The little-known Australian Daniel Christian to join the Chargers and the all-rounder is 'worth the money', say Deccan as Gambhir pledges to give Kolkata his best.
Daniel Christian makes big gain on IPL auction day two
Daniel Christian, the little-known Australian, was the surprise highest earner on the final day of cricket's Indian Premier League (IPL) auction yesterday, bought for US$900,000 (Dh3.3 million) by the Deccan Chargers.
The all-rounder, who had a reserve price of $50,000, has played just three Twenty20 internationals but performed well recently in domestic games.
"He is worth the money. He is a good fast bowler and a decent batsman. He is also a brilliant fielder," Gayatri Reddy, owner of the Chargers, said.
On Saturday, the first day of the auction, 15 players attracted bids of $1m or more as team owners including business tycoons and Bollywood actresses competed to sign up players at the sale in Bangalore.
The highest price was paid for Gautam Gambhir, the India left-handed opening batsman who was snapped up by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for a record $2.4m.
He was joined in the $2m club by compatriots Yusuf Pathan, Robin Uthappa and Rohit Sharma.
"I was expecting to get around $1.8m, but I am thankful to all the teams who bid for me," Gambhir said. "I've always given my best shot while playing for Delhi [Daredevils] and I'll be at my best for KKR as well."
The annual IPL tournament revolutionised cricket when it burst on to the scene in 2008 with a high-octane blend of international star players, Twenty20 matches and celebrity glamour.
But it has endured a torrid year involving corruption and tax-dodging allegations, false ownership records, and claims of links with illegal gambling and the criminal underworld.
After Lalit Modi, the IPL founder, was ousted over accusations about his conduct, organisers tried to clean up the competition by expelling the Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab for hiding ownership changes.
But the two teams won their legal battle to return, meaning 10 sides will compete in the fourth IPL, which starts on April 8 - six days after the end of the World Cup, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Former captains Brian Lara of the West Indies, Sanath Jayasuriya of Sri Lanka and Sourav Ganguly of India all remained unsold, as did England's Ashes heroes Ian Bell and Tim Bresnan, and Australia's Peter Siddle.
Twelve players were retained by their original franchises, with MS Dhoni, the India captain, staying with Chennai Super Kings and Shane Warne and Shane Watson sticking with Rajasthan Royals.
"We played smart during the auctions," said Stephen Fleming, the former New Zealand captain who is now the coach of the Super Kings, who retained four players before the auction.
"We tried to get back the same set of players who were with us in the first three editions. The idea was to make the team strong for whatever price we need to spend."
The second-highest earner yesterday was Umesh Yadav, the Indian paceman, who went to the Daredevils for $750,000.
Shaun Tait, the Australia fast bowler, who has played three Tests, 25 one-day internationals and 17 Twenty20 matches for his country, went to the Royals for his reserve price of $300,000.
The players will receive their auction price annually for a three-year period, depending on how many games they play.
Ryan ten Doeschate will become the first Dutchman to figure in the IPL after the all-rounder was bought for $150,000 by the Knight Riders.
The England duo of Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff held the previous IPL auction record when they went for $1.55m each in 2009.
Flintoff has since retired and Pietersen was bought on Saturday by the Deccan Chargers for $650,000.