Bengaluru: As the marquee players for 9th edition of the Indian Premier League went under the hammer on Saturday, Australian all-rounder Shane Watson became the first million-dollar buy.
The burly Australian was snapped up by Vijay Mallya’s Royal Challengers Bangalore for a whopping Rs 9.5 crore ($1.39 million) in the auction after an intense bidding war.
Yuvraj Singh had quite a climbdown from being last year’s most expensive buy but Sunrisers Hyderabad entered late into the fray to still shell out Rs 7 crore (1.03 million) for the Indian allrounder.
Sunrisers Hyderabad also bought veteran pacer Ashish Nehra for Rs 5.50 crore ($810,000) pipping Kings XI Punjab and Gujarat Lions.
Debutants Pune Supergiants got Kevin Pietersen for Rs 3.5 crore ($515,000), the first player to go under the hammer, even though Gujarat Lions also bid intensely for the dashing England batsman. Pune also got Ishant Sharma Rs 3.8 crore ($559,000).
Gujarat Lions got South African Dale Steyn and West Indian Dwayne Smith for Rs 2.3 crore ($338,000) each.
However, the player to hit the pay dirt was definitely Watson, who recently hit a smashing century in the third T20 International against India recently.
Also, he has been an ever-present player for the now banned Rajasthan Royals being the 'Player of the Tournament' in the league's first season.
Watson has retired from the longer format but his 130-135 kmph seam-up stuff has also turned out to be handy on Indian pitches.
Australian T20 captain Aaron Finch and New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill were the players who went unsold in the first session. PTI