Bengaluru: Veteran Australian all-rounder Shane Watson commanded the highest bid of Rs 9.5 crore from Vijay Mallay-owned Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction today.
Watson, who has represented Rajasthan Royals (RR) every year since joining them in the inaugural edition in 2008, was bought from a base price of Rs 2 crore.
This is first time that Watson has featured in the IPL auction since the inaugural edition in 2008. He is the only player to win the player of the tournament award twice. But his deal was annulled after the Rajasthan and Chennai franchises were suspended for two years after the IPL was hit by a match fixing corruption scandal.
Rookie all-rounder Pawan Negi stunned the cricket fraternity by commanding the second highest bid. Delhi Daredevils' paid Rs 8.5 crore for Negi was the highlight of the day. Negi, who was included in the Indian squad for the World Twenty20 championship, had a base price of only Rs 30 lakh before a bidding war between newly-former franchise Rising Pune Super Giants and the Daredevils saw him emerge as the costliest Indian player at the auction.
The 23-year-old, who is yet to make his international debut, is known for his wicket to wicket to bowling and ability to come up with the big hits in the lower-middle order. Negi has been outstanding in domestic cricket with both bat and ball.
He played for the now suspended Chennai Super Kings franchise in the previous seasons of the IPL and represents Delhi in the domestic circuit. He had been signed by Chennai for his reserve price of 10 lakh a couple of seasons ago.
On the other hand, India's star batsman Yuvraj Singh will make the move to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) from the Delhi Daredevils (DD). The SRH entered into the fray to buy him for Rs 7 crore. Delhi Daredevils had bought Yuvraj last year for Rs 16 crore. Yuvraj had a base price of Rs 2 crore.
Sunrisers Hyderabad also bought veteran pacer Ashish Nehra for Rs 5.50 crore, pipping Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions.
Delhi Daredevils have replaced Yuvraj with South all-rounder Christopher Morris. The DD paid Rs 7 crore to take home the player. The 28-year-old had a base price of Rs 50 lakhs.
Delhi Daredevils also bought young Kerala wicketkeeper Sanju Samson and West Indian batsman Carlos Brathwaite for Rs.4.2 crore each.
Debutants Pune Supergiants got Kevin Pietersen for Rs 3.5 crore, the first player to go under the hammer, even though Gujarat Lions also bid intensely for the dashing England batsman.
Pune also bought Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh and Ishant Sharma for Rs.4.8 crore and Rs 3.8 crore, respectively.
Gujarat Lions got South African Dale Steyn and West Indian Dwayne Smith for Rs 2.3 crore each.
Medium pacer Mohit Sharma went for Rs 6.5 crore to Kings XI Punjab.