in the first round itself. Uthappa's bid of USD 2.1 million might raise a few eyebrows but he has the ability to win matches singlehandedly.

The smartest buy for Pune was certainly Sri Lankan Angelo Mathews (USD 950,000) who is one of the best all-rounders in world cricket at the moment. South African captain Graeme Smith for USD 500,000 and a crafty bowlers like Ashis Nehra and Nathan McCullum were also bought by them.

Chennai Super Kings who started on a subdued note however got Dwayne Bravo for as cheap as USD 200,000 and showed keeness in retaining Mike Hussey, Doug Bollinger , Ravichandran Ashwin, S Badrinath who are key members of the squad.

However, there were some baffling buys also on the first day of the auctions. Irfan Pathan who has hardly played any cricket during the current first-class season was bought buy Delhi for a whopping USD 1.9 million (approx Rs 8.74 crore).

Ravindra Jadeja who has bore the brunt of the ire of Indian fans for letting the team down in consecutive Twenty20 World Cup was bought by Team Kochi for as much as USD 950,000.

Piyush Chawla who didn't even get 20 wickets this season was retained by Kings XI Punjab for USD 900,000 while world's best off-spinner Graeme Swann surprisingly went unsold. Rajasthan Royals only had USD 3.9 million purse but buying Johan Botha for USD 950,000 seemed to defy logic.

Important buys by the franchises:

KKR: Yusuf Pathan, Gautam Gambhir, Brad Haddin, Shakib Al Hasan

Royal Challengers Bangalore: AB de Villiers, Saurabh Tiwary, Daniel Vettori

Rajasthan Royals: Paul Collingwood Sahara

Pune Warriors: Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Angelo Mathews, Nathan McCullum

Kings XI Punjab: David Hussey, Stuart Broad

Team Kochi: Brendon McCullum, Mutiah Muralitharan

Chennai Super Kings: Doug Bollinger, Mike Hussey, Ravichandran Ashwin.

Mumbai Indians: James Franklin

Deccan Chargers: Dale Steyn, Cameron White, Kevin Pietersen.

Delhi Daredevils: Morne Morkel.