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Cricket | IPL

Morris makes waves at IPL auction



We’re less than two months away from the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League, and Sunday’s auction in Chennai was yet another display of defiance in the face of the global economic recession.

37 players were purchased at an astonishing cost of $11.89 million – significantly higher than the 25 that were bought at last year’s event.

What made the 12-man increase all the more surprising was that this is the final year of the IPL’s three-year cycle of player deals, and those who were bought will only be awarded one-year contracts.

Only a select few will be retained next year, and the rest are expected to return to the auction pool as each team looks to assemble a new squad.

Australian allrounder Glenn Maxwell topped the charts at the auction, as it took a whopping $1 million bid from the Mumbai Indians to secure his services.

Sri Lankan mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis was the second-highest earner on the day, as the Pune Warriors picked him up for a cool $725 000.

But arguably the biggest surprise package of all was the purchase of South African allrounder Chris Morris. The lanky 25 year-old has played just one T20 International for his country, and yet he will be joining the Chennai Super Kings for a jaw-dropping $625 000 (approximately R5.5 million) – a bid in excess of 31 times his $20 000 (R177 000) base price.

Morris, the highest-earning South African on the day, had gone online with a few of his Lions teammates at lunch on the final day of their Sunfoil Series match against the Knights to see if he would be picked up.

The Mumbai Indians, Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Super Kings all placed a bid in the opening exchanges. The bid quickly reached $100 000, and Morris watched in disbelief as Mumbai and Chennai exchanged punches over his services – doubling the bid on more than one occasion.

The hammer eventually came down after Chennai put an offer of $625 000 on the table, and the talented Morris had become a millionaire in a matter of minutes.

“I have never in my life seen this much money,” Morris admitted. “I suppose one of the things I would like to do is give my parents anything they should like and spoil them a little bit.”

Having received a call from Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming after their encounter with the Knights ended in a draw, Morris was able to reflect on the bus home from Kimberley how far he had come in such a short space of time.

“Just 18 months ago all I had was a rookie contract with the Lions. Now I’ve represented my country and am playing in the IPL. It’s just unbelievable how quickly things have happened, and I’m truly honoured and flattered,” he said.

Morris was not the only successful South African debutant in the pool, as Lions teammate Quinton de Kock was bought by the Sunrisers Hyderabad for his base price of $20 000.

The other two South Africans to make the cut were Ryan McLaren and Johan Botha. Proteas allrounder McLaren went to the Kolkata Knight Riders for his base price of $50 000, while Botha fetched $450 000 in a winning bid from the Delhi Daredevils.

Eight South Africans went unsold at the showpiece, of which the most high-profile were Proteas pacemen Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt. Herschelle Gibbs had no takers at his base price of $200,000, while Aaron Phangiso, Dane Vilas, Paul Harris, Rilee Rossouw and Henry Davids also missed out.

SOUTH AFRICANS RETAINED BY THEIR FRANCHISE:

Chennai Super Kings
Faf du Plessis, Albie Morkel

Delhi Daredevils
Gulam Bodi, Morne Morkel, Roelof van der Merwe

Kings XI Punjab
Kyle Abbott, David Miller

Kolkata Knight Riders
Marchant de Lange, Jacques Kallis

Mumbai Indians
Richard Levi, Robin Peterson

Pune Warriors
Wayne Parnell, Graeme Smith, Alfonso Thomas

Royal Challengers Bangalore
AB de Villiers, Charl Langeveldt

Sunrisers Hyderabad (formerly Deccan Chargers)
JP Duminy, Dale Steyn, Rusty Theron

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