KPL 2019: Manish Pandey, Karun Nair in focus ahead of auction

While K.L. Rahul and Mayank Agarwal are not part of the auction pool at all, Manish Pandey, who figures in the Indian limited-overs sides, is expected to be available for some portion of the KPL.

India international Manish Pandey is expected to be available for some portion of the KPL.   -  G.P. Sampath Kumar

The eighth edition of the Karnataka Premier League (KPL) will get under way in Bengaluru, starting August 16. The first leg of the tournament will be played in Bengaluru (Aug 16-20), the second in Hubballi (Aug 22-25), and the concluding phase in Mysuru (Aug 27 to Sep 1).

The KPL has been shortened to a two-week affair, after discussions between the KSCA and the broadcaster. The tournament format has also been tweaked to include 'qualifiers' and an 'eliminator' at the playoff stage, in place of semifinals. The KSCA was keen on Shivamogga as a fourth venue but the absence of floodlights and a lack of suitable hotel rooms were deterrents.

The KPL auction will be held at the Taj West End on Saturday, with the services of over 200 players going under the hammer.

The seven teams were allowed to retain two players each; the likes of Vinay Kumar, J. Suchith, Bharath Chipli, C.M. Gautam and Shubhang Hegde were all retained.

India's tour of West Indies (Aug 3 to Sep 3) and the Duleep Trophy (Aug 17 to Sep 8) are likely to have a bearing on auction strategy. K.L. Rahul and Mayank Agarwal, both of whom are part of the Indian Test team, are not part of the auction pool at all, while Manish Pandey, who figures in the Indian limited-overs sides, is expected to be available for some portion of the KPL.

It will be interesting to note if franchises chase the likes of K. Gowtham, Karun Nair, and Shreyas Gopal, given the possibility of their involvement in the Duleep Trophy.

Arjun Ranga, owner of Mysuru Warriors, did not believe that there would be no takers for big-name players. "I don't think so. That is what we expected last year; people avoided Shreyas (Gopal), but later he could come and perform. Manish Pandey has a window of around 10 days where he can come and play. So it all depends on how teams look at the schedule, who is available and when. Duleep Trophy players may not be available at all," he said.

Teams have a total purse of Rs.30 lakh (minus salaries of retained players), with a total of Rs.18 lakh available to be spent on a maximum of five Pool A players, and Rs.12 lakh to be spent on Pool B players.

Pool A players have a base price of Rs.50,000 and those in Pool B Rs.10,000. Squads should contain a minimum of 15 and a maximum of 18 players. This year, the KPL auction will also give franchises one right-to-match card, to retain one extra player.

Retained players: Bijapur Bulls: Bharath Chipli and K.C. Cariappa; Mysuru Warriors: J. Suchith and Vyshak Vijay Kumar; Ballari Tuskers: C.M. Gautam and Devdutt Padikkal; Belagavi Panthers: Shubhang Hegde and D. Avinash; Bengaluru Blasters: V. Koushik and Manoj Bhandage; Shivamogga Lions: Nihal Ullal and Prithviraj Shekhawat; Hubli Tigers: R. Vinay Kumar and Praveen Dubey.

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