Melbourne: More than one-third of the money spent during the players auction of the DLF Indian Premier league went into the pockets of the Indian players. As reports of the huge money they would be making started to reach them in Australia; some players were shocked while others were over the moon.
Harbhajan Singh was pleased not just about his bank balance jumping up by Rs 3.4 crore but also that he will be playing under his role model Sachin Tendulkar for Mumbai.
But there was a touch of regret, too, as he will have to cross swords with childhood friend Yuvraj Singh in front of his home supporters at Mohali.
As Mohali's 'Icon Player' Yuvraj wasn't chewing his nails. In the end he was worth over a Rs 4 crore but chose to focus on the team he would be leading.
"As you can see the whole composition of the team, they are well balanced. I think we did well," Yuvraj said.
Gautam Gambhir was also a satisfied man as he was richer by nearly Rs 3 crore and would be playing for his home team Delhi.
Young fast bowler Ishant Sharma was in shock after he got a winning bid of nearly Rs 4 crore. The likes of Suresh Raina and Manoj Tiwary, too, were overwhelmed.
But Yuvraj said it isn't just the money that excites the players.
"Well it is a different format. It is Twenty20 so it makes it very exciting and rather than watch all the Indian players and the international players, people can watch the international players interact with the Indian players. So it is different for them and different for us. They will enjoy it," he said about the IPL Twenty20 tournament.
The Australian media too gave a big coverage to the story. In his column Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds said he couldn't quite put a finger on the logic behind the numbers while another man who chose to give the IPL a miss was talking up the tournament.
"I think the ICL and the IPL and all the domestic Twenty20 competitions are going to have a very important place in the game," former Aussie pacer Jason Gillespie said.
For the last 24 hours Indian players could be excused for thinking something else than the ongoing tri-series Down Under. But the youngsters should be extremely thankful that they are playing cricket in India at the right time.
However, Australian Test and One-Day skipper Ricky Ponting was disappointed that he didn't sell for more
Ponting, who was bought by Kolkata for just Rs 1.6 crore, said he was expecting more than that.
He dismissed suggestions that the auction may cause friction in the Australian dressing room although he did joke that from now on whenever he and Andrew Symonds go out; he will be expecting Symonds to pay.
Ponting also conceded that most Australian players have concerns about touring Pakistan. Symonds had said on Wednesday that he will almost certainly pull if the tour does go ahead.
Meanwhile the International Cricket Council (ICC) has made it clear that its schedule is in place for the next four years and will not change.
"There has been a lot of media speculation about a window being cut out of the tour programme so that the IPL can fit in on an annual basis. That issue wasn't raised by the BCCI. The Futures Tours Programme that regulates cricket matches for the 10 full-member countries and the associate member countries is in place till 2012 and there is no suggestion that a window will be cut out to accommodate the IPL," ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed said.
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