Chennai gets Dhoni, Jaipur Warne and Kolkata Shoaib

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Mumbai, Feb 20 (UNI) The path breaking player's auction for the million dollar high profile Indian Premier League which got underway today saw the Indian one-day captain being the top garner so far with the Chennai franchisee snapping him up for a sum of 1.5 million dollars that turns out to be approximately Rs six crore.

Other bid was for retired Australian spin wizard Shane Warne, who was picked by the Emerging Media franchisee for the Jaipur Team for 4,50,000 dollars.

The auction, which started at 1130 hrs, also saw bidding for the mercurial Pakistani pacer Shoaib Akhtar, who was picked up for a sum of 4,25,000 dollars. He will play for superstar Shah Rukh Khan's team Kolkata.

Recently retired Australian wicket keeper Adam Gilchrist will be playing for Deccan Chronicles Hyderabad, who brought him in the auction for 700,000 dollars.

The highest wicket taker in Test cricket, Muttiah Muralitharan was out bided by Chennai, who paid a sum for 6,00,000 dollars for the off spinner, while Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene was picked up by Priety Zinta's consotorium for the Mohali team for 4,75,000 million dollars after the first round of bidding was over, IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi told newspersons.

Earlier, the players' auction got underway here in the presence of its franchise owners and former Indian captains Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly.

The auction conducted by London auctioneer Richard Madley at the Hilton Hotel here was scheduled for 1100 hrs, but was delayed by around 30 minutes due to late arrival of some franchisee owners.

Owner of the Kolkata franchise, Shah Rukh Khan and Mumbai franchise owner and billionaire industralist, Mukesh Ambani did not turn up leaving the bid in the hands of their representatives.

It is the first time in the history of any sport that such a high-profile auction is being conducted. Each franchise was provided with a table with a computer screen, where they bid for the player displayed on the big screen. The franchisee who bids the highest will be accepted by the auctioneer as the buyer at that price.

Each franchise has a total ''purse'' of five million dollars (around Rs 20 crore) that can be spent on purchase of the players for 2008. The franchises will not be able to make a bid for a player that will take them beyond this total purse.

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