Cricketers from around the world will be glued to their television sets on Saturday as the action unfolds in the Indian Premier League auction where a bumper 578 players will be put under the hammer.
This auction - a major one and spread over two days - is the biggest since the league's inception in 2008. A total of Rs 443 crore is available to be spent as the eight teams battle it out with each other, hoping to form strong teams for the eleventh edition of the tournament.
Barring a maximum of three players which they were allowed to retain, all teams have to build from scratch and they would be keen the get their strategies right and ensure the money is well spent.
Of the 578, 360 are Indians with 62 of them having represented the country. Foreigners also form a reasonable chunk of the auction pool with 182 of them joining the fray, including global superstars like Ben Stokes - the costliest foreign player ever - Chris Gayle, Keiron Pollard, Mitchell Starc and Dwayne Bravo.
Among the Indians, middle-order batsman Manish Pandey, off-spinner Washington Sunder, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav, leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and under-19 captain Prithvi Shaw could attract strong bids.
Over the years teams have become wise with their spending, staying away from making wild purchases and loosening their wallets only for a few proven stars who they believe will make a difference.
The beauty of the auction though is the unpredictability. Generally, teams come prepared on who they want to acquire but when more franchises become interested in a certain player, the ensuing bidding war can get intense and interesting.
Also, teams on occasions may not be interested in a certain player but if they sense a franchise wants a player in their arsenal, they could just engage themselves in a bidding war to further tighten the budgets of their opponent.
This auction is the occasion where teams can assemble their squads which they can retain for three years. They would have made their plans and will hope to execute it over the weekend.