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IPL auction: Stars ignored

Little-known Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell was the only million-dollar buy in a low-key IPL players' auction where franchises opted to put their money on unheralded names instead of established stars, most of whom went unsold on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Maxwell stole the thunder grabbing a whopping $1 million (Rs 5.3 crore) deal with Mumbai Indians, while among the Indians, all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, and pacers R P Singh and Jaydev Unadkat invited unexpectedly high bids in the auction where only 37 of the 108 players in the fray managed to find buyers.

The giants of the game who failed evoke much interest from the franchises included Australian captain Michael Clarke and his predecessor Ricky Ponting. Both of them were marquee players but were sold on their base price of $400,000 (Rs 2.1 crore) to Pune Warriors and Mumbai Indians respectively.

In contrast, there was a fierce bidding war for Maxwell in which Mumbai pipped Hyderabad Sunrisers to clinch the player.  Currently playing against the West Indies in an ODI series, Maxwell was ironically out for a first-ball duck in Perth while franchises bid for him here.

India's uncapped domestic stars Jaydev Unadkat and Pankaj Singh were among the big gainers in what turned out to be a rather bizarre buying pattern which saw franchises opting mostly for untested players, who have not yet made a mark in international arena. SA all-rounder Chris Morris, who has played just one T20 international, quite literally struck gold at the auction by fetching $625,000 (Rs 3.3 crore) after starting with a measly base price of $20,000.  Morris was bought by Chennai Super Kings after an intense three-way bidding war with Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The unusual pattern continued with little-known Sri Lankan off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake going much beyond his base price of $50,000. The franchise that initially bid on him were Mumbai Indians and CSK before Kolkata Knight Riders entered the fray to raise his price tag to $625,000 (Rs 3.3 crore) and snatch him from CSK.

Australian fast bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile was put on sale at a base price of $100,000 but went for $450,000 to Mumbai Indians, who outbid Rajasthan Royals.  The 25-year-old is yet to make his international debut and currently turns up only for Western Australia and Perth Scorchers in his domestic circuit. Another uncapped player who triggered a bidding war was promising Australian pacer Kane Richardson. The 21-year-old, whose base price was $100,00, was ultimately bought by Pune Warriors for $700,000 (Rs 3.7 crore).
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