Shakib now a Knight Rider
In a matter of three minutes yesterday afternoon, the rampant Kolkata Knight Riders swooped on Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan in the auction of the India Premier League held in Bangalore.
There were high expectations last year with the young all-rounder but frustratingly Shakib remained unsold, but this time the Shahrukh Khan-owned franchise bought him for a bargain price of $425,000 on the first day of the money-spinning auction.
Shakib, whose base price was $200,000, will line up with the likes of the highest paid Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Manoj Tiwary, Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan and Brad Haddin.
Considering Shakib's recent international performance (he is still the No 1 all-rounder for the successive second year), the Kolkata franchise made a low cost buy to rope in a real asset for their team. Pune made the first bid to get the ball rolling for Shakib and there was a tussle between them and the Kolkata bidders, the latter finally winning the battle.
Shakib was delighted with the ultimate outcome and he was hardly bothered with the amount of money, rather he wanted to play in the popular competition. He was also not ready to compare him with the other players who got much more than him.
“My job is to play cricket as much as possible. I'm happy with the ultimate bidding that is double my floor price. As far as I know, the Indian players' demand was high,” said Shakib in an instant reaction during a break in the shooting for a commercial at the Botanical Garden in Mirpur.
“I am really delighted because last time I had high hopes but could not make it,” he added.
Shakib's inclusion was however the only good news for Bangladesh as dashing opener Tamim Iqbal, who broke the good news to Shakib over phone, remained unsold. For the thousands who watched the daylong auction, it was quite a shock as the new Tigers vice-captain was a bargain at $100,000 base price.
“Tamim (Iqbal) called me first. I was a little nervous when I didn't receive any calls for a certain period, though I knew that this time it will happen as Dav (Whatmore) told me during his recent visit to Bangladesh that he will bid for me,” revealed Shakib.
He was particularly happy that he can play for the Kolkata outfit. “It's really good for me that Knight Riders bought me. Not only Dav, but also the fact is that I will get a lot of Bengali-speaking people around me,” he said.
With the latest success the young Bangladesh skipper, who was the only Bangladeshi player to play County cricket and was a successful performer for Worcestershire, put another feather on his cap to get 2011 off to a bright start.
Mashrafe Bin Mortaza was Bangladesh's hot pick in the 2009 auction as Knight Riders bought the country's leading paceman for $650,000.