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PTI

Jharkhand's flamboyant wicketkeeper-batter Ishan Kishan was well on his way to become the biggest buy of the IPL mega auction here on Saturday with Mumbai Indians retaining him for more than Rs 15 crore while his India teammate Shreyas Iyer also clinched a staggering deal of over Rs 12 crore from Kolkata Knight Riders.

As reported by PTI on Friday, Kishan and Iyer, both current India players, were expected to be in demand at the mega auction.

MI waited for the second session to engage in a bidding war with Sunrisers Hyderabad, eventually shelling out Rs 15.25 crore (USD 2 million plus) to retain Kishan's services.

"I'm really excited to be back at MI. I know everyone has treated me there like a family so I am really happy to be there and I hope to give my best to the team. Thank you so much," said the 23-year-old Kishan.

In the morning session, which was thrown slightly haywire due to sudden health scare to auctioneer Hugh Edmeades, stylish India international Shreyas Iyer was bought by KKR for Rs 12.25 crore. Sports presenter Charu Sharma eventually took over the auction duties.

With every team needing to re-build aside from the core, Indian players were expected to come at premium prices and all the current internationals, most of them under 30, became million dollar buys.

Some of the successful franchises like Chennai Super Kings once again focussed on retaining their core base like Dwayne Bravo (Rs 4.40 crore), Ambati Rayudu (6.75 crore) and Robin Uthappa (2 crore).

India seamer Harshal Patel, who was IPL's top wicket-taker last year, enjoyed a fantastic auction as Royal Challengers Bangalore retained him for Rs 10.75 crore, which was a richly deserved amount.

Some of the veteran India players like Shikhar Dhawan, bought for Rs 8.25 crore by Punjab Kings, and Mohammed Shami, gone for Rs 6.25 crore to new entrants Gujarat Titans, also enjoyed a good pay day.

Even Ravichandran Ashwin had no reason to complain as he earned a Rs 5 crore deal from Rajasthan Royals.

The young turk who raked in the moolah during the opening session was left-handed big-hitter Devdutt Padikkal, who got a Rs 7.75 crore (over USD 1 million) deal with Rajasthan Royals.

Among the foreign players, T20 specialists like West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder (bought for Rs 8.75 crore by Lucknow Supergiants), South Africa speedster Kagiso Rabada (bought for Rs 9.25 crore by Pubjab Kings) and the hard-hitting Shimron Hetmyer (bought for Rs 8.5 crore by Rajasthan Royals) all breached the million dollar mark among overseas cricketers.

But one player, who stole the show was ICC World T20 top ranked bowler Wanindu Hasaranga, who after claiming maximum number of scalps in 2021, went for Rs 10.75 crore.

The need for good wicketkeepers for some of the teams meant that Jonny Bairstow (Rs 6.75 crore) had a lot of takers but certainly not more than Nicholas Pooran, who fetched a humongous Rs 10.75 crore from Sunrisers Hyderabad equalling Hasaranga's bid.

Iyer's entry into the KKR fold ensures a captaincy candidate for them while the Shah Rukh Khan co-owned franchise also got back their Australian pace spearhead Pat Cummins for half the price at Rs 7.25 crore.

KKR CEO explains Iyer rationale

KKR also managed to secure the services of another core player -- domestic giant and T20 specialist Nitish Rana -- for Rs 8 crore.

Cummins was bought for over Rs 15 crore the last time around and no wonder CEO Venky Mysore was very pleased with the outcome this time.

"To get back Pat Cummins at that price, we are very, very delighted. We thought he would go higher," Mysore said.

"We could not be happier getting Cummins and Shreyas in the first round itself. Heart beats a bit more properly now, we can now have some fun looking at what else is going on," the KKR CEO added.

While Cummins is a captaincy candidate, he will not be available during the first two weeks even though Mysore didn't want to commit on captaincy.

"As far as captaincy is concerned, that's a decision our coach and the think-tank will take. Certainly, between Cummins and Shreyas, we have solid options for us. I'm sure the think-tank will make the right decisions," he added.

There was a lot of demand for Shikhar Dhawan, who has been a great IPL player of late for Delhi Capitals and even though his old franchise bid well, Punjab Kings got Mayank Agarwal's opening partner for the season.

"If you think Shikhar Dhawan is not a game-changer then you are making a big mistake. He is an outstanding player, we would also have been interested," Mohit Burman, co-owner of PBKS, said.

"The way he plays at top of the order... if you see his stats and fitness I think he will keep going and going," he added.

Good buys by Lucknow Supergiants

While RCB got their opening issues and captaincy sorted with a Rs 7 crore bid for Faf Du Plessis, Lucknow Supergiants claimed Quinton de Kock for Rs 6.75 crore.

Also, a currently out-of-sorts Manish Pandey for Rs 4.6 crore wasn't bad bargain either.

Lucknow, however, bid big for Krunal Pandya, who fetched a cool Rs 8.25 crore while his former Baroda bete noire Deepak Hooda was also taken by Lucknow for Rs 5.75 crore.

It is now up to Lucknow mentor Gautam Gambhir, who knows a thing or two about volatile temperaments, to see that team spirit is not hampered by the warring duo.

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