A whopping Rs 9.66 crore bid for Robin Uthappa was one of the surprises of Saturday's Indian Premier League players' auction but his buyer Pune Sahara Warriors justified the spending saying the stumper-batsman is worth the huge amount.
"Uthappa is a great Twenty20 player and he can also keep wickets. We also thought of his utility as a batsman and that is why we bid that money on him," Pune team CEO Sushanto Roy said.
Uthappa, who played for Royal Challengers Bangalore last season, came for $2.1 million (Rs 9.66 crore) in Saturday's auction.
In fact, Uthappa came at a higher price for Pune than even the swashbuckling but out-of-form Yuvraj Singh (Rs 8.16 crore) and South African captain Graeme Smith (Rs 2.30 crore).
Meanwhile, IPL chairman Chirayu Amin refused to comment on the court battles that the BCCI is currently fighting with Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab.
Both the franchises were ousted from the IPL for alleged violation of ownership norms but came back after getting stay orders against the BCCI in court.
"We are not discussing any court cases today. The game will go on and cricket will be delivered to the fans," Amin said.
Rajasthan, which has just $3.9 million to spend due to the pending court case with the BCCI, was expectedly unhappy with the way things have shaped up for them.
"It's like going to an auction with your hands tied behind your back. It is really frustrating," said Rajasthan co-owner Shilpa Shetty.
"Royals have gone through a lot of upheaval and the price has come down due to legal constraints," she added.
Other major surprise of the auction was Sourav Ganguly going unsold in the first round.
The former India captain was the icon player for the Kolkata Knight Riders but did not fetch any bid from the team.
"I always said auction dynamics are going to dictate. We came with an open mind," said KKR CEO Venky Mysore when asked about snub Ganguly got.
Asked if KKR would bid for him later, Mysore said, "It will depend on the circumstances."
Quizzed on the surprising snub to Ganguly, Amin said it was upto the franchises to take a call on the players.
"It's the reality of the game. It's a competitive format and it's the choice of the team owners. We cannot dictate whom to take or not to take. You feel bad about this sort of a situation but this is the reality of life," he said.
On whether the spending cap of $9million was too low, Amin said, "It's a reality we have discussed and deliberated quite widely, the amount of money available to franchises."