Former Kings XI Punjab CEO and player agent Neil Maxwell said he was asked to convince Australia and New Zealand players to join the Indian Premier League by ex-chairman Lalit Modi.
Neil Maxwell revealed Andrew Symonds was not willing to play the IPL due to his fallout with India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh after the controversial ‘Monkeygate’ row during a Test series between India and Australia in 2008.
Symonds had accused Harbhajan of using a racist slur against him, which the off-spinner and his India teammates vehemently denied. However, the two cricketers buried the hatchet and went on to represent the same IPL franchise at Mumbai Indians.
Maxwell, who revealed he was working with Australia and New Zealand players at that time, had to convince Symonds to play in the inaugural edition of the IPL.
“LLalit Modi asked me to convince the Australian players and the New Zealand players that they needed to come to the IPL, and not go to the ICL or, in Andrew Symonds’ case, not go at all. He didn’t want to go at all, because he had that blowout with Harbhajan,” Maxwell said on The Top Order podcast.
“So I had to work the Australian cricket team. I remember we were putting contracts in front of them, and there was going to be a minimum amount, they were going to this thing called the auction.
So Andrew Symonds was going to get 200,000 USD minimum [$US 250,000]. And that was about an Australian Cricket contract [for a whole year] – he was on about 300, let’s say.
“He was going to get that for six weeks guaranteed, and it could only go up. I remember trying to convince him that he needed to be part of this competition.”
“Anyway, he reluctantly agreed, and 48 hours later, he had 1.2 million [$1.35m] a year for three years as a contract. You talk about transformation, that was transformation as they introduced the auction.”
Symonds triggered a bidding war in the IPL and was eventually sold to the now-defunct Deccan Chargers for $1.35m. He was the costliest overseas player at the IPL 2008 auction and the second costliest player after MS Dhoni.
Symonds went on to play 39 matches in the IPL between 2008 and 2011 and scored 974 runs and picked up 20 wickets.