Right-to-Match - a new tool for IPL franchise owners

Interested franchises can now pocket players who have played for them in the previous edition even “after the hammer comes down” on the bidding.

Franchises would want to prevent ‘ambush bidding’ from eating into their total purse.   -  AP

The ‘right-to-match’ card has thrown an intriguing element into the IPL auction.

A franchise will be allowed to retain a maximum of three cricketers and have the ‘right-to-match’ the price of an equal number of players with the total number from both methods not exceeding five.

What then is the ‘right-to-match’? Take for instance the Mumbai Indians. If it decides to retain three players, then the franchise could ‘price-match’ at the auction two other cricketers only if they had played for it the last season.

Read: CSK, RR allowed to retain players

Imagine a scenario when there is hectic bidding for a particular player and a franchise clinches it with, say, Rs. six crore. Then, another team - if the cricketer concerned had represented it in previous edition - has the right to match this amount and win the player.

This ‘price-match’ is done “after the hammer comes down.”

Mind Games

Mind games are also bound to be played. If it becomes known that a franchise is keen on a particular cricketer, then the other teams could engage in serious bidding knowing fully well that the final amount would be ‘price matched.’

Read: Who may retain whom?

What do the other franchises gain from such an endeavour? Well, they would, by inflating the price, eat into the total purse (Rs. 80 crore) of the ‘price-matching’ team leaving the field clearer for the players they want.

There is another side to this ‘ambush’ bidding. If the franchise in question, belying expectations, finally decides against bidding for a player it was widely expected to go all out for at the auction, then the team nailing the bid could be left with a cricketer it doesn’t want …at a high price!

All said, franchises would be tight-lipped about the players they have their sights on to avoid ‘ambush’ bidding. As far as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) are concerned, they can retain and price-match only those players who played for it in 2015 and then represented either Rising Pune Supergiant or Gujarat Lions.

The reason for this is simple. CSK and RR are returning to IPL after two years and the Pune and Gujarat franchises will not be around this time.