Bangalore: Five players – Yuvraj Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Kevin Pietersen, Glen Maxwell and Mitchell Johnson – bagged million-dollar contracts even as the eight franchise teams pointedly ignored Sri Lankan and English cricketers on the opening day of the Indian Premier League (IPL) players’ auction here Wednesday.

Among the leading stars who remained unsold on the opening day were Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene and South Africans Vernon Philander and Wayne Parnell. The auction will resume Thursday when the uncapped and unsold players will be available for bids.

Royal Challengers Bangalore picked up Yuvraj at Rs.14 crore (approximately $2.3 million), while Delhi Daredevils made a successful bid for Karthik at Rs.12.5 crore ($2.08 million). Yuvraj, who is out of both the ODI and Test teams, became the highest paid player in the league.

Royal Challengers appeared a bit miffed that they paid out an additional Rs.4 crore to Yuvraj after they bid Rs.10 crore only to see the auctioneer Richard Madley reopen the bid to allow Kolkata Knight Riders into the ring. The bid eventually ended at Rs.14 crore in favour of RCB after KKR pulled out at Rs.13.5 crore.

Pietersen, unceremoniously dropped from the England squad earlier this month following the disastrous Ashes tour of Australia, went back to Delhi Daredevils who used the Right To Match (RTM) to keep the hard-hitting batsman for Rs.9 crore ($1.5 million).

Kings XI Punjab successfully bid for fast bowler Mitchell Johnson for Rs.6.5 crore ($1.08 million) and fellow allrounder Glenn Maxwell for Rs.6 crore ($1 million).

Also winning a lucrative contract was 23-year old Kiwi Corey Anderson who recently set a ODI world record of a 36-ball century as Mumbai Indians bagged him for Rs.4.5 crore($750,000) and also former Aussie batsman Mike Hussey for Rs.5 crore ($833,000).

With the Sri Lankans scheduled to tour England this summer, the franchises were obviously averse to bidding for players from these two countries.

Among the big losers were the Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf, and Saurabh Tiwary all of whom commanded far less price.

Yusuf, bought by Knight Riders in 2011 for $2.1 million, had to settle for Rs.3.25 crore ($540,000) with the same team.

Irfan, whom the now-defunct Pune Warriors had bought for $1.9 million in 2011, will now play for Sunrisers Hyderabad who won him for Rs.2.4 crore ($400,000).

Tiwary was bought for $1.6 million by Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2011, but this time around, he managed only a contract Rs.70 lakh ($116,000).

Much of the action was during the pre-lunch session when there was a frenzy of buying, but the latter half of the day saw the franchises on the quieter side with an eye to their fast depleting salary caps while saving some funds for the morrow.

Source: IANS