England stars Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff were drowned with an “unbelievable” feeling at becoming joint highest paid players in the second edition of the Indian Premier League and said they could not wait to feature in the lucrative Twenty20 extravaganza.
Now in the Caribbean for their Test series against the West Indies, the duo, who were bought for a whopping $1.55 million each, were taken by surprise by the huge “amount of money”.
Even though they will only play for three weeks in the Twenty20 tournament, giving $60,000 of their salary to their counties, they will still trouser around $7,38,748 for the jaunt.
Pietersen, who was bought by Vijay Mallya-owned Bangalore Royal Challengers, said, “I’m really excited about it. It is an unbelievable amount of money and I can’t wait to get out there.
“It looked like an absolute blast last year and the England lads just want to be involved in what is such an amazing tournament,” the 28-year-old, whose new team-mates in Bangalore would include Rahul Dravid, Jacques Kallis and Shiv Chanderpaul, was quoted as saying in the English media.
Flintoff, bought by Chennai Super Kings, considers the IPL dollars a massive bonus and said, “It’s worked well, hasn’t it?”
“I’m very pleased. I went in at $950,000 so to get that much it’s unbelievable really, it has not quite sunk in, I guess. I regard it as a massive bonus.
“My team includes guys like my friend Murali, Matthew Hayden and MS Dhoni as captain. So it’s a very exciting team.”
Flintoff’s England colleague Collingwood, who will be joining the Delhi Daredevils for $275,000, was also delighted by his price tag.
“I’m absolutely delighted at the price tag on my head. The reserve price was $250,000, so to get a bit more than that is a really nice feeling. To be honest, though, I’m just happy to be there because I think once you get your nose into the tournament, then anything can happen and the cricket will be something special,” he said.
“I’ve now got a chance to show what I’m made of when I get over there and measure myself against the world’s best players in a tournament that will bring different but very real pressure on you.
“The fact that Fred and KP took the biggest sums reflects well on English cricket. We’ve always known that we’ve got some great talent in the side and the Indian teams wanted to see a bit of that,” he added.
Ravi Bopara and Owais Shah who were the other England players who got buyers in the second IPL auction, bought for $450,000 and $275,000 respectively by Kings XI Punjab and Delhi Daredevils.
However, all-rounders Luke Wright and Samit Patel went unsold in the auction.