Ricky Ponting, one-day cricket's top-rated batsman and the highest-paid Australian contracted cricketer, is bewildered at his worth in the Indian Premier League compared with other Australian players, reports said Friday.
The Aussie skipper fetched 400,000 US dollars to play for Kolkata at Wednesday's IPL player auction in Mumbai, a figure dwarfed by the astonishing 1.35 million dollars paid for teammate Andrew Symonds to join Hyderabad.
Ponting was assessed less than what non-ODI regulars Cameron White (500,000 dollars) and David Hussey (625,000) received in franchise bidding, but admitted he was disappointed with his contract.
"I thought I might have been able to attract a little bit more than that," he said.
"I have had my fair share of endorsements over the years and always felt the Indian people have warmed to me quite often when I have been there.
"Lots of things have gone through my mind in the last couple of days.
"Even my involvement in the Harbhajan (Singh) thing, but I thought hang on, Symo (Symonds) was involved in it as well."
Ponting was referring to a conduct charge levelled at Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh for racially abusing Symonds during last month's fourth Sydney Test.
Harbhajan's three-Test suspension was subsequently downgraded by New Zealand judge John Hansen at an International Cricket Council appeal hearing to one of using general obscene, offensive or insulting language.
Ponting said he was adamant the IPL cash issue would not split the Australian team.
"It's probably only me and Matty (Hayden) that will have any reason to be jealous of anybody else," he said. "Matty and I aren't that sort of people."
Senior opening batsmen Hayden, ranked the world's sixth top ODI batsman, went for 375,000 dollars in the IPL auction to Chennai.
Commentators said Friday the uncertainty over Australia's tour of Pakistan amid security concerns plays into White and Hussey's hands with IPL benefactors.
White and Hussey seem almost certain to be available for the entire 44-day IPL tournament whereas Ponting and others may not if they are contracturally required to tour Pakistan at the same time in April.
Ponting has also urged the International Cricket Council and national cricket organisations to work at fitting the IPL into the international calendar.
"I think everyone now understands with the amount of money that is being bandied about, spent in the last couple of days, there is going to be some tough decisions made by international cricketers," he said.
"So, for the betterment of the game worldwide, then the ICC and the home bodies really do have to look at how they can make this thing fit in.
"Because if it doesn't fit in to the international programme, then you could see the loss of lots of very good Test and one-day players to go and play in the Twenty20."