New Delhi: Promising batsman Manish Pandey, barely 18 and now playing in the under-19 World Cup, has been signed for $105,000 to represent Bangalore in the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) starting in April.
Pandey, now in Kuala Lumpur and getting ready to play the semi-final against New Zealand Wednesday, signed the contract for the Bangalore Royal Challengers in the Malaysian capital, according to a top official of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
"Yes, Pandey has signed for the United Breweries-owned IPL Bangalore team. He did so from Kuala Lumpur Friday," the official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Taking note of the poaching of talented youngsters, including those playing in the World Cup, by the eight IPL franchise owners, the BCCI had a few days ago asked the franchisees to stop chasing players in the middle of an important tournament.
The board also asked the players to concentrate on the game and said it would determine their prices after the tournament.
It, however, remains to be seen if the BCCI would allow the Vijay Mallya-owned UB Group to retain Pandey or declare the contract null and void. Pandey signed the contract at around the same time the BCCI stopped the junior players from negotiating and signing contracts.
It seems that Pandey might just be lucky to escape with the contract, said the official.
Pandey's contract with the UB Group is for three years, with the company agreeing to pay the talented right-handed batsman $35,000 every season.
"His contract is for three years, renewable on mutually agreeable terms," said the official.
Pandey, who was born on September 10, 1989, in Nantilal, Karnataka, has represented the Karnataka under-19 side and has played just seven Twenty20 matches. In four matches in the ongoing World Cup, he has managed just 34 at 34.00 as he remained unbeaten twice.
Pandey, whose favourite batsman is Mathew Hayden, scored 72 to help India beat Bangladesh in the final of a triangular tournament in South Africa last month.
The eight franchise owners have spent a cumulative $718 million to buy the teams. They are Mukesh Ambani (Mumbai), Mallya (Bangalore), Shah Rukh Khan (Kolkata), Preity Zinta (Mohali), Emerging Media (Jaipur), Deccan Chronicle (Hyderabad), India Cements (Chennai) and GMR Group (Delhi).
At another auction Feb 20 in Mumbai, 75 players were auctioned, some at astronomical amounts of money.
The 45-day tournament, based on Twenty20 matches, will open with a game between Bangalore and Kolkata under floodlights at Bangalore's M. Chinnaswamy Stadium April 18.
The winning team will receive $3 million.