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Corey Anderson could barely sleep a wink but was still in dreamland after becoming New Zealand cricket's $866,000 man tonight.
The 23-year-old allrounder struggled to believe the surreal events he followed over the internet as he was snapped up by coach John Wright's defending champion Mumbai Indians for R45 million ($866,000) at his first Indian Premier League auction.
"I thought it was crazy. To see it unfold in front of your eyes, it felt like a little game you might play with your mates then you have to pinch yourself and realise that it's real money they're throwing around. It hasn't sunk in yet," Anderson told Fairfax Media.
Anderson was tipped to go close to $1 million after his world record 36-ball century against West Indies on January 1 and two bludgeoning knocks in the first two one-dayers against India.
He nearly got there, too, as Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils, then a late entry from Sunrisers Hyderabad pushed his price up after starting at R10 million ($195,000). Wright eventually got his man as Anderson joins the likes of Twenty20 big guns Lasith Malinga and Kieron Pollard in a team captained by Indian international Rohit Sharma.
Anderson was one of five New Zealanders signed on a marathon opening day, with captain Brendon McCullum and Tim Southee, along with promising youngsters Jimmy Neesham and Matt Henry getting the nod.
McCullum attracted bids from Mumbai before he fetched R32.5m ($627,000) with Chennai, coached by his business partner Stephen Fleming. He also snared Canterbury paceman Henry for $58,000 late in the auction, while Neesham got $195,000 with Delhi Daredevils and Southee $230,000 with Rajasthan.
But there were some bizarre moments as New Zealand's best batsman Ross Taylor failed to attract a bid at his reserve price of $390,000, three years after Rajasthan went to US$1 million for him. A bad week for Jesse Ryder didn't improve either as he didn't attract a bid, one of 16 current or former Black Caps to miss out.
Those unsold players get another chance tonight when they are offered at their reserve price, after the uncapped Indian players are auctioned.
A nervous Anderson followed the Bangalore auction over the internet at the Black Caps' Wellington hotel, with bowling coach Shane Bond, physiotherapist Paul Close and security officer Sam Dickason. The congratulatory texts and calls soon flooded in from his team-mates who he'll join for training this morning for the second test at the Basin Reserve.
"As soon as I got that first bid I was pretty ecstatic from there on in then it was just a waiting game," Anderson said.
"It's pretty surreal. Watching the auction all unfold, it's hard to explain. There's times when you think you're going to get picked up and times you're not too sure. You see people who aren't picked up and wonder why, then guys are picked up for more than what you might think.
"Hopefully I'll get some sleep then get ready for training. It's a life changing event and pretty exciting."
Anderson's chances of attracting a big price looked to have dipped after Australian Glenn Maxwell cracked $1 million for a second successive year. Maxwell, two lots before Anderson in the allrounders' group, fetched R60 million ($1.15 million) from Kings XI Punjab after Mumbai tried to retain him.
It was a strange opening day of the auction with some hugely inflated prices and baffling no-sales, including Taylor. Hordes of international players went unsold and it became a snorefest late in the day as teams closed their wallets.
Other New Zealanders to miss out included Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Luke Ronchi, Martin Guptill, Hamish Rutherford, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Jacob Oram and James Franklin.
Indian pair Yuvraj Singh ($2.7 million to Royal Challangers Bangalore) and wicketkeeper/batsman Dinesh Karthik ($2.4 million to Delhi Daredevils) were the top-priced lots while axed England batsman Kevin Pietersen ($1.74 million to Delhi) and Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson ($1.25 million to Kings XI Punjab) also went big.
KIWIS UNDER THE HAMMER
New Zealanders on day one of the Indian Premier League auction (with reserve price):
R20 million (NZ$390,000): Brendon McCullum (sold for $628,000 to Chennai), Ross Taylor (unsold).
R10 million (NZ$195,000): Corey Anderson (sold for $866,000 to Mumbai), Nathan McCullum (unsold), Kyle Mills (unsold), Jesse Ryder (unsold).
R5 million (NZ$97,500): James Franklin (unsold), Martin Guptill (unsold), Hamish Rutherford (unsold), Tim Southee (sold for $230,000 to Rajasthan).
R3 million (NZ$58,000): Neil Broom (unsold), Ian Butler (unsold), Grant Elliott (unsold), Mitchell McClenaghan (unsold), Adam Milne (unsold), Colin Munro (unsold), Jimmy Neesham (sold for $195,000 to Delhi), Jacob Oram (unsold), Luke Ronchi (unsold), Hamish Bennett (unsold), Matt Henry (sold for $58,000 to Chennai)
- © Fairfax NZ News