Pakistan’s Afridi top prize in Bangladesh T20

DHAKA,  (Reuters) – Former Pakistan captain Shahid  Afridi was the hottest property in an auction held for the  inaugural Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 tournament yesterday, but English spinner Monty Panesar failed to attract a  bid.

Afridi was sold to the Dhaka franchise for $700,000 after  some intense bidding involving five of the six franchises for  the Feb. 10-28 tournament, which is based on the successful  Indian Premier League model.

The all-rounder, however, will only be available for the  final two days of the opening BPL campaign as he is on national  team duty against England in the United Arab Emirates.

Tournament organisers said the money would be given to the  players proportionately for the matches they are available.

Quick-scoring West Indian batsman Chris Gayle, who is  available from Feb. 14, was another to attract attention with  Barisal paying $551,000 for him.

His compatriots Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard also  created a stir as they were sold for $360,000 and $300,000 to  Rajshahi and Dhaka franchises respectively.

A total of 111 overseas players and 80 local cricketers were  put on auction with teams given a maximum budget of $2million  and able to buy no more than eight overseas players.

Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik (Chittagong $150,000) West Indies’  Dwayne Bravo (Chittagong $150,000), Australia’s Brad Hodge  (Barisal $140,000), Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya (Khulna)  $110,000) and Muttiah Muralitharan (Chittagong $100,000),  Pakistan’s Kamran Akmal (Sylhet $100,000), Rana Naved-ul Hasan  (Dhaka $100,000), Sohail Tanvir (Sylhet $100,000), Saeed Ajmal  (Dhaka $100,000) were among others to go for big money.

No Indian players were included in the auction.

South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs was initially unsold but  later found a bidder in Khulna for $100,000.

Along with Panesar, New Zealand’s Scott Styris and Lou  Vincent failed to attract a buyer.

Ireland’s wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O’Brien was the most  expensive player from the associate nations with Khulna paying  $80,000.

Bangladesh internationals Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal,  Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Ashraful, Shahriar Nafees and Alok  Kapali had been selected as icon players for six franchises and  were excluded from auction.

All-rounder Nasir Hossain was the most-sought-after  Bangladeshi in the auction with Khulna sealing his signature for  $200,000. Chittagong bought national vice-captain Mahmudullah  for $110,000.