Unlike last year’s mega auctions, this is a smaller affair with just 87 slots to be filled from a list of 405 cricketers. The 10 franchises are left with Rs 206.5 crore to fill vacant slots, which means a tightrope walk at the bidding table.
Kolkata Knight Riders have the lowest purse of Rs 7.05 crore but they have 11 spots to fill including three foreign players. Sunrisers Hyderabad will in all likelihood be the biggest movers in this year’s auction as they have the largest purse (available balance Rs 42.25 crore) and the largest number of slots (14) to fill.
The smaller purse, however, will not dampen the intensity of the bidding as some of the top players have made themselves available for this year’s IPL. With at least some franchises hoping to revamp their squads, there will be stiff competition to buy the best cricketers.
The English, who became T20 world champions last month, will be the most wanted players on Friday. Versatile Ben Stokes, Sam Curranpromising young drummer Harry Brook and cunning Adil Rashid all wrote their names in pencil.
Intense bidding for expected allrounders
The most intense bidding is expected in the “allrounders” category. Franchises have their eyes on Stokes, Curran, Australia cameron green and New Zealand jimmy neesham, all with a base price of Rs 2 crore. Those with less purse can settle for Shakib Al Hasan from Bangladesh (1.5 crore) and Sikander Raza from Zimbabwe (50 lakh).
Among the batters, England’s Brook (base price 1.5 crore), who played a stellar role in England’s win over Pakistan in the ODI and Test series, will be in high demand. Although not a typical T20 batsman, Kane Williamson (2 crore), who was released by Sunrisers Hyderabad, is a proven client in the format and his experience in charge of the Black Caps will make him an obvious choice for franchises looking for a new captain.
Travis head has transformed into an explosive batsman for Australia in all formats and his great striking ability could see him in high demand.
In the list of bowlers, leg spinners Adil Rashid (2 crore) and Australian Adam Zampa (1.5 crore) will top the list. Among the pacers, two left arm seamstresses in Recce Topley (75 lakh) and Australian Jhye Richardson (2 crore) could spark a bidding war.
Mayank leads the list of Indian cricketers
Mayank Agarwal (1 crore), released by Punjab Kings management, is expected to top the list of Indian cricketers who will be on the franchise priority list.
What will be interesting to watch is how far certain franchises will go to buy talented and uncapped Indian cricketers like Naryan Jagadeesan (Tamil Nadu), Yash Thakur (Vidarbha), Samrath Vyas (Saurashtra), Rohan Kunnummal (Kerala ), Mukesh Kumar and Ishan Porel (Bengal).