(CMC) – West Indies Twenty20 skipper Carlos Brathwaite attracted the highest price for a West Indies player at the Indian Premier League auction here Tuesday, as big-hitting left-handers Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran both landed massive contracts for next year’s campaign in the lucrative tournament.
The 30-year-old Brathwaite was picked up by Kolkata Knight Riders for US$709 000 after the two-time champions won a bidding war with Kings XI Punjab.
Both Hetmyer and Pooran, meanwhile, landed contracts worth US$596 000, with the 21-year-old Hetmyer going to Royal Challengers Bangalore and the 23-year-old Pooran heading to Kings XI Punjab.
The trio were among six West Indies players snapped up in Tuesday’s draft, with all-rounders Sherfane Rutherford and Keemo Paul, along with fast bowler Oshane Thomas, also finding buyers.
Overall, West Indies players represented six of the 20 overseas players bought in the auction.
Brathwaite attracted the headlines after entering at a base price of approximately US$106 000 but then finding himself in the middle of a tug-o-war between KKR and Kings XI.
He was eventually signed by KKR which already boasts the West Indies stars Sunil Narine and Andre Russell.
Ironically, Brathwaite has had a tough time in the IPL of recent. He played only four matches last season for Sunrisers Hyderabad and in 2017, managed only two matches for Delhi Daredevils.
He is best remembered for his exploits during the 2016 T20 World Cup when he smashed sixes off the first four balls of the final over of the final against England, to win West Indies their second title.
Hetmyer was on the IPL’s radar from the one-day tour of India back in October when he blasted 259 runs in five outings – including knocks of 106 and 94 – at a strike-rate of 140.
He was immediately labelled the IPL’s next “million baby” by former India star Harbhajan Singh.
Since then, Hetmyer has done his reputation little harm, with a couple of scintillating half-centuries in the two-Test series against Bangladesh.
Hetmyer, a former Young West Indies captain, also slammed 440 runs in this year’s Caribbean Premier League, playing for his native Guyana Amazon Warriors.
He joins an RCB side which boasts the peerless duo of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
“Thanks a lot to the guys at @RCBTweets for picking me up in the @IPL auction for 2019… Can’t wait to join u guys #PlayBold,” Hetmyer tweeted following his purchase.
Pooran’s success in the draft caps off a fairytale return for the Trinidadian. Three years ago, his career was nearly ended in a vehicular accident. Then, after making his international debut in 2016, he was overlooked for two years before finally gaining a recall against India last month, managing a half-century in the second T20 in Chennai.
He will now team up with West Indies superstar Chris Gayle who is already on the roster at Kings XI.
The 20-year-old Rutherford, meanwhile, yet to play an international, was bought by Delhi Capitals – formerly Delhi Daredevils – for US$283 000 while Thomas was picked up by Rajasthan Royals for US$157 000.
Rutherford shot to prominence during the inaugural Canada T20 Global earlier this year when he scored at a strike rate of 172 for Windies B. He struck a remarkable unbeaten 134 from 66 balls in the playoffs to help his side reach the final.
The 21-year-old Thomas has impressed with his raw pace in his eight international matches following his West Indies debut in October, making him an attractive option for IPL franchises.
Paul, now a settled member of the West Indies side, went to the Capitals for US$70 000.