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IPL auction: Franchises ready to splurge big, focus on Ben Stokes

A pool of 580 players including 361 Indians will go under the hammer. Franchisees can go for a minimum (18) and maximum (25) squad size, minimum squad spend (Rs 60 crores) and the maximum number of overseas players in the squad (8).

cricket Updated: Jan 26, 2018 20:16 IST
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Sanjjeev K Samyal
Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
Indian Premier League,IPL auction,IPL
Ben Stokes, who played for Rising Pune Supergiant, is expected to generate huge interest at the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction.(IPL)

Forget the gripping Test the India and South Africa stars are locked in at Johannesburg or the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand. For two days from Saturday morning, cricket action will take a back seat around the world as some of India’s rich and famous will be involved in a fierce bidding war here to buy the best talent for the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

While decision-makers of the eight T20 teams match wits, cricketers around the globe can’t help but keep one eye on the proceedings in the Garden City as IPL steps into a new decade.

READ | IPL 2018 player auction: Battle-hardened 35-plus warriors in demand for marquee event

This auction promises more fireworks than ever as even teams that had been budget conscious in the past will look to shed their inhibition to get those players who they think are equipped to fly their flag in the IPL.

BIG BROADCAST DEAL

The mega IPL media rights deal with Star India has put them in such a great position. After accounting for every expense, team owners should still easily pocket Rs 100 crore plus as their central pool revenue share is expected to be around Rs 260 crore each.

With serious money comes serious planning. With solid homework and experience, all franchisees, including Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals who are back after a two-year ban, say they are better prepared than ever.

READ | IPL auction 2018: 10 uncapped India & international youngsters who could fetch big money

The pressure is on the owners to get it right this weekend for good buys mean half the battle won in the tournament.

Some of the outfits, like CSK, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians, have managed their core squad through retentions. It also leaves them at a disadvantage at the auction table – more the retentions, smaller the purse and Right-to-Match cards. But teams with all their money on the table will be under pressure to get their core squad around which to build their team. Three of the teams, Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders have to find their captains first.

MARQUEE POOL

For a dramatic start to the proceedings, the 16 marquee players will be put up for sale first. It means there’s going to be no time for warm-up.

READ | IPL player auction 2018: Right-to-Match card can control dynamics

Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals will go in with the maximum purse -- Rs 67.5 crore. KKR are left with Rs 59 crore of the total Rs. 80 crore and Royal Challengers Bangalore have Rs 49 crore, slightly more than Mumbai Indians (Rs 47 crore). Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings are also left with Rs 47 crore each after retaining a maximum three players.

FOCUS ON ASHWIN

The wisemen of IPL have listed R Ashwin, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh in their top bracket. But the bidding war will be equally fierce over the likes of Yuzvendra Chahal, KL Rahul, Dinesh Karthik, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav, all with the highest base price of Rs 2 crore.

CSK have not retained Ashwin, and don’t have the RTM card, so it will trigger an intense bidding war. It is about restricting the opposition and taking wickets, and he does both. Ashwin is a captaincy candidate too.

Chennai are resigned to the fact that they are unlikely to get their star player back. They are instead focused on getting another local off-spinner, Washington Sundar, in his place. In a way, it’s an indication of the franchises’ confidence in the options available. This time, the owners are focusing equally on the uncapped and unknown talent.

FOREIGN POOL

For foreign stars, the spreadsheets have been more about who will be available for how long than the money.

The biggest interest is on Ben Stokes. He is on everyone’s radar, and though there are doubts over his availability due to an ongoing case, people will still have to break the bank for him.

First Published: Jan 26, 2018 20:09 IST