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Knight Riders spend big

Gambhir and Pathan both sign on for huge fees

Last Updated: 08/01/11 11:24am

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Pathan (L) and Gambhir will play for the Kolkata Knight Riders

Pathan (L) and Gambhir will play for the Kolkata Knight Riders

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The Kolkota Knight Riders made the biggest splash on the opening day of the Indian Premier League auction in Bangalore as they signed Gautam Gambhir and Yusuf Pathan.

The Knight Riders quickly made their intentions known as they smashed the biggest price ever paid for an IPL player as they shelled out $2.4 million on India opener Gambhir.

They broke the two-million-dollar mark again to secure the services of Indian Twenty20 specialist Pathan (2.1million) and then added veteran South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis (1.1million).

The highest sum ever previously paid out on a player had been the $1.5million that both Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff fetched in the 2009 auction, but Pietersen went for a far more modest price this time around.

England star Pietersen will be forced to take a pay cut as he was snapped up for 650,000 dollars by the Deccan Chargers.

Behind Kolkata, new franchise Pune were the biggest spenders as they shelled out 4.4million dollars to capture hard-hitting India duo Robin Uthappa (2.1million dollars) and Yuvraj Singh (1.8million), as well as Proteas skipper Graeme Smith for a relative cut-price fee of 500,000 dollars.

Rohit Sharma was the only other player to command a fee of two million dollars as he joined the Mumbai Indians, who also signed former Australia all-rounder Andrew Symonds (850,000 dollars).

Gayle unsold

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was the fact that big-hitting West Indies skipper Chris Gayle went unsold after the opening round of bids.

Gayle, regarded as one of the most devastating Twenty20 batsmen in the world, was overlooked at his reserve price of 400,000 dollars, while former Knight Riders skipper Sourav Ganguly also failed to attract a bid.

England wicketkeeper Matt Prior was also surprisingly overlooked, with the Ashes-winner going unsold at his base price of $200,000. While not a first choice in England's Twenty20 team, the 28-year-old's hard-hitting and clean glovework had been expected to earn some interest in his services.

Pietersen's former franchise the Bangalore Royal Challengers appear to have spent their money wisely as they made cut-price deals to secure Sri Lanka's explosive opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (650,000 dollars) and New Zealand skipper Daniel Vettori (550,000 dollars).

They also picked up AB De Villiers (1.1million dollars) and Zaheer Khan (900,000) to leave them with a further four million dollars still to spend in their 7.2million limit.

New franchise Kochi were the busiest team as they signed five players - Mahela Jayawardene (1.1million dollars), Sreesanth (900,000), RP Singh (500,000), Brendon McCullum (450,000) and VVS Laxman (400,000).

The Chennai Super Kings were the only team yet to make a successful bid heading into the second round of the auction.

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