Melbourne: He is one of the most popular international cricketers in India but Australian speedster Brett Lee said he wasn't sure if any of the IPL franchises would be interested in picking him up and was stunned when he fetched $900,000 in the inaugural auction.

Lee was bought by Kings XI Punjab in the inaugural IPL auction and in his autobiography 'My Life', the tear away pacer said he kept tabs on the proceedings all through, wondering if any franchise would be keen to have him.

"We were monitoring via text what was happening in India. One message stood 'India's one-day captain MS Dhoni had been bought for $1.5 million by Chennai. We were stunned'," he wrote.

"I was really nervous and couldn't help thinking, 'does anyone want me'? Finally the phone rang. It was my manager Neil Maxwell," he recalled.

After being informed that he was able to fetch $900,000, Lee wrote "Wow! This was just crazy; never had I ever dared to dream that I'd get that much. Over the days the cricket world was turned on its head by revelations of the millions and millions of dollars that were spent at the players' auction for the inaugural IPL."

Being in Kings XI Punjab also brought with it rumours of an affair with its co-owner, Bollywood actress Preity Zinta, but Lee said the speculation was media's imagination.

"My signing fuelled media rumours that there was something going between me an Preity. This all stemmed back to 2002 or 2003 when I presented her with 'Leading actress' at a Bollywood awards night in Singapore.

"At the time, when the Indian media asked me who my favourite actress was I told them 'Preity Zinta', because she was cute and has a dimple...It was all a bit of fun but some journalists picked up on that...They simply weren't true," he wrote.

Lee also spoke of the batsmen he has faced during his career so far and singled out Sachin Tendulkar as the one who tormented him the most.

"There was one batsman I couldn't get out: Sachin Tendulkar. I was amazed how good he was. When he came out to bat I felt the energy lift in the field and crowd," he wrote.

"...I must tell you that one of the reasons Sachin has had so much success on the cricket field is because he wants to win; in fact he has to win.

"He was cricket's biggest superstar who'd achieve just about everything his sport could offer."

Lee recalled how Tendulkar's injury-forced absence took the sheen off the Australia vs ICC World XI one-day series in the 2005-06 season.

"There isn't much that needs to be said about those game. Originally they were planned to be a showdown between Australia, a team that was dominating world cricket, against the ultimate team of the world's best players.

"But since we'd lost the Ashes a month earlier, and the World XI was missing someone like Sachin, the games were a bit of a non-event even before they began," he wrote.

He calls India his second home but Lee conceded it is also immensely tough to be on a tour there.

"Playing Test cricket in India is tough. Really, really tough. It's a place that requires all your focus, otherwise you're going to fail," he wrote while describing his visit during 2008 Test matches after splitting with his wife Liz.

"I love India but there are times when even the smallest things can play on my nerves and grate me," he said.

(Agencies)