Fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza today said his USD 6,00,000 buy by Kolkata Knight Riders in the second Indian Premier League auction was a reward for his consistent form this season.
"Obviously I am delighted because I feel this is a result of all hard work I have put in over the years and a reward for being consistent this season," an elated Mortaza said.
"I have lots of friends and fans in India and that's why I am excited. I love being there and it is a pleasure to play in India. Kolkata is just next door and I know how much people there admire Bangladeshi cricketers. My challenge is to go over there and prove my worth," said the 25-year-old Mortaza, number eight in the ICC ODI rankings for bowlers.
Mortaza's bidding started with a base price of USD 50000 but his figures kept climbing steadily with the Kings XI Punjab hot on the heels of the Knight Riders before the Kolkata side roped him for 12 times his starting price.
There was further good news for the Bangladeshis with Tigers skipper Mohammad Ashraful snapped by Mumbai Indians at his base price of USD 75,000 in the second round after most teams had exhausted their 10-player quota of foreign players.
Ashraful revealed that signing for Mumbai Indians would allow him to realise a childhood dream -- to play alongside batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar.
"Sachin Tendulkar has been an idol for me and as a youngster I dreamt of playing alongside him some day and now we are in the same team," he said.
Amid the euphoria, Mortaza and Ashraful, however, feel bad for teammate Shakib Al Hasan, number one all-rounder in ICC ODI rankings, who didn't find a taker in the auction despite his sensational run of form this year.
"I would have been a lot happier if Shakib had got a team. He has been sensational this year and he deserved to get a team," said Mortaza.
Echoing Mortaza, Ashraful said, "Shakib missing out was a bit of a shock because he is one player who has dominated in both forms of international cricket this season.
"Nevertheless I am very happy for Mash (Mortaza) as he been outstanding for us. The fact that two players from Bangladesh have been picked after an intense bidding was an encouraging sign for Bangladesh cricket also," he said.
Mortaza also revealed that Kings' XI Punjab captain Yuvraj Singh had promised him to induct in the Mohali-based outfit.
"I often had conversations with Yuvraj and he said he would take me in his side," Mortaza said.
The Kolkata and Mohali outfits were locked in a 30-minute tug-of-war over Mortaza and at the end of it, the Knight Riders had the last laugh as they agreed to cough up USD 600,000.
Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal, the other Bangladeshi cricketer in the auction, remained unsold.
Yuvraj Promised Me a Place in Mohali Kings XI: Mortaza
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