Yuvraj Singh, Kevin Pietersen and Dinesh Karthik were among the most eye-catching purchases after the opening day of this year's Indian Premier League auction in Bangalore.
As reported by ESPNcricinfo, Yuvraj joined Karthik in garnering plenty of interest from the first batch of 16:
Both Yuvraj and Karthik, who were part of the 16-player marquee lot that kicked off the auction, were fiercely contested by three franchises. Royal Challengers Bangalore made a successful bid for Yuvraj at Rs 14 crores ($2.33 million), while Delhi Daredevils bought Karthik for Rs 12.5 crores ($2.08 million).
Yuvraj makes the switch to Royal Challengers Bangalore after last playing for Pune Warriors. The 32-year-old is vastly experienced after a distinguished career in India and England, his aggressive style of play and athletic ability still proving to be vital facets of his game.
Although Yuvraj failed to make the Asia Cup squad after a string of poor performances, India retained him for next month's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh, as reported by the Associated Press and via Yahoo! Eurosport.
Whether Yuvraj can replicate his form of 2007—which saw the all-rounder hammer England's Stuart Broad into submission with six sixes from one over—remains to be seen.
His 2013 IPL stats were the least profitable of his career from a batting perspective, as the player managed 238 runs from 13 fixtures, an average of 19.83, per IPLT20.com.
Despite also missing out on the ODI squad, Yuvraj drew big-money bids at the recent auction.
Pietersen, fresh from being dropped by the Three Lions, was bought for a decent price after becoming available for the entire tournament. As reported by BBC Sport, the South African-born star cost Delhi Daredevils £880,000—not a patch on the £1.37 million Yuvraj accumulated.
Pietersen returns to Delhi after receiving the boot from England and will be pleased to regain some stability to his cricketing life. The 33-year-old has perhaps left the international setup before his time, but was thrilled to be working with his old team again:
Hotly tipped to cost around £1.21 million, Pieterson didn't quite command the kind of price many had expected, as reported by Jack Pitt-Brooke of The Independent. However, his sale is a positive step after a difficult couple of weeks.
Even so, Delhi have once again captured proven quality. During his last season in India, Pietersen finished with 305 runs from eight matches, averaging an impressive 61.00 according to IPLT20.com.
It would be typical of Pietersen to post a spectacular season in Delhi, thus making those England selectors wish they'd have given him another chance in the nation's setup.
Perhaps ironically, Pietersen's sale was somewhat a rarity for English players on the day, as noted by ESPNcricinfo:
Mitchell Johnson, the man who inflicted so much pain on England during the recent Ashes tour of Australia, cost $1.16 million compared to Pietersen's $1.6 million. Johnson joins the Kings XI Punjab, while David Warner became a Sunrisers player after a $978,000 bid, as reported by Chloe Saltau of the Sydney Morning Herald.
As reported by the IPL's official website, Johson's fee was the fourth highest of the day, behind Pietersen, Karthik and most expensive buy Yuvraj.
Both Yusuf and Irfan Pathan failed to live up to the huge sums they posted in 2011. Knight Riders paid $2.1 million for Yusuf two years ago, but he cost just $541,000 after a disappointing run of form and consistent injuries, per ESPNcricinfo.
Irfan once set Daredevils back $1.9 million, but he was also available for a cut-price of $400,000, as paid by Sunrisers.
He and his brother averaged 17.75 and 30.18 respectively last season, while their bowling figures weren't much better. Irfan performed below expectations with 10 wickets, while Yusuf's limited overs saw him grab just one at the cost of 73 runs.
Jacques Kallis was retained by Knight Riders after a flurry of late bids, providing the South African a seventh straight season in the Indian competition.
A measly total of 70 players were bought for a total of around $35 million during the first day, as recorded by ESPNcricinfo. There is still plenty of talent up for grabs across the remaining auction time, but this year's showing appears more reserved than previous iterations.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report for full updates as money continues to get thrown about.
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