The English players have finally arrived in the Indian Premier League—and how!
For record prices, my friends. England may not be the strongest team around, and they may have had their own share of internal problems recently, but that did not stop the English players from being snapped up for record prices at today's IPL auction.
Almost every team craved to have the two hard-hitting English players on their roster—Kevin Pieterson and Andrew Flintoff. And why not? In a game format which warrants not just talent, but also power, attitude and charisma, these two have enough of it.
KP was "won" by Bangalore Royal Challengers, for a whopping US$ 1.55 million. Flintoff, on the other hand, went to the Chennai Super Kings for the same amount.
Last year, the auction was a much more flamboyant and grand affair. There was excitement in the air, money was flung carelessly, much hype was made around every player, and decisions were made by the team icons or captains. This time around, every decision had to be business decision with the owner at the helm.
Last year there were no English players on auction, as ECB hadn't permitted them to go. However, once the English players fought for their right and gained permission, it was clear who was going to steal the spotlight this season.
Both these fantastic players however will have different sets of challenges.
KP's Royal team had a dismal showing in the last edition of the IPL. His squad will be suffering from low confidence, lack of quality T20 players, and pressure to perform from a demanding corporate boss.
Flintoff's Chennai team were finalists last year, and even this season will be among the favorites to win the IPL. In a team which boasts the likes of Dhoni, the pressure to perform and prove his money's worth will be immense.
Will the English players live up to their humongous prices? Only time will tell.