Mashrafe Mortaza: The New Knight!

Prthvir SolankiCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2009

I'm surprised Mashrafe Mortaza has not jumped off from the tallest building in the world. Before the auction on February 6th, Mortaza was surely a player people expected to be bought.

But people were in for a much bigger surprise. Something Shakib Ul Hasan and even Shaun Tait would envy.

Mortaza was placed in the Pool F and was among unknowns like George Bailey (who was sold to Chennai Super Kings at his base price), Kemar Roach, and others. His base price was the lowest in the whole auction. A meagre $50,000 price tag (that's the adjective he would use now) was hung on him and who would buy him for more?

When Mashrafe's name was called out along with his base price, not much entertainment was expected. Kings XI and Knight Riders were contesting for the young fast bowler. But suddenly, the bidding turned into a fierce fight.

Slowly and steadily the offered price went higher and higher, until the Knight riders bid for $400,000.

Surely it was over.

But Punjab franchisee owner Preity Zinta continued the battle and bid $410,000. The prices went higher and higher in denominations of $10,000, when another speed breaker made the Punjab owners think again. Would it be wise to contest $500,000?

Apparently, it was. The bid went up by a whopping $50,000, and Mortaza was already guaranteed a first team place.

But the Knight riders battled on and bid for $600,000 for Bangladeshi pace bowler, Mashrafe Mortaza. After a few minutes of discussion, Preity Zinta ended the war. Mashrafe was bought for 12 times his base price.

Now the question is, is he worth the moolah?

Yes he is an extremely talented bowler and has the right aggression and attitude to be one, but his stats speak a different story.

In nine T20 matches, he has an average of 50-plus and an economy rate of about nine and a half. But his recent form in the ODI's has covered that up.

He has jumped like a frog to rank at number eight on the ICC's list of bowlers in ODI's and his recent performance against Zimbabwe is notable. His aggressive batting skills can also be used as he can hit the balls into space.

With all the money spent on him, will KKR be able to play him in the first XI? Can Mashrafe Mortaza fill the big boots left by Umar Gul?

Only time will tell...