|Player:||JM Anderson, SJ Harmison, KP Pietersen, A Flintoff, PD Collingwood, SCJ Broad, IR Bell, MS Panesar|
DateLine: 29th January 2009
Former England captain Kevin Pietersen has been assured a minimum price of $1.35 million at the second IPL auction, on February 6. This means that, at the very least, he will be the joint second-highest paid player in the IPL, along with Andrew Symonds. If the bidding hots up - which is a very strong possibility - Pietersen could outstrip M S Dhoni's fee of $1.5 million and become the highest paid IPL star. Apparently, Vijay Mallya's Royal Challengers Bangalore are very keen on acquiring Pietersen. The team, which finished seventh last year, lacks an explosive batsman. With his switch hitting and tactical inputs, Pietersen could play a major role for them.
Pietersen won't be the only one pulling in megabucks. Teammate Andrew Flintoff, one of the top all-rounders in the world, has a base price of $950,000. With squads like Mumbai Indians and Team Chennai eying Freddie, he too could join the million-dollar club. Australia's vice-captain Michael Clarke too is set to join that exclusive band. Earlier, IPL had short listed 88 cricketers for the second auction, but 21 names have since been added to the list. Former England captain Paul Collingwood and Steve Harmison have base prices of $250,000 while James Anderson and Ian Bell have reserve prices of $200,000. England's spinner of Indian origin, Monty Panesar, has a base price of $100,000.
Meanwhile England pacer Stuart Broad has refused to join the growing list of England cricketers seeking lucrative Indian Premier League deals as he wants to focus his energies on international assignments like the Ashes.
"It's a good opportunity for players but it's a good opportunity for us. We've got a very important summer ahead of us with the Twenty20 and the Ashes and this is a decision Stuart has made and we must respect that," England team's managing director Hugh Morris said while revealing Broad's decision to opt out. "The players who are going there are going to play with and against some of the best players in the world. Players will prepare in different ways for this summer. Stuart has chosen one way and others have chosen another way," he was quoted as saying by 'The Guardian'.
"It's very much down to the players. It's their choice. The IPL is a fantastic opportunity for players. With the Twenty20 world championship happening in England at the beginning of the summer, it's nice to have the opportunity for some our players to play Twenty20 cricket," Morris said.
Broad becomes the sixth player after Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss, Matt Prior, Tim Ambrose and Michael Vaughan to turn his back on IPL. "Fair play to him for having the courage to stand up when everyone else is heading in the other direction," said Mick Newell, Broad's head coach at Nottinghamshire.
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