Corey Anderson could barely sleep a wink but was still in dreamland after becoming New Zealand cricket's $900,000 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 said.
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.
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.
'Hopefully I'll get some sleep then get ready for training. It's a life changing event.'
Anderson's chances of attracting a big price looked to have nosedived after Australian Glenn Maxwell cracked $1 million for a second successive year. Maxwell fetched R60 million ($1.15 million) from Kings XI Punjab after Mumbai tried to retain him.
It was a bizarre opening day of the auction with some hugely inflated prices and baffling no- sales, including Taylor.
Other New Zealanders to miss out included Nathan McCullum, Luke Ronchi, Martin Guptill, Hamish Rutherford and James Franklin.
Indian pair Yuvraj Singh ($2.7 million to Royal Challengers Bangalore) and wicketkeeper/ batsman Dinesh Karthik ($2.4 million to Delhi Daredevils) were the top-priced lots while England's Kevin Pietersen ($1.74 million to Delhi) and Australia's Mitchell Johnson ($1.25 million to Kings XI Punjab) also went big.
- © Fairfax NZ News