BANGALORE, India, CMC – Chris Gayle will be hoping that he attracts Indian Premier League (IPL) bidders today, after he remained unsold at the players’ auction for the fourth edition of the competition yesterday.
The deposed West Indies captain, as well as West Indies batting legend Brian Lara failed to attract the attention of any of the 10 franchises in the first round of the auction. Unless the pair is picked up in today’s second round, they are not likely to feature in this year’s IPL, which will be staged from April 8 to May 22.
West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was a bit more fortunate. His contract was taken up by reigning champions Chennai Super Kings for a price of US $200,000.
Gayle will watch the second day of the IPL auction nervously. He stood to earn a minimum of US $120,000, plus match fees and bonus payments under the terms of a West Indies Cricket Board retainer contract. But he, along with Bravo and Kieron Pollard, whose place was guaranteed, after he was one of the “protected players” retained by the Mumbai Indians, chose to snub the retainer, hoping to shop their skills around the World, including the IPL.
Gayle entered the auction with a reserve price of US $400,000, but observers indicated that his likely unavailability for the full duration of the IPL may have considerably lowered interest in him.
The left-handed opener and part-time off-spinner is likely to be part of West Indies’ plan for their home series against Pakistan, which will be contested around the same time as the IPL between April 15 and May 24.
Gayle however, had indicated in a Twitter message late last year that he was looking to take a break from the international game, probably hoping to increase his attractiveness to IPL bidders – but it did not work.
The 41-year-old Lara was the oldest player in the IPL auction, and reports indicate that celebrity auctioneer Richard Madley didn’t waste much time to dump him in the “unsold” basket. Lara made a return to the competitive game last October, three years after his retirement, when he played in Zimbabwe’s national Twenty20 league.
He was eager to play in the IPL and was also working on his fitness, but he entered the auction at a base price of US $400,000 at which many of the franchises seemed to have scoffed.
Gayle and Lara were not the only two marquee players that failed to get signed. Former India captain Sourav Ganguly, South Africa wicketkeeper/batsman Mark Boucher, three players from England’s World Twenty20-winning team, Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Luke Wright, as well as Sri Lanka mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis also failed to get any buyer.
Gautam Gambhir became the most expensive IPL player, when the Kolkata Knight Riders put down US $2.4 million for the India opening batsman.
The previous IPL record was US $1.55 million paid for the England pair of Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen.
The explosive Yusuf Pathan secured a contract for US $2.1 million, while newcomer Pune Warriors paid the same for Robin Uthappa, and the Mumbai Indians paid US $2 million for Rohit Sharma.
A total 72 players were auctioned for US $52.8 million of the total purse of US $72.3 million available.
The second day will feature 25 other players from the Caribbean. They are Lionel Baker, Adrian Barath, Carlton Baugh Jr, Sulieman Benn, Tino Best, Darren Bravo, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Pedro Collins, Fidel Edwards, Rayad Emrit, Daren Ganga, Danza Hyatt, Xavier Marshall, Nikita Miller, Runako Morton, Ricardo Powell, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Floyd Reifer, Kemar Roach, Andre Russell, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, and Jerome Taylor.