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Page last updated at 14:01 GMT, Friday, 6 February 2009

England players top IPL auction

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Andrew Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen have become the most costly cricketers in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The English cricketers were picked up for $1.55m (1.1m) each, Flintoff going to Chennai and Pietersen to Bangalore at the 2009 IPL auction in Goa.

The amounts will be paid as salary but will also be according to a ratio of the amount of games in which they play.

England's Ravi Bopara went to Kings XI Punjab for $450,000, while Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood joined Delhi.

Former England skipper Collingwood went for $275,000 while Shah was snapped up for $375,000.

They have signed two-year deals but will have to pay 10% of their share of their auction price to their counties for releasing them for the first part of the season.

Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff
Both Pietersen and Flintoff have broken the previous IPL transfer record

The England and Wales Cricket Board will allow Pietersen, Flintoff and Collingwood to play for a maximum three weeks of the six-week IPL season. Bopara and Shah may get longer if they are not involved in the Test squad.

Meanwhile, Graham Napier is working out a deal with his club Essex to allow him to join the Mumbai Indians, while Dimitri Mascarenhas will get a second season at Rajasthan Royals.

There were no bidders for the other two England players in the auction, Sussex batsman Luke Wright and Nottinghamshire all-rounder Samit Patel.

They join a long list of unsold players, which includes Australian's Phil Jacques and Stuart Clark - both of whom are under an injury cloud.

The previous transfer record was set at the 2008 auction, when Chennai paid $1.5m (1.04m) for India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

Australia batsman Michael Clarke, who had a price tag of $1m (686,345), pulled out of the auction on Thursday to give himself more rest and time with his family in preparation for a busy year which includes a Test series in South Africa, the Ashes series and the Twenty20 World Cup.

Bangalore's owner Vijay Mallya said he was prepared to pay more for Pietersen.

"It was a very worthwhile investment. Team balance was important and Kevin was certainly important in maintaining that balance," he said.

He also suggested that Pietersen may be a candidate for captaining the Royal Challengers.

"The captaincy slot is open, but a decision will be made after a discussion," he said. "Pietersen will be with us for three weeks and that is something we have to take into consideration."

Team balance was important and Kevin was certainly important in maintaining that balance

Bangalore owner Vijay Mallya

Indian cricket board secretary N. Srinivasan, who owns the Chennai Super Kings, was delighted with the acquisition of Flintoff.

"Twenty20 cricket is a game for all-rounders and Flintoff is one of the best in the business," he said.

The chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association Sean Morris rejected any suggestion that the England side may be harmed by other players being jealous of Pietersen and Flintoff.

"I can't see there being any jealousy," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "I think dressing rooms deal with the issue of money really well, probably better than most other workplaces.

"Ultimately what matters is what happens on the pitch."

England players were not involved in the auction last year because of international commitments and will be restricted to half this year's tournament because of the home Test series against the West Indies in April and May.

The 2009 IPL season will be held from 10 April to 29 May.

South African all-rounder JP Duminy was sold for $950,000 to Mumbai Indians, more than three times his reserve price.

Fellow South African Tyron Henderson went for more than six times his reserve price, joining Rajasthan Royals for $650,000.

Australia paceman Shaun Tait was the first player auctioned, going to defending champions Rajasthan Royals for $375,000, where he will join former Australia team-mate Shane Warne.

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The only other Australian purchased was George Bailey, who joined Chennai for $50,000.

The purchase of Bangladeshi all-rounder Mashrafe Bin Mortaza by Kolkata Knight Riders was one of the most surprising; his $600,000 tag was more than 12 times his reserve price.

All contracts are for two seasons, rather than the three of last year.

Reporting from the auction, BBC journalist Rahul Tandon spoke of the financial benefit to Pietersen and Flintoff of entering the IPL this year as opposed to last year.

"Not playing last year has been brilliant for them because last year they never would have earned this much money with all the Indian and world's best players up for sale."

Essex all-rounder Bopara attracted "fierce bidding" and the Kings XI believe he will suit their plans perfectly.

"He is a great player and an all-rounder and we wanted such a player," stated co-owner Priety Zinta.

"We think he would be perfect for Kings XI Punjab and we think we are happy we got what we wanted."

Mashrafe Bin Mortaza
Mortaza joined Kolkata for $600,000, twelve times his reserve price

Bopara believes the IPL will help him develop as a cricketer as well as securing his financial future.

"You get to play alongside and against the best cricketers in the world - it's almost like playing in a mini World Cup," Bopara told BBC Sport.

"If I was to sit here and say money wasn't important I'd be liar and financially it'll make a difference, though I'm not sure what I'll be doing with the money. It's still sinking in the money."

Bopara would also like the opportunity to play a full IPL season if an agreement could be reached with the English and Wales Cricket Board.

"If it was possible it would be fantastic to play for the whole six weeks," he added.

Some unsold players may still feature in the IPL this year if the franchises pick them as replacements for the Pakistani players, who have been barred from taking part by their government.

Commissioner Lalit Modi said: "There are only limited slots, there are 50 players and you cannot expect to have all the players sold.

"The teams have strategies and they normally put in a lot more players so that they get the other teams to bid for them in the hope of upsetting their plan."


IPL auction results, country by country (exchange rate as of 05/02/2009 is 1.4 dollars to the pound):

AUSTRALIA: George Bailey (Chennai Super Kings, $50,000), Shaun Tait (Rajasthan Royals, $375,000).

BANGLADESH: Mashrafe Bin Mortaza (Kolkata Knight Riders, $600,000), Mohammad Ashraful (Mumbai Indians, $75,000)

ENGLAND: Andrew Flintoff (Chennai Super Kings, $1,550,000), Kevin Pietersen (Bangalore Royal Challengers, $1,550,000), Owais Shah (Delhi Daredevils, $375,000), Paul Collingwood (Delhi Daredevils, $275,000), Ravi Bopara (Kings XI Punjab, $450,000).

NEW ZEALAND: Jesse Ryder (Bangalore Royal Challengers, $160,000), Kyle Mills (Mumbai Indians, $150,000).

SOUTH AFRICA: J P Duminy (Mumbai Indians, $950,000), Tyron Henderson (Rajasthan Royals, $650,000).

SRI LANKA: Thilan Thushara (Chennai Super Kings, $140,000).

WEST INDIES: Dwayne Smith (Deccan Chargers, $100,000), Fidel Edwards (Deccan Chargers, $150,000), Jerome Taylor (Kings XI Punjab, $150,000).

UNSOLD: Aaron Bird, Brett Geeves, Bryce McGain, Daniel Harris, Dominic Thornley, Jonathan Moss, Michael Dighton, Michael Hill, Phil Jacques, Shane Harwood, Steven Smith, Stuart Clark (All Australia), Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal (Both Bangladesh), Luke Wright, Samit Patel (Both England), James Franklin (New Zealand), Gulam Bodi, Morne Van Wyk, Yusuf Abdullah (All South Africa), Chamara Kapugadera, Kaushalya Weereratne, Nuwan Kulasekara (All Sri Lanka), Kemar Roach, Kieron Pollard (Both West Indies).



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see also
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Udal will not enter IPL auction
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England stars set for IPL chance
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No agreement on England IPL deal
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Hampshire sign all-rounder Cork
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Gough in talks over IPL contract
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The making of Stuart Broad
24 Aug 06 |  England


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