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'Indian players deserve high prices'
Harish Kotian in Mumbai | February 21, 2008 11:38 IST
Indian Premier League chairman Lalit Modi on Wednesday said the young Indian players deserve the exhorbitant prices that they received in the players' auction in Mumbai.
"The Indian team are the Twenty20 World champions so I had no doubt they would touch the high price," Modi said on Wednesday.
"And you are playing in India for an Indian franchise so there is no reason why the Indian players should not be getting the highest, they deserve it and I am very happy to say they have got it."
India's ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni [Images] received the highest bid with the Chennai team paying him US $ 1.5 million for his services, which is around Rs. 6 crore.
India's newest pace sensation Ishant Sharma, who was purchased by Shahrukh Khan's [Images] Kolkata outfit for US $ 9,50,000 was the second highest for India. Sharma was closely followed by all-rounder Irfan Pathan [Images] with a package of US $ 9,25,000 from Preity Zinta's [Images] Mohali team
The other Indian players from the Twenty20-winning World Cup squad to hit the jackpot were: RP Singh to Hyderabad for US $ 8,75,000, Harbhajan Singh [Images] to Mumbai for US $ 8,50,000, Robin Uthappa to Mumbai for US $ 8,00,00, Rohit Sharma to Hyderabad for US $7,50,000, Gautam Gambhir [Images] to Delhi for US $ 7,25,000, S Sreesanth [Images] to Mohali for US $ 6,25,000.
Bangalore franchise owner and billionaire tycoon Vijay Mallya [Images] said the structure of the IPL was such that all the teams were desperate to have as many Indian players as possible in their squad.
"One of the reasons that the Indian players went for such a huge price is because of the structure of the IPL," the liquor baron said.
"You could have only four foreign player playing on the field at one time, so obviously every franchise has to have a large number of Indian players, who were in short supply because even if you take the entire Indian squad and add others among the eight franchises obviously each one of them was very, very valuable.
"It gives the Indian players the opportunity to earn some money and get rewarded for performance which is a great thing," Mallya explained.
Kolkata franchise owner and Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan stressed that money is not the sole reason behind his investment in the Indian Premier League.
"We are not here just to throw money and make money, there is a huge amount of passion involved.
"Every sport is important and culture of sport has to be brought into this country as a professional option," Shah Rukh [Images] said, adding that he hoped with the advent of IPL more and more youngsters would chose sports as their career.
Mallya hoped that the IPL was modelled on the lines of the English Premier League and America's National Football League and would only help in improving the domestic structure of the sport.
"As far as expectation from the IPL is concerned we all know about the English Premier League and the National Football League in the USA.
"Such domestic high-profile tournaments are not uncommon in the world today and I guess it was only a matter of time that India in consistent with our own prosperity and forward movement would one step ahead of the traditional Duleep Trophy and the Ranji Trophy and have a strong vibrant professional league allowing players to truly participate in the growing prosperity of the sport," he said.
Preity Zinta, part-owner of the Mohali team, also echoed their words and said she was delighted with her choice of players.
"It will enhance the standard of competition at the domestic level. We are happy that we are taking part in the event. I am satisfied with the team," she said.