In the most dramatic bidding for players in the Indian Primer League to date, Bangladesh vice-captain Mashrafee bin Murtaza was purchased by Kolkata Knight Riders at a whopping $600,000 in Goa on Friday.
Bidding on Mashrafee had started with a base price of $50,000 but his figures kept climbing steadily with the Kings XI Punjab hot on the heels of the Knight Riders before the Kolkata side roped him for 12 times his starting price.
Bangladesh skipper Mohammad Ashraful rode on his luck to win a contract at a time when it seemed the auction was well over. Mumbai Indians snapped him up at his base price $75,000.
Sakib al Hasan, the world’s top ranked all-rounder in ODIs, however, did not get a buyer surprisingly. Also unsold was opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, the other Bangladeshi player on the auction.
Initially there were no bids for Mashrafee either. But just before the hammer went down, Kolkata made a bid for $50,000. It was the start of the most dramatic sale at the auction that lasted nearly half an hour.
Kings XI Punjab entered the race almost immediately and the price started climbing up by $10,000 with every call. The raises were slow and the bidding went on and on and on. Kolkata touched the $500,000 mark first and Punjab went further to $550,000.
To the utter disbelief of everyone present, Kolkata, raised their call to $600,000 and at this point the tug of war between two best-looking film actresses of India Juhi Chawla and Preity Zinta for the Bangladesh pacer ended.
Juhi, the co-owner of Knight Riders, was calling for her team accompanied by coach Buchanan while Preity was calling for her King XI side alongside partner Ness Wadia. Preity was clearly frustrated, and later revealed that she was desperate to have Mashrafee on her side.
‘(Masharfee) Murtaza is a great player, an all-rounder and we wanted him. But you win some, you lose some,’ Preity later told reporters.
Mashrafee’s price was a record in the IPL. His price increased by 1100 per cent than his base price. Indian pacer Ishant Sharma held the record previously with $950,000 -575 per cent higher than his base price, also from Knight Riders last year.
Like his other team-mates on auction, Masharfee bin Murtaza was also reluctant to speak publicly about his Indian Premier League prospect before the auction in Goa on Friday.
But to the close circle he had revealed at least two facts. The first one was a recent phone call from Shahrukh Khan, the owner of Kolkata Knight Riders and the second was a promise made by Kings XI Punjab captain Yuvraj Singh.
Last year Mohammad Rafique had claimed to have gotten a call from Shahrukh, which later proved to be a false as the Knight Riders never came up with any offer for him publicly and the Bangladesh spinner went on to join the Indian Cricket League.
Mashrafee was careful to talk about his call from Shahrukh, but everyone close to the all-rounder knew that King Khan had in fact requested him to withdraw his name from the auction.
Shahrukh promised to take him in the squad as a replacement of Pakistani players. But Mashrafee humbly turned down the request and decided to try his luck. He knew for sure that at least Kings XI will be bidding for him as promised by Yuvraj last year.
Unlike Rafique, Mashrafee proved correct in his claims as both Shahrukh’s Knight Riders and Yuvraj’s Kings XI, made an intense bidding for him that lasted nearly 30 minutes and took his price to an astounding $6,00,000