No Pakistani among the million-dollar men

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It seems that even a close friendship with Bollywood icon Shah Rukh Khan wasn’t good enough to help Pakistan’s pace star Shoaib Akhtar become one of IPL’s million-dollar men.

Shoaib was not the only Pakistani star snubbed by auctioneers in Mumbai. Former Pakistan captain Younis Khan, regarded among the world’s most prolific batsmen, failed to impress the franchisees. None of them opted to bid for him and finally it was Jaipur, which picked him for a base price of US$225,000.

Mohammad Yousuf, who broke the record of the highest number of Test runs in a calendar year in 2006, was snatched away by the IPL from rival Indian Cricket League (ICL) last year. But the star Pakistani batsman was disposed of in the reserve pool after none of the bidders went for him at the high-profile auction.

Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik got half-a-million dollars from Delhi in spite of what he terms as an ‘internet’ controversy against him run by the Indian media which alleges he secretly married an Indian girl and is now refusing to own it.

But the biggest Pakistani beneficiary of the IPL is injury-prone medium pacer Mohammad Asif. Though he hasn’t played any cricket in recent months because of an elbow injury and is still recovering from a surgery, Asif was deemed good enough by Delhi for a US$650,000 price tag.

Pakistan’s experienced wicketkeeper-batsman Kamran Akmal, however, was unable to attract any bids and was taken by Jaipur for a base price of US$150,000.It’s not that these price tags aren’t cool. But analyse this: Players like Chris Gayle ($800,000) Brendon McCullum ($700,000) and Shanthakumaran Sreenath ($625,000) will be paid much more than Malik, Shoaib and Younis Khan.

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Will Pakistan Premier League gain success just like Indian Premier League ?