Mumbai: The next generation Indian players were the much sought after in the landmark auction of the Indian Premier League with ODI skipper M S Dhoni being the shining example, fetching a whopping 1.5 million USD as Chennai bagged its prized catch.
Other youngsters including Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa and Ishant Sharma were the other hot picks, outsmarting more established stars from abroad by the eight franchise owners.
Rohit Sharma was roped in by the Hyderabad team for USD 750,000 dollars, Uthappa was sold to Mumbai for USD 800,000 dollars while the gangling Ishant, the most improved pacer in the country, went under the hammer for a whopping USD 950,000, the fourth-costliest purchase during the day.
It's all about money, honey!
Considering that Ishant's base price was only a modest USD 150,000, the amount paid for him by the Sourav Ganguly-led Kolkata team was a clear indication of the meteoric rise of the 19-year-old Delhi-born fast bowler, who often touched the 150-km mark during the ongoing tour Down Under.
Surprisingly Ricky Ponting, one of the top Test and ODI players in the world, was available for only USD 400,000--the Kolkata team being the beneficiary--while Stephen Fleming was roped in by Chennai for USD 350,000.
IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi expressed his surprise that the Indian players could get such a good price.
''I'm surprised, but at the same time I can say it's good for the Indian players,'' he said.
While Ponting and Fleming were successfully bid for, other top players including Australian bowling legend Glenn McGrath as well as his one-time team-mates Justin Langer and Simon Katich were unsold at the first instance when they went under the auctioner's hammer.
Similar was the case with West Indian batsmen Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnaraine Chanderpaul.