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Senanayake is a good buy, feels Gambhir

Chennai: Mumbai Indians expressed happiness after having managed to rope in Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell for a whopping $1 million during the IPL players’ auction here and said he was a “good catch” and among those pre-planned to bid for by the franchise.

“He is an upcoming youngster, he can bat, bowl, can spin the ball well and is a good fielder… Mumbai wanted a young all-rounder. We had thought about a few names and he is one of them,” said owner Nita Ambani.

Anil Kumble, mentor of Mumbai Indians, was also excited to have Maxwell in the team.

“For an emerging player it is big. He is an exciting player and a good catch for us.

“I knew him before he made his debut for Australia. He will be with the Australian team in India for the Test series, so looking forward to the challenge,” Kumble said.

Kolkata Knight Riders bought unheralded Sri Lankan spinner Sachithra Senanayake (with a base price $50,000) for $625,000 and skipper Gautam Gambhir said he was pretty happy with the buy.

“We always had this strategy in mind where we wanted mystery spinners and now we have Senanayake as well.

“He’s a good buy… It would be good to have Senanayake and Sunil (Narine) bowling together for us,” he said.

“We’ve always believed the smaller the squad the better it is to maintain. We’re pretty happy, we’ve just bought one guy in the last two hours. Very happy with it.

“We always knew we were going to go for him because of the conditions... As I said, Senanayake and Sunil bowling in tandem is a good option for me,” he added.

Mumbai Indians also bought Ricky Ponting for a base price of $400,000 and Ambani and Kumble said the former Australian captain would be an inspiration for the youngsters in the team.

“We have two cricketing greats Ricky and Sachin and both will be inspiration for youngsters,” Ambani said.

“It is nice to have Ponting in the team. He brings in leadership, he has a lot of experience and it will help the Ambati Rayadus and Rohit Shamas in the team.

“He will be a great presence in the dressing room,” Kumble said.

Asked if Sachin Tendulkar will regain the captaincy of the Mumbai Indians, Ambani said: “We have to go back to the drawing board and talk to Sachin. It is going to be Sachin’s decision and we will let you know.”

Delhi DareDevils bought South African all-rounder Johan Botha for $450,000 and mentor T.A. Sekar said the experienced all-rounder would be an asset to the team.

“He will be useful. We wanted a spin all-rounder and Botha is an experienced player. He led South Africa in T20 and for Delhi is a good catch,” Sekar said.

There were no takers for wicketkeepers during the auction and IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said: “Franchises take a decision keeping in mind their requirement and they have wicketkeepers in their team, so it is there decision who they want to pick.”

Chennai Super Kings bought five players and mentor Stephen Fleming said the focus for them was to add a new dimension to their bowling.

“We wanted to add another dimension to our bowling. We looked for players who have an X factor and can be competitive and who can develop to their potential. We wanted to get some young generation of players and we are happy.”

Sunrisers Hyderabad’s co-mentor, Kris Srikkanth, said the team has good balance.

“We hope to perform in the coming season which will be our first effort in IPL. We have good balance now as we were able to acquire perfect talent for each slot. We are extremely happy,” said the former India captain.

On picking Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera, Srikkanth said: “He was a good buy. Coach Tom Moody was Sri Lanka coach earlier, he knows the capabilities of Thisara. He adds strength to our plan for success in the coming season.”

Priety Zinta, co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab which bought two players in Manpreet Gony and Luke Pomersbach, said: “It’s been a little slow but it’s been good for us. Luke Pomersbach is an old Kings XI boy and he’s back in the lions den.

“Gony is from Punjab but hasn’t played for us. He’ll be good on our tracks and we are looking to have a good season with him. Hopefully we do much better this year.”

(agencies)