| Bangalore | February 12, 2014 8:12 am
This IPL auction arrives on the heels of a major controversy. The Mudgal committee report has shaken Indian cricket. The IPL fraternity, however, looked unperturbed as the franchises were busy, giving finishing touches to their plans on the auction eve.
The ITC Royal Gardenia Hotel in Bangalore will host the players’ auction for the IPL 7 on Wednesday and it is going to be the biggest ever in the history of the tournament, with each franchise having Rs 60 crore to play with.
This year’s auction, however, comes with a difference. Just eight teams, new player-retention clause and Right to Match cards have changed the dynamics of the business. Also, there’s a wider pool this time with the England and Wales Cricket Board allowing their players to participate in the show.
A total of 514 players — 219 capped and 295 uncapped — will go under the hammer. Every franchise has to spend at least Rs 36 crore and the squad number cannot be more than 27. The upper limit on the number of overseas players is reduced to nine.
Last year’s champions and runners-up, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, don’t have enough room to manoeuvre — money-wise — because both have retained five players each and have just Rs 21crore left in their kitty. Delhi Daredevils, on the other hand, have retained none and have all of their Rs 60 crore kitty intact.
It is learnt that Delhi will go all out for Kevin Pietersen who, along with New Zealand’s Corey Anderson, could be the hottest property of this year’s IPL.
When Pietersen was released by Delhi, his international future was still undecided. Now that the ECB has called time on his international career, he will be available for the entire duration of the tournament. And in case of a frenetic bidding, Delhi will be able to effectively use the Rights to Match cards option because Pietersen was contracted to them last season. The option allows a franchise to buy back a player, who played for them last season, by simply matching the highest bid in the auction. According to a source, Pietersen could easily be the highest paid foreigner of the IPL 7.
Kolkata Knight Riders CEO Venky Mysore, however, is not so certain. “You never know. The IPL auctions have a habit of throwing up surprises. Things don’t always follow a pattern,” he said.
A rejuvenated Mitchell Johnson, released by the Mumbai Indians, could also be a star attraction.
What about the Indian superstars, especially the old hands like Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh? Both have kept their base price in the highest bracket of Rs 2 crore, but they’re India discards and there’s a possibility that it might affect their IPL chances.
Royal Challengers Bangalore official Brijesh Patel begs to differ. “Don’t think it will matter much, because this a different format and a completely different set up,” he told The Indian Express.
One thing is for certain that BCCI president N Srinivasan will not attend the auction. CSK coach Stephen Fleming will preside over it.
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