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February 20: Cricketers go on sale

Reversing the earlier stand of having it as a closed bid auction, the IPL says the player auction to be held in Mumbai would be an open one, reports K Kumaraswamy.
By K Kumaraswamy | Hindustan Times, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 10, 2008 02:33 AM IST

The 'Nawab of Najafgarh' seems to have re-found his brand value after a strong comeback into the Test team. Virender Sehwag, who scored a match-saving century in the Adelaide Test, and VVS Laxman are likely to be given 'iconic' status by the Indian Premier League following demands from franchisees.

"The owners of the Delhi (GMR) and Hyderabad (Deccan Chronicle) teams have demanded that Sehwag and Laxman be made iconic players," IPL Chairman and Commissioner Lalit Modi told reporters on Saturday. "Their request will now be sent to the IPL governing body for approval and, since this was not the case when the bids for franchises were made, we have to sit with the franchisees and discuss it before making a final decision. The final decision will be made before the player auction."

The player auction is to be held on February 20 in Mumbai and would be an open one. "We changed our earlier stand of having it as a closed bid auction after the owners voted 7-1 for open auction," Modi said. "It would start at 11 am and be a long affair. I hope it finishes in one day," he said.

Modi termed as "wrong" media reports that the base-bidding prize for iconic players like Sachin Tendulkar had been fixed at Rs. 1.6 crore ($400,000). "Those figures are wrong. We will let you know the real figures in 4-5 days," he said.

The budget cap for buying players from the auction pool for each team has been fixed at $5 million while the minimum payment has to be $3.3 million, Modi said. "The owners are free to spend outside this limit to get local players, Ranji Trophy players and under-22 players," he added.

A team should have a minimum of 16 players while there is no upper limit. Each team can buy a maximum of eight overseas players but only four would be able to take the field in a match.

All teams must have at least four players from their respective Catchment Areas and four under-22 players. "The players from Catchment Areas could be an iconic player, a Ranji player or an U-22 player," Modi clarified. The players in the auction pool, approximately 80, would be divided into categories A to F of 14 each, based on their skills. "Each category will contain a certain number of marquee players, batsmen, wicketkeepers, all-rounders, spinners etc. This is for the franchisees to know when a player they desire to buy will be up for sale," Modi said.

Though February has been decided as the transfer window, no trading would be allowed in the first year. Modi also denied reports that Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar has reneged on his contract. He also confirmed that Mohammad Yusuf, who has a case filed against him in the Mumbai HC, would be among players put up for bidding. "If the court stops (Yusuf from being put on auction), then we will keep him aside," Modi said.

The Catchment Areas

Mumbai: Mumbai, Maharashtra and Vidarbha Cricket Association
Bangalore: Karnataka, Goa and Services
Chennai: Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Railways
Kolkata: Bengal, Jharkhand, Tripura, Assam and Sikkim
Hyderabad: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa
Delhi: Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh
Mohali: Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and J&K
Jaipur: Rajasthan, Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra
Umpires from the ICC panel
Rudi Koertzen, Simon Taufel, Billy Bowde, Mark Benson, Asad Rauf, Billy Doctrove & Daryl Harper. Two more to be confirmed, plus 16 home umpires.

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