BANGALORE—Relatively unknown West Indies off-spinner Sunil Narine landed a lucrative US$700 000 deal with Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier auction yesterday. The 23-year-old Trinidadian, who only made his international debut last December in India, attracted one of the highest prices at the event. West Indies allrounder Andre Russell was also snapped up for a healthy price of$450,000 by Delhi Daredevils. India allrounder Ravindra Jadeja fetched the highest bid in the IPL 2012 auction, being signed up by Chennai Super Kings for more than $2m after they beat Deccan Chargers in a secret tiebreaker. Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene went to Delhi Daredevils for $1.4m and India medium-pacer Vinay Kumar to Royal Challengers Bangalore for $1m. The auction was held under a cloud of controversy following the breaking news, an hour before its scheduled start, that Sahara was pulling out of its Pune franchise. Two other big buys on the day came from Kolkata Knight Riders: Brendon McCullum for $900,000 and the relatively low-profile West Indies offspinner, Narine, for $700,000. Once again England players weren’t in demand. Most West Indies players also missed out as they have Test series with Australia and England clashing with the IPL season.
With their availability for the IPL restricted due to the home series against West Indies in May, none of them attracted a bid. VVS Laxman, with a base price of $400,000 and originally an icon player when the IPL launched in 2008, also went unsold. Among the most active franchises on the day was Mumbai Indians. They strengthened their bowling line-up by signing up the IPL's highest all-time wicket-taker, RP Singh ($600,000), and three overseas allrounders: Sri Lanka's Thisara Perera ($650,000), Australia's Mitchell Johnson ($300,000) and South Africa's Robin Peterson ($100,000). Mumbai also made one of the smartest buys of the day, by hiring experienced Twenty20 specialist Herschelle Gibbs for a paltry $50,000. The Rajasthan Royals also made five signings but, unlike Mumbai, they didn't splash the cash. Their most expensive purchases were Australia's Brad Hodge ($475,000) and India fast bowler Sreesanth ($400,000). They made three low-cost buys: $180,000 for left-arm spinner Brad Hogg—who turns 41 on Monday and had received an unlikely international recall for the Twenty20s against India, following his good run in the Big Bash League—and $50,000 apiece for Sri Lanka’s wicketkeeper-batsman Dinesh Chandimal and Trinidad & Tobago allrounder Kevon Cooper, whose medium pace proved hard to hit at the Champions League T20 last year. Two players whose international days are behind them, Muttiah Muralitharan ($220,000 to Royal Challengers) and former Pakistan allrounder Azhar Mahmood ($200,000 to Kings XI Punjab) also earned contracts. (© ESPN EMEA Ltd)