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IPL 2017 Auction: Why teams need to be careful before splurging

The 2017 IPL auction will see 357 players go under the hammer on Monday, but a cramped international calendar with a major ICC tournament looming could make teams cautious in their buying.

cricket Updated: Feb 18, 2017 21:52 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
The 2017 IPL auction will see 357 players go under the hammer on Monday.
The 2017 IPL auction will see 357 players go under the hammer on Monday.(IPL)

Caution is the keyword for 2017 IPL Auction. On Monday, 357 players will go under the hammer as teams look to settle their line-ups. This is the last season of the 10-year IPL cycle and franchises are not expected to buy aggressively. In 2018, all players go back into the auction and in the 11th edition, IPL could see 10 teams with Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings coming back.

The 2017 IPL auctions are also being conducted in a volatile environment. The BCCI is undergoing a major revamp following the Supreme Court verdict on January 2. The new Committee of Administrators has been slow with decisions regarding the Indian Premier League. And the BCCI has objected to the International Cricket Council’s decision to reverse the 2014 revenue sharing plan pushed through by the Indian Board, thus raising temperature in the cricket world.

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One other factor could dampen the mood of IPL teams further. It is the cramped international cricket calendar, which might make IPL teams cautious heading into the auctions.

South Africa face conundrum

The cricketing calendar for March is packed. All major cricket teams are engaged in bilateral series. Before the IPL starts on April 5, India face Australia in a four-Test series, which ends just six days before the Twenty20 league. South Africa play five ODIs and three Tests against New Zealand, and that also ends on March 29. England are slated to tour the Caribbean for three ODIs that end on March 9. Bangladesh will tour Sri Lanka in March-April.

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With so much cricket activity, player fatigue will be a major factor heading into IPL. Teams that are likely to be hit are Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. South Africa, in particular, will be stretched, considering that they finished the series against Sri Lanka only on February 10 and reached New Zealand five days later. With the series finishing only by March end, less than a week from the IPL, managing the players’ workload could become a major issue.

South Africa, England face double whammy

South Africa and England both face a double whammy. Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes all have a base price of Rs 2 crore and are among the top attractions in the auctions. Jonny Bairstow has a base price of Rs 1.5 crore while South Africa fast bowler Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo are priced at Rs 1 crore.

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What could weigh on the minds of the IPL teams looking to buy these players is the mega ICC event which follows. The Champions Trophy will be held in England soon after the IPL --- the final is on May 21 – and many foreign players could leave the tournament early. Unlike 2013 when the Champions Trophy began on June 6, this year it starts on June 1.

According to the ICC calendar, South Africa are due to play two warm-up games, on May 19 and May 21, before playing three ODIs against England from May 24 to May 29. England play two more ODIs against Ireland on May 5 and 7. Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are reportedly considering pulling their players out early. CSA are particularly keen to get adequate preparation for the Champions Trophy as they aim to turn around their record in major events.

With Champions Trophy the major attraction for both these teams, the 2017 IPL Auction could see most of the top players going unsold.