Indian youngsters prove a hit with IPL franchise owners

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Mumbai, Feb 20 (UNI) The next generation Indian players were the much sought after lot in the landmark auction for the Indian Premier League with ODI skipper M S Dhoni being the shining example fetching a whopping 1.5 million dollars as Chennai bagged its prized catch here today.

Other youngsters including Rohit Sharma, Robin Uthappa and Ishant Sharma were the much sought after players, outsmarting more established stars from abroad by the eight franchise owners.

Rohit Sharma was roped in by the Hyderabad team for US 750,000 dollars, Uthappa was sold to Mumbai for US 800,000 dollars while the gangling Ishant, the most improved pacer in the country, went under the hammer for a whopping US 950,000 dollars, the fourth-costliest purchase during the day.

Considering that Ishant's base price was only a modest US 150,000 dollars, the amount paid for him by the Sourav Ganguly-led Kolkata team was a clear indication of the meteoric rise of the 19-year-old Delhi-born fast bowler, who often touched the 150-km mark during the ongoing tour Down Under.

Surprisingly Ricky Ponting, one of the top Test and ODI players in the world, was available for only US 400,000 dollars the Kolkata team being the beneficiary, while Stephen Fleming was roped in by Chennai for US 350,000 dollars.

IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi expressed his surprise that the Indian players could get such a good price.

''I'm surprised, but at the same time I can say it's good for the Indian players,'' he said.

While Ponting and Fleming were successfully bid for, other top players including Australian bowling legend Glenn McGrath as well as his one-time team-mates Justin Langer and Simon Katich were unsold at the first instance when they went under the auctioner's hammer.

Similar was the case with West Indian batsmen Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnaraine Chanderpaul.

UNI GS VK RAR BST2203

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