Watson hits IPL jackpot, Amla unsold

Hashim Amla (Gallo Images)
Hashim Amla (Gallo Images)

Bangalore - Australia all-rounder Shane Watson was the costliest buy at the Indian Premier League auctions on Saturday after he was picked up for $1.4 million by Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Watson went for five times his base price and will join the likes of Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle who have been retained by Bangalore.

Watson, who struck an unbeaten 124 against India in a recent T20 game, was bid for aggressively in the opening session, which saw Sunrisers Hyderabad buy all-rounder Yuvraj Singh for just over $1 million and Rising Pune Supergiants take England's Kevin Pietersen for $515 000.

Watson earlier played for Rajasthan Royals, which is suspended for two years along with Chennai Super Kings over contact by officials with illegal bookmakers during the 2013 season.

In a big surprise, uncapped all-rounder Pawan Negi emerged as the second most expensive player at the auction at $1.25 million.

The slow left-arm bowler and handy batsman, who is in India's squad for a home T20 series against Sri Lanka next week as well as the Asia Cup and ICC World Twenty20, was bought by Delhi Daredevils.

South African all-rounder Chris Morris also went for a high price of just over $1 million to Delhi, which already has his compatriots Jean-Paul Duminy and Quinton de Kock.

Hyderabad bought pace bowler Ashish Nehra for $810 000 to add to batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan, Australian David Warner and New Zealand's Kane Williamson, and now also Singh.

Dale Steyn of South Africa and West Indian Dwayne Smith were both bought by Gujarat Lions for identical sums of $339 000 while pace bowler Ishant Sharma was taken by Pune for $560 000.

New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill, who has never played in the IPL, was surprisingly not picked by any team despite his superb recent form in limited overs games against Australia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Hashim Amla of South Africa, George Bailey of Australia and Sri Lankan veterans Mahela Jayawardene and Tillekaratne Dilshan were the others not bid for.

A total of 351 players featured in Saturday's auction and the players bought will join those either retained by franchises or players from Chennai and Rajasthan who were picked by new teams Pune and Gujarat in a draft in December.

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