World's premier all-rounders Ben Stokes of England and Cameron Green of Australia are set to enjoy a bidding frenzy as 405 players will go under the hammer for 87 slots at the IPL mini-auction on December 23 in Kochi.
England's Test captain Stokes and the rising Aussie sensation Green are in the highest base price bracket of ₹2 crore while former England Test captain Joe Root has also put his name up at ₹1 crore.
"Out of 405 players, 273 are Indians and 132 are overseas players of which 4 players are from associate nations. The total capped players are 119, uncapped players are 282 and 4 from associate nations. A maximum of 87 slots are now available with up to 30 being slotted for overseas players," BCCI secretary Jay Shah was quoted as saying in a media release.
While Kolkata Knight Riders has the lowest purse available at ₹7.2 crore, Sunrisers Hyderabad, with ₹42.25 crore and 13 spots available, are expected to go on a buying spree after a poor last season.
Another inconsistent team, Punjab Kings are also likely to come out all guns blazing at the mini-auction with ₹32.20 crore in its kitty. Chennai Super Kings (₹20.45 crore), Lucknow Super Giants (₹23.35 crore), Mumbai Indians (₹20.55 crore), Delhi Capitals (₹19.45 crore) and defending champions Gujarat Titans (₹19.25 crore) can also go a fair distance for the players they want.
With hard-hitting, pace bowling all-rounders being the need of the hour, Stokes and Green are likely to command anything in the range of ₹15-17 crore from at least two to three franchises.
With most of the top Indian players already in one team or the other, out-of-favour national team players Mayank Agarwal and Manish Pandey at ₹1 crore base price will command a fair bit of bidding.
But the same cannot be said about veterans Ishant Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, who have kept their going price at a modest ₹50 lakh, expecting to get a team or two raise the paddle for them.
One of the players who can cause a bidding war is South African batter Rilee Rossouw, who has been prolific on Indian tracks.
Rising Englishman Harry Brook has kept his base price at ₹1.5 crore.