Chennai: The Indian Premier League (IPL) auction again sprang surprises. Australia all-rounder Glen Maxwell became a millionaire and lesser known names attracted hefty pay packets from the franchises while marquee players Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting failed to get beyond their base price.
Maxwell was the only one to hit the $1 million-mark on a day when the nine teams bought 37 players out of 108 available, spending a total of $11.89 million.
Abhishek Nayar fetched the highest price among the seven Indians on offer, with Pune Warriors spending $675,000 for the all-rounder.
The buying trend put Australians at top while the Sri Lankans were not far behind.
Pune Warriors bought mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis for $725,000 after a three-way battle with Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders. Mendis had a base price of $50,000. However, in-form spinner Rangana Herath and wicket-keeper Dinesh Chandimal found no takers.
Fast bowler Thisara Perera was taken by Sunrisers Hyderabad for $675,000 while Kolkata Knight Riders paid $625,000 for all-rounder Sachitra Senanayke, who has played a couple of T20 Internationals. They both had a base price of $50,000.
South African speedster Chris Morris, who has played only one T20I, went for more than 30 times his entry price with Chennai Super Kings doling out $625,000.
Sale of Australia's Kane Richardson and Nathan Coulter-Nile also raised eyebrows, both going to Pune Warriors and Mumbai Indians, respectively, for $700,000 and $450,000.
Contrary to expectations, Australia captain Michael Clarke and the legendary batsman Ricky Ponting were sold at their base price of $400,000 to the Pune Warriors and Mumbai Indians, respectively.
The likes of Matthew Wade, Herschelle Gibbs, Vernon Philander and Matt Prior went unsold.
The day surely belonged to Maxwell. It was ironical that he was out for a duck in a One-day International against the West Indies back home Sunday. The 24-year-old Victorian represented the Delhi Daredevils in the last edition of IPL.
"Maxwell is a good kid, an exceptional talent and it will be exciting to see him play. It will be nice to have him in the team," said Anil Kumble, mentor of Mumbai Indians.
The Indians, were expectedly, in high demand.
Nayar, who had a stellar domestic season for Mumbai, went to Pune Warriors after six franchises showed interest in buying the all-rounder.
Fast bowlers Manpreet Gony and Jaydev Unadkat also got a good deal. IPL debutants Sunrisers Hyderabad paid $500,000 for Gony while Unadkat went to the Royal Challengers Bangalore fetching $525,000.
Speedster Pankaj Singh also went to Royal Challengers for $150,000 while Sudeep Tyagi was picked up by Sunrisers for $100,000.
Out of the Marquee players, Ponting, who played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the inaugural season, was the first player to go under the hammer.
None of the teams showed interest in him and he was put in the unsold category by auctioneer Richard Madley. But Mumbai Indians made a late bid for the former Australian captain and Madley allowed the bid as none showed interest in the 38-year-old.
The next player up for sale was pacer Rudra Pratap Singh, who was sold to Royal Challengers $400,000, four times his base price.
The third marquee player was South African all-rounder Johan Botha, who went to Rajasthan last year for $950,000, was bought by Delhi Daredevils for $450,000 after an aggressive bidding-match with Pune.
Clarke, the last player in the marquee section, was sold to his old team Pune Warriors for $400,000. The Warriors were the first to bid for the Australia captain and with no no other bids they bought him back for much less that what they had spent last season.
Overall, Royal Challengers bought seven players, Sunrisers six, Chennai Super Kings five and Mumbai Indians five each, Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils three each while Kings XI Punjab and Knight Riders two each.