The Indian Premier League (IPL) player auction, to be held at a city hotel here on Sunday, will witness franchises juggling with their purses even as they strive to strengthen their teams.
With the player contracts ending only after the 2013 season, the upcoming auction may not be seen by many as major in nature. Many of the teams already have settled outfits from the previous two auctions but a few key purchases from a pool of 101 cricketers this time around could give a side the winning edge.
In this context, the funds remaining with the teams for the auction (from a total of $12.5 million available for each franchise) might play a crucial role in determining how active they are when the players come under the hammer.For instance, Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the most successful franchise in the IPL with two title triumphs, two final and a semifinal berth, has $3,131,087 remaining. It has five slots left for overseas players (each side is allowed a maximum of 11 foreign cricketers). Each team is permitted to have 33 players in all, including the Indian cricketers.
Last year’s winner Kolkata Knight Riders has $6,872, 826 and four overseas slots to play with. The two semifinalists in IPL V, Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians have $1,415,978 (three overseas slots) and $2,341,739 (five slots) on hand.
Of course, all the franchises, apart from Pune Warriors, have plenty of room for domestic cricketers.
Pune Warriors, with $ 3,304,130 of its purse left, has only three overseas slots and one domestic place remaining.
Rajasthan Royals has a whopping $7,701,304 to do shopping at this auction with four overseas slots available. Sunrisers Hyderabad has a hefty $7,003,696, with five overseas slots left. And Kings XI Punjab has $6,872,826, in its kitty with four foreign places remaining.
Royal Challengers Bangalore, a prominent IPL side, has $2,526,522 and five overseas places left.
Australian captain Michael Clarke and former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting (both have a base price of $400,000) are among the four marquee players at the auction. The other two are South African off-spinner Johan Botha ($300,000) and India paceman Rudra Pratap Singh ($100,000).
West Indian captain Darren Sammy, an accurate seamer and a hard-hitting batsman, might be a smart buy at a reserve price of $1,00,000.
There are some handy pace bowlers around in the mix too such as Australia’s Clint McKay (base price $1,00,000) and South Africa’s Venron Philander ($100,000). West Indies’ Ravi Rampaul ($50,000) could prove a bargain.
Also in the auction would be England’s Matthew Prior, arguably the finest wicket-keeper-batsman in the world, at $200,000. Another influential man with the big gloves, Australia’s Matthew Wade, has the same base price.
Quality spinners in fray
There are some quality spinners too in the fray and Sri Lankan left-armer Rangana Herath ($100,000) might be a intelligent pick in the sub-continental conditions. West Indies’ leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo (at $50,000) might prove the surprise package at the auction.
There are a number of domestic cricketers in the mix and the franchises would have to put their thinking caps on. The auction would be a battle of nerve.