Mumbai: Sunday’s auction of players for the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is a much more low-key affair than it used to be. For one thing, few big names are likely to be among the cricketers who will go under the hammer in Chennai and franchise owners aren’t keen to splurge on player acquisitions this year.
Team owners would rather keep their powder dry for the auction that will precede the 2014 edition of IPL, when the composition of the sides will undergo a change, said three executives from different IPL franchises. At Sunday’s auction, the cricketers they choose will be available to play for them only in this year’s edition in April.
“Most of the franchises already have their core team in place so any buys now will be just to plug in the gaps,” said a senior executive from Rajasthan Royals, which is captained by retired Indian batsman Rahul Dravid.
In the inaugural season of IPL, cricketers were signed on by a team for a period of three years. If the franchisee wanted to retain a player, it had the freedom to extend the contract for another two years.
Each of the nine IPL franchises has $12.5 million (around Rs.69 crore ) to spend on this year’s squad. Each team can hire up to 33 players, of which a maximum of 11 can be foreigners.
Unlike in previous years, the salary cap this time around includes money spent on the entire squad, be it existing players, those obtained through the trading window or auction.
“The revised definition of the salary cap works more efficiently this year as it eliminates confusion on the spending capacity a team has,” said an executive from the Delhi Daredevils, owned by GMR Group.
Australian cricketers Ricky Ponting, Glenn Maxwell, Doug Bollinger and Michael Clarke, New Zealand’s Jesse Ryder, South African bowler Vernon Philander and Indian cricketer Abhishek Nayar are some of the cricketers available at the auction, although the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hasn’t still firmed up a final list of players for Sunday.
English cricketers who recently toured India aren’t exactly hot picks.
“The problem with the players from England is that if they are contracted through ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) then we have to await their directives, and if there are contracted through counties, then a no-objection certificate is required,” added one of the three executives cited above. “Not many teams want that hassle at this stage, especially since the new contract will be only for a year.”
According to information available on BCCI’s official IPL website, SunRisers Hyderabad, the new team owned by Sun TV Network Ltd and two older teams—Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals—have the maximum purse to spend at the auction.
In October, Sun TV won the Hyderabad franchise for Rs.425 crore for the next five IPL seasons after cash-strapped Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd’s team Deccan Chargers was terminated by BCCI because of financial reasons.
Sun TV has around $7 million to spend while the Punjab team has around $6.9 million and Rajasthan team has around $8.4 million (of the $12.5 million cap).
Teams like Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings that in the past bought star cricketers for high prices will now have to tighten their purse strings. The Chennai team has already spent around $9.3 million, the Mumbai franchise around $10.6 million and Bangalore some $9.7 million.