For eight to 10 hours from 11am Wednesday, at a city hotel here, the Who's Who of India's corporate glitterati will be joined by Bollywood superstars Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta in bidding for the services of 77 of the world's best cricketers for a three-year period.
The bidders are all the team owners of the eight IPL franchises, based in Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chennai and Chandigarh.
The auction will be open with each player being individually put up for bidding, with the highest bid being accepted as the buyer. Each player has an annual "base player fee", which is basically the price at which the bidding for that player starts. This base player fee means the player is available for the IPL season and the Champions Tournament later in the year.
Meanwhile, IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, after meeting the franchisees, said "the Delhi team's request to have Sehwag as an icon player was accepted by an overwhelming majority".
He also clarified that all the doubts over the contracts offered to the Indians have been set aside. "The players were concerned over the guarantee issue about their match fees," said Modi. "Now that they have been assured that the BCCI will be a guarantor if a franchisee fails to pay the players' dues, and as we speak the contracts are being signed by the players."
Modi added that the franchisees have been told that all the active international Australian cricketers will be unavailable for the inaugural edition, unless "Australia's tour to Pakistan gets cancelled". "Each team can buy a maximum of two active Australian cricketers since according to Cricket Australia's rules, more than two players in a team constitute the Australian national team," said Modi.
He also said he was excited about creating history of sorts in the world of cricket, as this will be the first time ever cricketers will be sold at market price. "Being the first year of a new product, there were bound to be some glitches. But now that issues have been resolved, I am sure the auction and the following event will be a huge success."