It's that time of the year again when excitement is in the air. Hope, anxiety and nerves grip the cricketers as they look forward to the Indian Premier League auctions. The auctions in the past have proved to be life-changing ones for many. As the players prepare to go under the hammer yet again for the 2020 season, cricketers share their auction day experiences which left them emotional and stunned on the big fat payday.
Mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy triggered a bidding war before he was finally bought by Kings XI Punjab for Rs 8.4 crore, 42 times his base price, in the 2019 IPL auctions. He recalls the frenetic day when he 'literally went blank'.
Ahead of the auction, I didn't have huge expectations. I just wanted to get picked at the base price (of Rs 20 lakh), nothing else. Yes, I was a bit nervous but I did sleep the night before the auction. The nervousness wasn't extreme but there was curiosity.
On the auction day, I was in my hometown Thanjavur with my mother. We were following the auction on the television. I was nervous to start off. I had a doubt whether my name itself will come out or not. Well, to my delight, it did arrive. And it didn't stop there, the bidding went higher and higher. Just as Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab engaged in a bidding war and my price kept increasing, I literally went blank. Despite the pre-auction buzz, I didn't know that all those teams will go after me. I didn't have any idea. While the franchises were battling it out in the middle, I didn't have any preference for the team I wanted to represent. It was my first auction. I wasn't an established player yet. I just wanted to be picked, that's it.
The hammer finally went down with Kings XI Punjab being the highest bidder at Rs 8.4 crore. It took some time to sink in. Well, 3-4 days. My mother was happy. Till then she only had the idea that I used to play tennis ball cricket, she never had an inkling that I was playing professional cricket. During the auction, she didn't know what was happening, that the figure was Rs 8.4 crore, she didn't bother about all those things. She was just happy that I got picked. The whole day my phone was buzzing. I was at my home full time, attending calls and didn't go anywhere. I couldn't sleep the whole night because of continuous calls. It was frenetic. I slept a bit the next morning and then celebrated by visiting the Brihadeshwara temple, which is popularly known as The Big temple in my hometown.
When I joined the KXIP team, all my teammates were very happy. Did the Rs 8.4 crore price tag put pressure on me? Well, with or without the price tag, I was just a fresher, a beginner at that stage so I still had a lot to learn. So I was in that process only. There was little pressure, obviously, it will be there because it's a big stage but I wasn't carrying it the whole time. In fact, after the auction, I felt motivated. It made me feel more responsible that I have a big job to do.
As for the money, well I still haven't planned what to do with it.
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