The bidding war for Australia captain Ricky Ponting and his teammate Andrew Symonds, who have been in the news for all wrong reasons lately, is likely to gain steam when players are auctioned in Mumbai on Wednesday.
"That amazes me after the last couple of weeks. I thought our prices would have gone right down, to tell you the truth," Ponting was quoted as saying in the Daily Telegraph.
The Australian players have yet to agree to contractual terms for the auction, but player organisations and Cricket Australia (CA) are confident of a resolution. The eight franchises will still bid for the Australians even though they may be unavailable because of international commitments.
Australia has a major international assignment, a tour of Pakistan, which is clashing with the IPL. The tour, however, is not yet confirmed, as CA is monitoring the situation following former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination in Rawalpindi in December and the violence that erupted after that.
Ponting acknowledged that he might miss the maiden edition of the IPL, starting April 18.
"It doesn't look like we'll be able to play in the first couple of years. That's the interesting thing for the next few weeks, what sort of money is going to be out there if there is no chance of playing," Ponting said.
The teams will only be able to bid once for a player to avoid a war between franchises that could raise the players' value further.
"It was revealed last night that former India captain Sourav Ganguly wants Symonds to join his Kolkata franchise, and will personally play a role in the bidding process," wrote the paper.
"Ganguly is also keen on Adam Gilchrist, the only current Australian player who will be able to play in the entire 44-day tournament, and South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis," it said.
The paper also quoted former India Test fast bowler TA Sekar as saying that the Delhi franchise was "very keen" on Symonds.
"More than Ponting, I would go for Gilchrist and Symonds. They fit the bill -- multi-skilled players," he said.
"Charu Sharma, the chief executive of the Bangalore franchise, will also submit a bid, expected to be hundreds of thousands of dollars, for Symonds," the paper said.