DHAKA: Former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi was the hottest property in an auction held for the inaugural Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) Twenty20 tournament on Thursday, but English spinner Monty Panesar and former South African batsman Herschelle Gibbs failed to attract bids.
Afridi was sold to the Dhaka franchise for $700,000 after some intense bidding involving five of the six franchises for the Feb. 10-28 tournament, which is based on the successful Indian Premier League model.
The all-rounder, however, will only be available for the final two days of the opening BPL campaign as he is on national team duty against England in the United Arab Emirates.
Tournament organisers said the money would be given to the players proportionately for the matches they are available.
Quick-scoring West Indian batsman Chris Gayle, who is available from Feb. 14, was another to attract attention with Barisal paying $551,000 for him.
His compatriots Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard also created a stir as they were sold for $360,000 and $300,000 to Rajshahi and Dhaka franchises respectively.
A total of 111 overseas players and 80 local cricketers were put on auction with teams given a maximum budget of $2million and able to buy no more than eight overseas players.
Pakistan's Shoaib Malik (Chittagong $150,000) West Indies' Dwayne Bravo (Chittagong $150,000), Australia's Brad Hodge (Barisal $140,000), Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya (Rajshahi $110,000) and Muttiah Muralitharan (Chittagong $100,000) were among others to go for big money.
No Indian players were included in the auction.
Along with Panesar and Gibbs, New Zealand's Scott Styris and Lou Vincent failed to attract a buyer.
Ireland's wicketkeeper-batsman Niall O'Brien was the most expensive player from the associate nations with Khulna paying $80,000 for the batsman.
Bangladesh internationals Shakib Al Hasan, Tamim Iqbal, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mohammad Ashraful, Shahriar Nafees and Alok Kapali had been selected as icon players for six franchises and were excluded from auction.
All-rounder Nasir Hossain was the most-sought-after Bangladeshi in the auction with Khulna sealing his signature for $200,000.
India-based Game On Sports Management will run the tournament after winning the bid from the Bangladesh Cricket Board for six years for $44.33 million.