IPL teams set to splurge Rs 148 crore at auction

In relative terms, this may not be a giant IPL auction – particularly when a major reshuffle is expected next year, of which little is certain – but with a maximum of 139 players to be signed up and Rs. 148.33 crore to be spent, there will be no dearth of action.

Ishant Sharma is the only Indian player listed at Rs.2 crore, when the rest of his compatriots have generally opted for low base prices.   -  K. R. Deepak

Such is the heft the IPL auction has come to acquire that England's recent T20 international series here was in some quarters seen less as a competition in itself and more as a shop window for members of the touring party.

After the dramatic end to the final T20 at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Virat Kohli was asked if England's players had now fallen in value. “There is enough talent in that dressing room. I don't think today's collapse will hamper anyone's chances of being picked in the IPL,” he said. “I am sure a lot of them will be up for grabs.”

The reassurance will have been welcomed for such is the significance of cricket's most high-profile annual recruitment drive, the tenth edition of which gets underway at the Ritz-Carlton hotel here in Bengaluru on Monday.

In relative terms, this may not be a giant IPL auction – particularly when a major reshuffle is expected next year, of which little is certain – but with a maximum of 77 players to be signed up and Rs. 148.33 crore to be spent, there will be no dearth of action.

Much interest is expected in English players, a number of whom made an impression in India a few weeks ago. Ben Stokes headlines that list, even though his availability for the full tournament is in doubt with England scheduled to play ODI series against Ireland (starting May 5) and South Africa (starting May 24) ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy.

The explosive all-rounder has listed himself in the Rs.2 crore bracket, alongside colleagues Eoin Morgan and Chris Woakes. Tymal Mills gave a good account of himself, and could be in demand, while Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy and Chris Jordan will also hope for favourable outcomes.

This is not an auction with too many stars; Mitchell Johnson (2 crore), though, stands out, having recently played a pivotal role in Perth Scorchers' Big Bash League triumph. Imran Tahir, the ICC's top-ranked ODI and T20I bowler, is available, as is Sri Lanka's Angelo Mathews.

Ishant Sharma, who was released by Rising Pune Supergiants, is the only Indian player listed at Rs.2 crore, when the rest of his compatriots have generally opted for low base prices.

The majority of the franchises have settled units, and are only seeking to fill a couple of particular roles. KKR has the smallest existing squad size of the eight teams, and is in need of a replacement for the banned Andre Russell (for a doping whereabouts violation).

RCB, which can sign only eight more players, will need a fast bowler after parting ways with Mitchell Starc. Mumbai has the smallest remaining purse at just over 11 crore and Punjab the largest at 23.35. The defending champion, SRH, has over 20 crore to spend, with the core of its title-winning squad intact.



Teams

Purse Spent (Rs. In Crs)

Balance Purse (Rs. In Crs)

Total player slots remaining

Overseas player slots remaining

DD

42.9

23.1

10

4

KXIP

42.65

23.35

8

4

KKR

46.25

19.75

13

5

MI

54.445

11.555

7

3

RCB

48.175

17.825

8

2

SRH

45.1

20.9

10

4

RPS

48.5

17.5

10

4

GL

51.65

14.35

11

3

Total

379.67

148.33

77

29

TEAMS CAN HAVE A MAXIMUM OF 27 PLAYERS INCLUDING NINE OVERSEAS

It will be interesting to note how uncapped Indian players fare, in the immediate aftermath of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, the domestic T20 competition. Hyderabad opener Tanmay Agarwal was the leading scorer in the inter-state matches, with the highlight of his efforts a 49-ball-85 against Tamil Nadu.

Kerala's Vishnu Vinod struck more sixes (14) than anyone else, and nearly took Karnataka down with a 35-ball-64 in Chennai. Ishank Jaggi was a late addition to the auction pool, having been passed over by the franchises originally. Seven names have been added to the initial list, to swell the total number of players available for auction to 358.

Karnataka's K. Gowtham and Hyderabad's Md. Siraj, both of whom enjoyed fruitful Ranji Trophy campaigns and were called up to the India A squad, could also draw interest.

Six players from Associate nations will also be in the mix: it remains to be seen if any of them find takers, though the ICC rankings may suggest that Afghanistan's Mohammad Nabi is the world's second best all-rounder in ODIs.

An auction, though, has its own currents and rhythms, and rarely adheres to predicted patterns. Last year, the likes of Kishore Kamath, Nathu Singh, Eklavya Dwivedi and Pawan Negi attracted the sorts of bids that simply could not have been foreseen.

Only one thing is for certain: the surprises never cease.