At around 5pm, Ishan Kishan posted a ‘velfie’ from a balcony from a room at the Team India hotel in Ahmedabad after he was picked by Mumbai Indians for a whopping Rs 15.25 crores. “Thank you owners and management for having faith in me,” he says in the clip. Kishan was with the main man from the management during the auction; he was in Rohit Sharma’s room, along with Suryakumar Yadav, who had already been retained by MI. Also in the room were other members of the India T20 squad – Shreyas Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shardul Thakur, and Rishabh Pant.
— Ishan Kishan (@ishankishan51) February 12, 2022
Sharma had shared a picture on Instagram of the players sitting around in a large sofa, glued to the proceedings. Titled ‘Some tensed and some happy faces’, with a trail of two emojis – one tensed, and the other a happy smiley. It pithily caught the emotional day for the players.
The group caught the live telecast of two big paycheques – Kishan and Shreyas Iyer, who was first to go past Rs 10 crores when Rajasthan Royals got him for Rs 12.5 crores. Pant’s team Delhi Capitals was one of the bidders for Iyer but they wouldn’t eventually get him. Inside, Sharma’s room, hugs and high-fives were exchanged for the two big crorepatis before the fall of the auctioneer Hugh Edmeades led to a break and change of plans for the players.
They had a flight to catch in Kolkata where India, who won the ODI leg of the series 3-0, will take on West Indies in three T20 games. The players wondered whether the auction would be postponed. Text messages and calls were made to friends to check if they had any updates before it became clear that the auction would resume after a break.
The party in Sharma’s room split up and they got ready to leave for the airport. Inside the team bus there was happiness in abundance as many had hit jackpots at the auction. Those whose turn was about to come at the auction were glued to their phones; Hotstar was on.
Interestingly, players worry the possibility of their names appearing just after someone else has picked up a hefty price tag. The concern is their perception about past trends where the next player doesn’t get sold for as much.
“There is a general trend that the next player in the queue doesn’t get a good price if someone ahead of him has been sold at a higher price. There was certainly a fear that what if the franchise ran out of the money much early. Look at the way spinners got good money, some were very good,” a player told this newspaper.
At the airport lounge, the team was informed that their flight was delayed due to a technical issue. Eyeballs returned to the smartphones, some still awaiting their names to be called out by the new auctioneer Charu Sharma. For many Ahmedabad to Kolkata flight must have been certainly long.