All eyes on today's IPL auction

All eyes on today's IPL auction

A damning report by the Mukul Mudgal committee on corruption in the Indian Premier League (IPL) notwithstanding, there was no dearth of excitement on the eve of the players’ auction for the seventh edition starting Wednesday.

Franchise owners and officials were busy with last-minute calculations and chalking out strategies ahead of the auction scheduled for Wednesday. A slight change in rules, like cutting down the squad size to 27 from 33 players and tighter purses, following player retentions, have ensured that the franchises approach the auction far more cautiously this time.

Chennai Super Kings—in the eye of a storm after the Mudgal committee report indicted Gurunath Meiyappan for his involvement in betting as a CSK official—and Rajasthan Royals will come to the auction with the smallest purse of Rs 21 crore, having retained five players each.

Delhi Daredevils, who have not retained any player, will have a purse of Rs 60 crore to splurge at the auction, and their aim will be to rebuild the side under new coach Gary Kirsten. Local outfit Royal Challengers Bangalore, who have a Rs 30 crore purse after retaining three players, will be eager to add more depth to the side in a bid to win their maiden IPL title.

The teams may have different boxes to tick in the auction, but the players they chase are more or less the same, and that, of course, with varying intensity because of the difference in purse. New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson could well be the star act after hammering the fastest century in one-day cricket last month.

Then, players like Kevin Pietersen, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Ross Taylor, Kiwi all-rounder James Neesham, Yuvraj Singh and local lad Robin Uthappa could attract heavy bidding, with the last four coming on the radar of the RCB.

Uncapped players will feature in the auction for the first time, and players such as Kedar Jadhav, the highest run-getter in this season’s Ranji Trophy, Karnataka’s K L Rahul, who scored more than 1,000 runs in Ranji Trophy, and Manish Pandey too may get reasonable bids.

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