After almost a decade, there will be 10 tables involved in Indian cricket’s annual moneyball avatar. With more than ₹560 crore potentially to be “splurged”, while the fans will be looking forward to unveiling of crorepatis, all the franchise representatives will be looking forward to create a prospective winning ensemble for the forthcoming Indian Premier League.
The 10 teams already have 33 players combined on their rosters: the eight exiting franchises have retained 27 cricketers combined while the two newcomers to the IPL fold — Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans — have made optimum use of the pre-auction provision of three players each.
When the auctioneer Hugh Edmeades calls the house to order at noon at a plush hotel in Bengaluru, there will be a wide anticipation about the first set of 10 marquee players producing the most expensive buy through an IPL auction.
At the same time, with four big teams having to manage the least purse available, it wouldn’t be a surprise if some of the marquee players remain “unsold” on the opening day and are treated as potentially economical signings towards the end of the auction on Sunday.
It will be interesting to see the strategy adopted by the new outfits. Andy Flower and Gautam Gambhir, the duo at the helm of Lucknow Super Giants, are no strangers to the IPL auction. Same is the case with Gary Kirsten and Ashish Nehra, the coaching staff heading the Gujarat Titans ship.
Their approach towards building a combination virtually from scratch will perhaps decide the tone of the opening day’s proceedings.
If the new franchises keep going aggressively for some of the sought-after names, then Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad — the teams with the biggest purse available — may have to shell out more than expected for the big names.
The four giants — Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings, KKR and Delhi Capitals — will be hoping for it since they will be able to eye some of their preferred choices later in the auction once the purse-parity is restored.
With the Right To Match card done away with, the teams can no longer inflate the value of a certain player in order to reduce a particular team’s purse.
It will also mean that the teams will find it challenging to retain its core. Nevertheless, the franchises are aware that to build a strong core, they will have to shell out dozens of crores.