Its unbelievable amount of money: Flintoff

Published: Saturday, February 7, 2009, 9:25 [IST]
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IPL price hasn't quite sunk in: Flintoff

Kingston: England all-rounder Andrew Flintoff played down the huge price tag on his head after being sold for $1.55million at the Indian Premier League auction.

Flintoff and England team-mate Kevin Pietersen both fetched the same record price (£1.058million) as they were bought by Chennai Super Kings and Bangalore Royal Challengers respectively this morning.

The pair are available, along with three other England players also sold, for half of the lucrative six-week tournament which starts in April but are presently playing a Test match against West Indies.

Flintoff insists the ongoing four-Test series in the Caribbean will remain his top priority.

The 31-year-old said: "I am very pleased. However, I am here playing a Test match, so my mind is full of that and the IPL is in six weeks' time.

"It's not been in the back of my mind on tour, I just regard it as a massive bonus.

"I didn't know what to expect, I went in at $950,000 so to get that, it's unbelievable really, it has not quite sunk in I guess."

The fees paid for Flintoff and Pietersen eclipse the $1.5million paid for India's MS Dhoni last year.

On the two attracting the same figure, Flintoff added: "It's worked well hasn't it?

"We would not have had any problem with it (different prices) but I guess being the same might stop a few of the other lads taking the mick."

The England players, who will be contracted to their teams and paid over two years, will actually only receive half of this year's fee because they are not available for the full tournament.

Their availability between back-to-back home and away series against West Indies was the subject of much consternation but the England and Wales Cricket Board eventually agreed to create the three-week window.

Pietersen said: "I'm really excited about it. It's an unbelievable amount of money and I can't wait to get out there.

"It looked like an absolute blast last year and I think the England lads just want to be involved this year in what is such an amazing tournament."

Other England players sold were Ravi Bopara ($450,000 to Kings XI Punjab), Owais Shah and Paul Collingwood, who were both bought by Delhi Daredevils for $275,000 apiece.

Samit Patel and Luke Wright were left unsold.

Collingwood said: "I am absolutely delighted at the price tag on my head. The reserve price was $250,000 so to get a bit more than that is a really nice feeling.

"To be honest I am just happy to be there because once you get your nose in the tournament anything can happen and the cricket will be something special.

"I have now got a chance to show what I'm made of against the best players in the world.

"The fact that five guys got picked up out of seven, and Fred and KP took the biggest sums reflects well on English cricket.

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