IPL auction shuns Pakistan stars

MUMBAI: Pakistani cricketers will not feature in the third edition of the Indian Premier League this year after being ignored by franchises at the players’ auction on Tuesday.

None of the 11 Pakistanis who went under the hammer, including flamboyant all-rounder Shahid Afridi, were sold despite their national team being the reigning World Twenty20 champions.

Pakistani cricketers took part in the IPL’s inaugural season in 2008, but were denied permission by Islamabad to play last year due to growing political tensions with India.

Multi-millionaire owners of the eight clubs, who attended the auction, declined to comment on why the Pakistanis were kept out.

But a franchise official, who preferred to remain unnamed, told that he was not surprised.

“We were not sure if the Pakistanis will get visas and we did not want players who won’t be available,” he said. “Besides, there is also the security issue. No one was willing to take a chance.”

Meanwhile, West Indies allrounder Kieron Adrian Pollard became the first and most expensive purchase of the third Indian Premier League player auction.

Pollard, 22, will join the Mumbai Indians’ team, owned by India’s richest industrialist Mukesh Ambani, after attracting an undisclosed winning fee, exceeding his price of $750,000 per season, while Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders won the bidding for former ICL rebel paceman Shane Bond of New Zealand for $750,000.

For Pollard, the chance to share the dressing room with Sachin Tendulkar came as an additional bonanza.

“It is an honour to play with Sachin Tendulkar. I have grown up as a kid by watching him in the television,” Pollard said after he was sold to the Mumbai team during first round of the IPL auction in Mumbai.

Another West Indian, Kemar Roach, attracted $720,000 from 2009 champions Deccan Chargers. Promising South African paceman Wayne Parnell was sold to Delhi Daredevils for $610,000.

Eoin Morgan became the only England player to be bought at Tuesday’s auction, which made players available for each club to fill vacancies in their squads.

Irish-born Morgan, a left-handed batsman who has represented England in limited-overs internationals, was bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $220,000.

Former Australia test batsman Damien Martyn joined the Shane Warne-led Rajasthan Royals for $100,000. The Royals also bought Australian one-day and T20 batsman Adam Voges for $50,000.

The Chennai Super Kings paid $100,000 for South African test allrounder Justin Kemp and $50,000 for Sri Lankan bowler Thissara Perera.

Former test batsman Mohammad Kaif, the only senior Indian on auction, was bought by the Kings XI Punjab for $250,000. Kings also paid $50,000 for South African left-arm bowler Yusuf Abdulla.

A total of eleven players of the available 67 were attracted successful bids.

Other star players who were ignored at the auction were Australian Test wicket-keeper Brad Haddin, England spinner Graeme Swann, West Indian Ramnaresh Sarwan and Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan.

Pollard and Bond’s purchases were decided by the newly introduced tiebreaker rule.

Pollard attracted $750,000 bids from four franchises — Mumbai, Chennai, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata.

The four bidders were asked to make silent bids on paper within five minutes. IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi received the bids and then announced the winner.

Kolkata went into a tiebreak with the Deccan for Bond.

The silent bid amount exceeding the base price is not disclosed. The excess money — more than the franchisees’ limit of $750,000 spending — goes to IPL and not the player.

Trinidad & Tobago-born Pollard drew attention as an allrounder during last year’s Champions League Twenty20 tournament.

Bond was associated with the rebel Indian Cricket League and returned to the IPL fold only recently.

The auction was held for cricketers not already linked with any IPL team and was limited to the third edition, which will be held across India from March 12 to April 25.

From 2011 onwards, when the number of teams will be increased from eight to 10, a fresh auction will be held for all cricketers for a three-year term.

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