MUMBAI: The stage is set for history to be rewritten. This time around the maximum number of players will be going under the hammer with 514 players in the pool - 219 capped players (169 Indians / 50 overseas) and 292 uncapped players (255 Indians / 37 overseas).
IPL’s official auctioneer Richard Madley says: “The first IPL auction in Mumbai which was held just six years ago but feels like it was held 600 years ago, no one knew what would go down on that day at the Oberoi hotel; it was a historic day for cricket and in my point of view an historic day for auctioning. Today is going to be no different in Bengaluru”
This year’s auction witnessed a full house of the regulars from the franchises. The likes of Ness Wadia and Priety Zinta from the Kings XI Punjab camp; Tom Moody, VVS Laxman and Krishnamachari Srikkanth from Sunrisers Hyderabad; Kolkata Knight Riders is present in full strength with CEO Venky Mysore, Jay Mehta and Juhi Chawla.
Royal Challengers Banglore owner Vijay Mallya was seen sporting a cool Mohawk hairstyle and was beaming after getting Yuvraj Singh for his team for a whopping Rs 14 crore, the highest bid in the morning session.
Mumbai Indians is represented by Nita Ambani and Anil Kumble, Rajhastan Royals has Rahul Dravid at the table along with the team management.
The ones missing from the auction this time are Rajasthan Royals’ Raj Kundra and Shilpa Shetty and CSK’s Gurunath Meiyappan after being in the news for all the wrong reasons.
This is the first time uncapped Indian players have earned a spot on the auction list. Also, until last year, auctions were done in dollars. Beginning this year until 2017, all auctions will be carried out in Indian rupees. The cap on players’ cumulative salary has got reduced to Rs 60 crore this year from Rs 75 crore. Though the highest base price of players will continue to be at Rs 2 crore ($400,000 last year).
This year’s auction also witnesses franchises exercise the right to match a bid, or use the joker card. Under this provision, a franchise can bid for a player who was in its squad in 2013, but wasn’t retained subsequently. The number of joker cards available with the team depends on the number of players retained - if a team doesn’t retain a single player, it can exercise the right to match three times. If a team retains five players, it can exercise it just once.
Delhi Daredevils, which hasn’t retained any of its existing players, is certainly going to be the most aggressive. Most other teams have retained at least a couple of in-form players. The Delhi franchise has the entire salary amount of Rs 60 intact.