Richard Madley, who oversaw the Indian Premier League (IPL) auctions in 2008, is back for the 2011 auctions. For the next two days, he will be in the limelight — sharing the stage with top cricket players and a few film stars.
For Madley – president of Christie's low-priced arm Christie's East – if the 2008 experience was a spectacular event with eight teams spending over $40 million in eight hours to ‘own’ 75 best cricket players in the world, when he took to the podium this time he was up against a mind-numbing number for an auctioneer — 352 players for 10 teams.
After his first stint with IPL, Madley was invited by the Glomorgan County Cricket Club to raise £100,000 by auctioning some of the club’s oldest cricketing treasures. Glomorgan Chairman Paul Russell had decided to dig into the county's past to secure a brighter future for the club.
The county club turned to the man to help them raise funds to build the Welsh Museum of Cricket.
On the IPL auction, the professional auctioneer from England said: “This is the pinnacle of auctions, not just cricket auctions but in the history of auctions.” Auctioning runs in his blood. By his own admission, no one else has done it with real people.
“With the retention of some of the top stars, the bids may not go through the roof this time,” he had said earlier. But, he was proved wrong on day one of the auctions. “Give me a Tendulkar and I’ll show you how to raise the bar.” He had said that his most enjoyable moment in the IPL auctions was at the very beginning when Mahendra Singh Dhoni was picked for a cool $1.5 million by Chennai Super Kings.
But, there have been two big-ticket buys this year. Gautam Gambhir has attracted the highest bid on day one for $2.4 million by Kolkata Knight Riders, followed by Yusuf Pathan at $2.1 million by the same IPL franchise.