"Ji mera naam Karn hai, Karan nahin; pata nahin kis-kisko batana padega (my name is Karn, not Karan; wonder how many people I'll have to inform)." Guess that won't be required anymore. Named after Karna, the tragic hero of Mahabharata Karn Vinod Sharma, the Railways leg-spinner, went to Sunrisers Hyderabad for a jaw-dropping Rs 3.75 crore on the second and final day of the IPL Player Auction here on Thursday.
On a day reserved for uncapped and unsold players, Sharma's rise from an 'also-ran' to 'most-wanted' hogged the headlines. Sharma had taken 11 wickets for Hyderabad last year. Bowling in tandem with fellow leggie Amit Mishra, he had done pretty well.
Available at a base price of Rs 30 lakh, Sharma garnered interest from Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI before Hyderabad clinched the deal.
As many as 84 players — a large majority of those uncapped — were sold as the teams got back to build on whatever foundation they had laid on Day One. Apart from Sharma, Himachal Pradesh's Rishi Dhawan, who topped the Ranji charts with 49 scalps but wasn't considered good enough to play for Rest of India in the Irani Cup tie, went for a huge sum of Rs 3 crore to Kings XI Punjab. Maharashtra's Kedar Jadhav, also a Ranji topper with over 1,000 runs, took home an equally stunning Rs 2 crore when Delhi used their 'joker' card to land their old boy.
As expected, teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore were at the mercy of the 'wise spenders' like Kings XI and Rajasthan who began the day with enough funds to thwart others' bids. Vijay Mallya, who was happy and sad in equal measure after splashing Rs 14 crore for Yuvraj Singh, had just Rs 1.8 crore left. In his absence, the others at the table managed to use that money judiciously to form a squad of 21. India Under-19 captain Vijay Zol (Rs 30 lakh) was their smartest buy of the day.
No such problems for most of the other franchises who spent at will. Kings XI bought South African pacer and their T20 league topper Beuran Hendricks (Rs 1.8 crore) while Royals got veteran all-rounder Rajat Bhatia for Rs 1.7 crore. Six other uncapped Indians became 'crorepatis', with Dhawal Kulkarni (going to Royals for Rs 1.1 crore) among the beneficiaries. RR's love affair with Mumbaikars continues. Rahane, Tambe, Chavan (however unfortunate) and now Kulkarni…
Apart from batsmen like KL Rahul and all-rounders like Parvez Rasool, the wicketkeepers also had a great day. Aditya Tare, who could have well become a 'Royal, went to Mumbai for Rs 1.6 crore. The Nita Ambani-owned franchise also bought Karnataka stumper CM Gautam, in-and-out Mumbai player Sushant Marathe, who also keeps wickets, and Ben Dunk, a terrific Aussie wicketkeeper-batsman who topped the Big Bash League charts.
Ross Taylor, unsold on Day One, went to Delhi for his base price (Rs 2 crore). As did a sulking Murali Kartik, who took to Twitter on Thursday to announce that he had lost faith in people. The left-arm spinner went to Kings XI Punjab for Rs 1 crore.
Of the 154 players sold, 50 are foreigners. Royals have formed an army of 25, the biggest squad of all. Yet, they have Rs 5.5 crore in the kitty. With 20 players, Chennai's squad is the smallest. Only two franchises — Bangalore and Delhi — exhausted their full purse.