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 KC Cariappa was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders for Rs 2.4 crores, 24 times his base price in the 2015 IPL auctions. He recalls that 'beautiful day' that changed his life.
The shouting wouldn't stop. The dancing wouldn't stop. The crying wouldn't stop. The craziness wouldn't stop. That auction day, 15 February 2015, conjured a miracle. I was bought for Rs 2.4 crores, 24 times my base price, by Kolkata Knight Riders.
It had all started with my debut Karnataka Premier League season, where I was the third-highest wicket-taker in the league playing for the Bijapur Bulls. Following that performance, many teams started calling me for selection trials. Once Rahul (Dravid) sir called me for trials at Rajasthan Royals, he directly called me on my phone. I was shocked, and couldn't believe it. I was like, " Who's this? Are you really Rahul Dravid?". Then he called me again and spoke in Kannada, 'I am Rahul Dravid and your coach gave me your number.' It finally sunk in but I couldn't attend the trials because I was playing a corporate tournament for Vijaya Bank with whom I was employed.
In the meanwhile, our video analyst at Bijapur Bulls AR Srikanth, who was the team analyst for KKR as well had sent all my videos to the KKR management after being impressed with my performance in the KPL. After watching those videos, Vijay Dahiya, who was the assistant coach of KKR at that time, called me for a camp in Hyderabad ahead of the 2014 Champions League Twenty20.
Before the auction, I wasn't sure whether KKR will pick me but I had some 60-70 percent chance because then-coach Jacques Kallis and captain Gautam Gambhir had told me that they were looking at me so practice well. The expectations were there but 60-70 percent.
The auction excitement had started building up after that 15-day camp with KKR itself. Because I had impressed the KKR management. That time Sunil Narine was banned and they had called me because my action was similar to Narine's. I got Gambhir out two or three times and he was very impressed with my bowling. I was trying new things, new variations and the management liked it.
When I went to KSCA to register for the auction, they told me I can't send my name as I hadn't played domestic cricket. I called up KKR CEO Venky Mysore then who spoke to the officials and sorted everything out. I signed the IPL form and then KKR picked my name so that I could enter the auction.
I just wanted to get selected for the IPL at the base price. I was never thinking about big money. I thought I will go for 10 lakhs, the base price and I had a 70 percent idea that KKR will pick me.
The excitement gradually increased. A day before the auctions, I was in Chikmagalur, playing a corporate tournament. I was very excited and telling everyone that I had a chance of getting picked. I spoke to all my family and friends and they were also excited.
After the match was over, I took an overnight bus ride back to Bangalore. I couldn't sleep at all. While I was confident, I was nervous as well with my mind oscillating fiercely: Will they pick me or not?
Okay, something good will definitely happen, don't worry!
I reached home at 6.30 in the morning and still didn't sleep. I straightaway switched on the television and started watching the pre-auction special shows and analysis. At around 9.30-10, my friends started arriving at my place. I, along with friends and family, was glued to the TV but the wait was a bit longer.
At 2 pm, my name cropped up and the heartbeat went one notch higher. Will KKR go for me or not? There was a one minute pause and then KKR raised the bidding bat. At that very moment, all hell broke loose. Everyone started shouting. The crackers went gone off and it was deafening. I burst into tears. It was an emotional moment. For almost three years I was a net bowler for the Royal Challengers Bangalore and now I about to finally enter the biggest league in the world. Then suddenly I saw Delhi Daredevils enter the bidding war and I was shocked. The tears wouldn't stop. And up to 2.4 crores, I had gone mad. I was like, what's happening to me?
I continued watching the auction and then cut a cake with family and friends. The crackers wouldn't stop. And the entire area was decorated with banners with my name and picture. They were shouting and had gone mad. I was very famous in my area because I had played U-19 state and used to play tennis ball tournaments. They had seen my day to day struggle in the past four-five years and were really happy. They just went crazy that day.
I was never looking for money, I just wanted to play IPL but then suddenly there were massive expectations, my family started asking me in jest whether you will give us money or not? There were so many questions running around in my house.
I said don't worry about these things, I will go, play and just give me best. The money will come today or tomorrow, it's okay.
All through this, I had just given away my phone to my brother and told him don't take any calls - later on, we will call everyone back. The phone was buzzing with requests from the press people, friends, and family. Robin Uthappa messaged me because we were close.
My parents couldn't control their tears. They had struggled so much in life. They didn't know anything about cricket. I came from a very poor background. I thought okay, I got some money and my family will be settled now, that was something that was also in my mind. I made sure that they are settled now.
I didn't sleep for 2 days. On the night of the auction I was giving interviews and it continued the next day.
When I joined the KKR team, everyone was shocked that I went for Rs 2.4 crores apart from the coaches and the management people, but they were good to me. The KKR team was amazing. They were like a family. Yes, there was a bit of pressure. I was thinking that when I get to play the match, I should do well, I went for a big price so people will be thinking that there is something special about Cariappa. So the main thing was I should perform and it was running in my mind right from the first day.
In the first match itself, Gambhir told me to be ready to play. I was very nervous, didn't know what to do. I would be playing in front of 75,000 at Eden. I was in a crazy mood. In the second match also, I was nervous watching the crowd and in the powerplay, I bowled one over each to AB (De Villiers and Gayle). It was the biggest thing for me.
We get money in installments. When I got the first cheque of 50 lakhs, in the middle of the IPL, the first thing I did was send it to my parents. My father had a dream of buying estates in Coorg. Because of family issues he had lost everything at a young age, and we didn't get anything from our grandfather's property. So I asked him to buy an estate. He always wanted to be a coffee planter, so I fulfilled his dream. We then bought a Volkswagen Polo GT car and kept the rest of the money in a Fixed Deposit.
My parents were crying, they were like, you gave us a new life. I said don't worry everything will be okay from now on. I will play cricket and make sure will play for India. 15th February, 2015 was just a beautiful day.
It's that time of the year again. The auctions are round the corner. It's not about the money, I should be in the IPL. The money only made my family fulfill their dreams. They are happy and settled.
Now it's time to achieve something as a cricketer.
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