sport

Daredevils retain Pietersen

Kevin Pietersen will return to the Delhi Daredevils after becoming the latest 'million dollar man' in the Indian Premier League.

Pietersen played for the Daredevils last year but they had opted not to retain, only to find out later he would be available for the entire tournament after England decided to move forward without him.

But under the new Right To Match rule in the IPL auction, they retained the right to match any final bid for services, eventually doing so when the Sunrisers Hyderabad ended a frantic auction with Pietersen's price at 90 million rupees ($1.5m, 880,000).

Pietersen said on Twitter: "Morning. So happy to be back with the Delhi family! Lovely start to the day."

There had been talk the batsman could break the IPL record of $2.4m paid to Gautam Gambhir in 2011 but it transpired he was not even the most expensive player bought in the first marquee group.

That honour went to India Twenty20 star Yuvraj Singh, who went to the Royal Challengers Bangalore for 140 million rupees, while wicket-keeper Dinesh Karthik later cost Pietersen's Daredevils 125 million.

Busy

Delhi were the only team not to retain any players from last season's roster and they were busy in the early rounds of the auction in Bangalore, which could run into Thursday.

They also bought South African stars Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy as well as India squad members Murali Vijay and Manoj Tiwary and Australia all-rounder Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Mitchell Johnson, England's nemesis during the winter's Ashes debacle, was bought by the Kings XI Punjab for 65 million rupees, where he will link up with George Bailey (32.5m) and Virender Sehwag (30m).

After missing out on Pietersen, the Sunrisers made their big splash when they took David Warner for 55 million and they also added his Australia team-mate Aaron Finch for 40 million, perhaps a bargain based on his limited-overs exploits against England over the last 12 months.

The second England squad member to go under the hammer, Somerset keeper Craig Kieswetter, went unsold as did current Test star Ian Bell and Twenty20 specialists Luke Wright and Jade Dernbach.

There was also no bid for opener Alex Hales, ranked No 2 in the world as a Twenty20 batsman - he was up for auction for the top base price - or all-rounder Ravi Bopara who previously represented Kings XI Punjab.