Oram not distracted by IPL auction

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Napier, Feb 21 (UNI) Despite being forced to a tie from a winning position by England, New Zealand all-rounder Jacob Oram denied that the Kiwis were distracted by the Indian Primier League (IPL) players' auction.

''When I was facing balls or running in to bowl (all I was thinking) was about what I had to do then,'' Oram said. ''There was nothing like that (thinking about the auction).'' The 29-year-old, who was secured by the Chennai franchise of the IPL for 675,000 dollars, was amazed at the amount of money splurged during the auction.

''The auction last night was a weird feeling,'' Oram admitted.

''I've never been in a situation where that sort of money has been thrown around or talked about and to be right in the mix of it is kind of surreal, and pleasant.'' ''When I first heard (the bid) I didn't want to believe it until I saw it in black and white on the Internet. It took my breath away to be honest. I was pretty speechless for a while,'' he added. ''It changes your life, it's security for the future. It's a massive shift in my whole life.'' But he insisted his IPL commitments, which at present clash with the start of New Zealand's tour to England scheduled to start in late April, will not prevent him preparing properly for the start of the Test series at Lord's on May 15.

''It's pro-rata and we'd have to be there for the whole 44 days of the competition (to get paid the full amount) and obviously that's impossible,'' he stated. ''I'll need warm-ups in England, preparation the same as I would have for other tours. Test matches are every cricketer's number one goal.'' ''It's still being worked through with New Zealand Cricket when we're going to join but playing for New Zealand and the English tour is priority number one.'' Oram was one of four New Zealand players auctioned yesterday in Mumbai, the others being captain Daniel Vettori, all-rounder Scott Styris wicketkeeper-batsman Brendon McCullum.

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