Bangalore, India Premier League [IPL] Meat Market: Today's version of cricket gladiators went on the auction block as bidders outbid one another. For many it was a big splurge; for others a total purge.
On the good news front, Indian players were the biggest draw. Gautam Gambhir went for a whopping [a much-loved Indian term] $US 2.4 million together with other fellow cricketers Yusuf, Rohit Sharma and Robin Uthappa all going for $US 2 mil each.
This high profile event locked Corporate India and Bollywood in a mind-boggling [another favorite Indian term] bidding war. The spending limit was set at $US 9 mil, which means that of the 88 players auctioned, 15 became overnight millionaires. Not a bad haul.
However the biggest surprise of the night was a mystery buyer who bid $US 10 million for Shilpa Shetty co-owner of the Rajasthan Royals. Pandemonium broke out as a smiling Shilpa - she of the leaping eyebrows and putty-like nose thanked god; her husband; her family; her dogs and all her fans:
"I want to thank all of you for continuing to believe in me. I always knew I would emerge strong from all the stuff that has been thrown at me", she drawled.
"What the hell is that curry-muncher talking about", snarled Aussie Ricky Ponting, which led to a pissed-off Harbhajan bowling a googly at his head leading to a pretty fine tamasha as drunk umpires looked on helplessly. It was left to Bollywood's top hero and Kolkata Knight Riders owner Shah Rukh Khan to leap into the fray and sort out the mess.
Auction update: The Shilpa Shetty mystery bidder took the mike to make this statement:
"I would like to return Shilpa Shetty and get a full refund. You said satisfaction guaranteed or your money back. I can't get no satisfaction from Shilpa so show me my money".
An inconsolable Shilpa was seen running into the forest singing a sad and mournful Indian song about unrequited love.
"Howzat", said sympathetic Number One Cricketwalla Sachin Tendulkar, "poor Shilpa she was clean bowled out by a dibbly-dobbly bidder".