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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 16:57 GMT
Dhoni tops Indian auction bidding
India cricketer Sourav Ganguly arrives at the IPL auction in Mumbai
Calcutta captain Sourav Ganguly arrives at the IPL auction in Mumbai
India one-day skipper Mahendra Dhoni attracted the highest price in an incredible day of bidding at the Indian Premier League's inaugural auction.

Some star-studded names were up for grabs in Mumbai ahead of the Twenty20 tournament, which begins on 18 April.

Dhoni was bought by Chennai for $1.5m (770,095), while Australia's Adam Gilchrist went for $700,000 (359,410) and Shane Warne $450,000 (231,033).

Eight city franchises will pay the winning bid to the player annually.

And each player's contract has been guaranteed for a three-year period by the Indian cricket board (BCCI).

Hyderabad paid $1.35m (694,180) for Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds, while his compatriot Brett Lee joined Mohali for 462,623 and Ricky Ponting went to Kolkata for 205,610.

Mahendra Dhoni: $1.5m (Chennai)
Andrew Symonds: $1.35m (Hyderabad)
Sanath Jayasuriya: $975,000 (Mumbai)
Ishant Sharma: $950,000 (Kolkata)
Irfan Pathan: $925,000 (Mohali)
Brett Lee : $900,000 (Mohali)
Jacques Kallis: $900,000 (Bangalore)
RP Singh: $875,000 (Hyderabad)
Harbhajan Singh: $850,000 (Mumbai)
Chris Gayle: $800,000 (Kolkata)

Indian batsmen Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly attended the auction along with Bollywood movie stars Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta in a chaotic atmosphere.

The BBC's Rahul Tandon was also at the auction and said there were so many fans and media at the Hilton Towers hotel in Marine Drive that police had to be called to quell the crowds.

The country has been gripped as the rich and powerful from Bollywood and some of India's biggest companies dug deep into their pockets to bid for 78 players.

The multi-million pound, International Cricket Council-sanctioned tournament will feature eight city franchises - Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Jaipur, Chennai, Chandigarh and Hyderabad - playing a total of 59 matches.

Each franchise was allowed to sign up to eight non-Indian players for their 16-man roster, but only four foreign players can feature in the starting line-up and each XI must also contain four Indian players under the age of 22.

The bidding, which was conducted electronically in a sealed room, also saw Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan go to Chennai for $600,000 (308,163), and Calcutta take Pakistan paceman Shoaib Akhtar for $425,000 (218,284).

However, India's current young crop of internationals attracted some of the highest bids.

Having made just over 50 first-class appearances, rookie 19-year-old fast bowler Ishant Sharma registered a staggering winning bid of 489,020 from Kolkata, while Mohali snapped up all-rounder Irfan Pathan for 476,387.

The IPL is nowhere near the forefront of my mind

England's Andrew Flintoff

Australia captain Ponting was among 13 of his compatriots in a pool of international cricketers available to the franchises, which were allowed to spend a maximum of $5m (2.565m) on eight contracted players.

Ponting's involvement in the lucrative league, which begins on 18 April and runs for 44 days, had been uncertain because of Australia's tour to Pakistan in May.

Cricket Australia has given the 33-year-old the green light to participate in the tournament but told BBC Sport his international commitments remained his priority.

Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin all declined invitations to participate.

England are the only leading Test nation with no involvement in this year's tournament.

Anna T - BBC Sport

Andrew Flintoff, who is in India with the England Lions as he battles to regain full fitness, told BBC Sport: "The IPL is nowhere near the forefront of my mind.

"The thought of retiring early and not playing a Test match at Lord's or a Roses match for Lancashire to come and play in India is not something I would start to consider."

IPL organisers have insisted they are not requesting a break in the international calendar to avoid direct competition with national boards.

ICC chief executive Malcolm Speed said: "The members were pleased to receive very clear and unconditional commitments from the BCCI that international matches would be give absolute priority over IPL commitments.

"There has been plenty of speculation about the impact that IPL will have on the world game.

"The other ICC members are supportive of the BCCI and will carefully evaluate the first year of the IPL and its wider impact on the game in other parts of the world."

England and Wales Cricket Board chairman Giles Clarke said he had no intention of releasing players to accommodate the 2009 IPL tournament as England were scheduled to tour the West Indies at the same time.

"I don't believe England players will be involved next year," said Clarke.

"Several have already complained about burnout caused by too much cricket. Our players are contracted and we are committed to touring the West Indies at that time."

The BCCI has already earned over 800m selling TV rights and team franchises for the IPL, which was set up as a direct competitor to the rebel Indian Cricket League.

The franchises were snapped up by some of India's richest men, as well as a coterie of top Bollywood film stars.

IPL team line-ups after Wednesday's auction:

Rahul Dravid (capt)
Jacques Kallis (SA): $ 900,000
Anil Kumble (Ind): $500,000
Cameron White (Aus): $500,000
Zaheer Khan (Ind): $450,000
Mark Boucher (SA): $450,000
Nathan Bracken (Aus): $325,000
Dale Steyn (SA): $325,000
Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI) $200,000
Wasim Jaffer (Ind): $150,000

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Ind): $1.5 million
Jacob Oram (NZ): $675,000
Albie Morkel (SA): $675,000
Suresh Raina (Ind) $650,000
Muttiah Muralitharan (SL): $600,000
Matthew Hayden (Aus): $375,000
Stephen Fleming (NZ) $350,000
Mike Hussey (Aus) $350,000
Parthiv Patel (Ind) $325,000
Joginder Sharma (Ind) $225,000
Makhaya Ntini (SA) $200,000

Virender Sehwag (capt)
Gautam Gambhir (Ind) $725,000
Manoj Tiwary (Ind): $675,000
Mohammad Asif (Pak): $650,000
Daniel Vettori (NZ): $625,000
Dinesh Karthik (Ind): $525,000
Shoaib Malik (Pak): $500,000
Glenn McGrath (Aus): $350,000
AB de Villiers (SA): $300,000
Tillekeratne Dilshan (SL): $250,000
Farveez Maharoof (SL): $225,000

Andrew Symonds (Aus): $1.35m
RP Singh (Ind): $875,000
Rohit Sharma (Ind) $750,000
Adam Gilchrist (Aus): $700,000
Shahid Afridi (Pak): $675,000
Herschelle Gibbs (SA): $575,000
VVS Laxman (Ind): $375,000
Chaminda Vaas (SL) $200,000
Scott Styris (NZ): $175,000
Nuwan Zoysa (SL): $110,000
Chamara Silva (SL): US$100,000

Mohammad Kaif (Ind) $675,000
Graeme Smith (SA): $475,000
Yusuf Pathan (Ind): $475,000
Shane Warne (Aus): $450,000
Munaf Patel (Ind): $275,000
Younis Khan (Pak): $225,000
Justin Langer (Aus) $200,000
Kamran Akmal (Pak): $150,000

Sourav Ganguly (capt)
Ishant Sharma (Ind): US$950,000
Chris Gayle (WI): $800,000
Brendon McCullum (NZ): $700,000
David Hussey (Aus): $625,000
Murali Karthik (Ind): $425,000
Shoaib Akhtar (Pak): $425,000
Ricky Ponting (Aus): $400,000
Ajit Agarkar (Ind): $350,000
Umar Gul (Pak) $150,000
Tatenda Taibu (Zim) $125,000

Yuvraj Singh (capt)
Irfan Pathan (Ind): $925,000
Brett Lee (Aus): $900,000
Kumar Sangakkara (SL): $700,000
Sree Santh (Ind): $625,000
Mahela Jayawardene (SL): $475,000
Piyush Chawla (Ind): $400,000
Ramnaresh Sarwan (WI) $225,000
Simon Katich (Aus) $200,000
Romesh Powar (Ind): $170,000

Sachin Tendulkar (capt)
Sanath Jayasuriya (SL): $975,000
Harbhajan Singh (Ind): $850,000
Robin Uthappa (Ind): $800,000
Shaun Pollock (SA): $550,000
Lasith Malinga (SL) $350,000
Dilhara Fernando (SL) $150,000
Loots Bosman (SA) $150,000

Mohammad Yousuf (Pak)
Ashwell Prince (SA)

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