The Indian Premier League auction - scheduled to be held in Chennai on February 18 - could see S. Sreesanth going under the hammer.
Returning from a seven-year suspension for his alleged involvement in the spot-fixing scandal, the speedster featured in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy for Kerala this year and scalped four wickets. Sreesanth has set himself a base price of Rs 75 lakh.
Sportstar understands that Sreesanth is among the 1,097 players to have registered for the auction. While the franchises will now require to shortlist the players after which a trimmed final list will be put up. As of now, a total of 21 capped Indian players have registered for the event, along with 50 uncapped players who have played at least one IPL fixture.
“This will be a relatively smaller auction, where the franchises will be hoping to fix the loose ends and act accordingly. A lot of planning needs to be done on how to approach the auction in terms of strategies,” a senior franchise official said.
While most of the teams have already retained their core group, a few like Kings XI Punjab have some slots to fill and if each franchise was to have the maximum of 25 players in its squad, 61 players will be taken in the auction - of which up to 22 may be overseas players.
Kings XI Punjab goes into the auction with the biggest purse available at Rs 53.20 crore, followed by Royal Challengers Bangalore (Rs 35.90 crore), Rajasthan Royals (Rs 34.85 crore), Chennai Super Kings (Rs 22.90 crore), Mumbai Indians (Rs 15.35 crore), Delhi Capitals (Rs 12.9 crore). Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad have Rs 10.75 crore each.
No Root, Starc
According to reports, England captain Joe Root - who scored a century against India in Chennai on Friday - will not be part of the auction, along with Australian pacer Mitchell Starc. In the past too, Starc and Root have prioritised their international commitments over the IPL. “Since there has not been much cricket over almost a year, every cricketer is excited about the league and 21 English and 42 Australian players have registered for the league. This shows the importance of the tournament in the world,” a Board official said.
It is understood that Australian James Pattinson - who was drafted in by Mumbai Indians last year as a replacement for Lasith Malinga - too won’t be part of the auction. He was released by Mumbai Indians last month.
A total of 11 players - Harbhajan Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Kedar Jadhav, Steve Smith, Shakib Al Hasan, Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Liam Plunkett, Jason Roy, Mark Wood, Colin Ingram - have set themselves a high base price of Rs 2 crore.
Sheldon Cottrell, Marnus Labuschagne, Hanuma Vihari and Umesh Yadav have set themselves a base price of Rs 1 crore.
Shakib, who faced a year-long suspension by the ICC last year, had missed out last year. He will be hungry to play but Bangladesh is scheduled to tour Sri Lanka around that time and his availability could be a factor.
Despite the big bucks, Maxwell had an abysmal season for Kings XI last year and was released.
The IPL auction has drawn huge attention in the West Indies as a total of 56 players - including Cottrell - have signed up for the event. Even 30 players from Afghanistan have registered, however, it needs to be seen how many actually make it to the trimmed final list which is due next week.
Pujara, Arjun in the list too
India's Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara, too, has registered for Rs 50 lakh. For the last couple of auctions, Pujara had gone unsold.
Arjun Tendulkar, the son of cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar, has registered for the auction at a base price of Rs 20 lakh. He recently made his debut for Mumbai in Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy
The tournament is likely to begin in the first week of April and is expected to be played in India.
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