If you add the number of players nominated in the first three IPL auctions, it comes to 188. Compare it with the 353 who will be up for grabs in the fourth edition, to be held over the weekend, and you will realise how challenging it is for the 10 teams to make optimum use of the opportunity.
On the three previous occasions, much before the teams entered the auction hall, they had a fair idea of the sort of balance they were aspiring for. After all, all the eight teams had signed the bulk of the domestic players even before the auction.
However, this time around, thanks to the Indian board barring teams from signing domestic players before the auction, only 12 players find themselves on the IPL roster before the big auction day. This means the franchises will also have to start planning team balance after Sunday evening and fill the vacant slots with domestic players.
"All the confusion regarding domestic players is over now. We are sure all the teams can sign domestic players post Sunday evening," Col Arvinder Singh, vice-president, Kings XI Punjab, told Hindustan Times on Friday.
Singh, however, felt all the 10 teams would be at an advantage going into the auction hall on Saturday, thanks to their "previous experience".
"The teams are wiser now and have realised the value for money," he said. "Even the two new teams would have studied the previous auctions carefully and will not be affected by the magnitude of the event."
For the new teams, Sahara Pune Warriors and the yet-to-be-named Kochi franchise, though they would be deprived of the 12 top players who have been retained by five franchises.
"What we are happy about is we have managed to have most of the top names in the auction pool," a top official of one of the two new teams said. "This means we can be at par with the existing teams right from the word go."
The two new entrants can also heave a sigh of relief from the fact that there is no upper limit on bidding for a particular player.
Last year, with the teams allowed to spend a maximum of $7,50,000, a tie-break rule was introduced by the IPL honchos. However, it was clarified in Friday's briefing to the team representatives that there will "not be any silent tie-breaks".
This means that on Saturday morning, when the top 24 players go under the hammer at the beginning of the auction, the world is set to witness the most expensive player in the history of IPL.
Let the action, oops auction, begin!