Value for money is likely to be the theme at the player’s auction for the third edition of the Indian Premier League to be held here on Tuesday with teams already indicating that they would be more interested in players who will be available for the entire duration of the tournament.
And Kolkata Knight Riders, who bought Bangladesh allrounder Mashrafe Mortaza for $600,000 (Rs 2.7 crore) and played him in only one match, have set the tone by buying out the contract of Australia skipper Ricky Ponting who was unlikely to be available for a major part of the tournament that begins on March 12.
IPL commissioner Lalit Modi confirmed on his twitter account that KKR has bought out Ponting's contract while Royal Challengers Bangalore have also made room for buying another player by ending their relationship with Australian speedster Nathan Bracken.
Though officials of both teams were unwilling to comment on what prompted them to buy out the contracts of the players, sources said their unavailability for a major period of the competition could have been the clinching factor.
Australia host New Zealand for a full series in February-March which is followed by their flagship domestic championship — Sheffield Shield — and some state teams are unwilling to release their players for IPL.
“It makes sense to buy out a player's contract who is not available and bid for someone who will play throughout the tournament,” said a senior official of one of the franchises.
The IPL has also left the door open for other teams to follow suit by extending the deadline to buy out player’s contracts till 11.59 am on Tuesday with the auction process starting at noon.
There are 67 players on the auction list, including Mohammad Kaif who was released by Rajasthan Royals, with 12 slots to be filled among the eight franchisees at the time of going to press.
All the teams would have a prize purse of $750,000 (Rs 3.4 crore) and in the case of two teams bidding for the same player despite reaching the highest prize cap, the tie-breaker option would be introduced in which the teams can bid above the amount but the money would go to IPL rather than the player.