Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi [ Images ] was the hottest property in an auction held for the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 [ Images ] tournament on Thursday, but English spinner Monty Panesar [ Images ] failed to attract a bid.
Afridi was sold to the Dhaka franchise for $700,000 after some intense bidding involving five of the six franchises for the February 10-28 tournament, which is based on the successful Indian Premier League [ Images ] model.
Tournament organisers said the money would be given to the players proportionately for the matches they are available.
Quick-scoring West Indian batsman Chris Gayle [ Images ], who is available from February 14, was another to attract attention with Barisal paying $551,000 for him.
His compatriots Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard also created a stir as they were sold for $360,000 and $300,000 to Rajshahi and Dhaka franchises respectively.
A total of 111 overseas players and 80 local cricketers were put on auction with teams given a maximum budget of $2million and able to buy no more than eight overseas players.
Pakistan's Shoaib Malik [ Images ] (Chittagong $150,000) West Indies' [ Images ] Dwayne Bravo [ Images ] (Chittagong $150,000), Australia's [ Images ] Brad Hodge [ Images ] (Barisal $140,000), Sri Lanka's [ Images ] Sanath Jayasuriya [ Images ] (Khulna) $110,000) and Muttiah Muralitharan [ Images ] (Chittagong $100,000), Pakistan's Kamran Akmal (Sylhet $100,000), Rana Naved-ul Hasan (Dhaka $100,000), Sohail Tanvir [ Images ] (Sylhet $100,000), Saeed Ajmal [ Images ] (Dhaka $100,000) were among others to go for big money.
No Indian players were included in the auction.
Ireland's wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O'Brien was the most expensive player from the associate nations with Khulna paying $80,000.
Bangladesh internationals Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Ashraful [ Images ], Shahriar Nafees and Alok Kapali had been selected as icon players for six franchises and were excluded from auction.
All-rounder Nasir Hossain was the most-sought-after Bangladeshi in the auction with Khulna sealing his signature for $200,000. Chittagong bought national vice-captain Mahmudullah for $110,000.
India-based Game On Sports Management will run the tournament after winning the bid from the Bangladesh Cricket Board for six years for $44.33 million.