The IPL auction, set to be held in Bangalore on February 4, will see 144 players - including several former Kochi Tuskers Kerala players - go under the hammer. These players, picked according to a combination of their valuation and star worth, will be put up for auction.
The players who stand to pocket hefty deals are big-ticket players from the defunct Kochi franchise. Brendon McCullum, VVS Laxman and Sreesanth are the most valued names among several former Kochi players with reserve prices of $400,000, followed by the Sri Lankan pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Muttiah Muralitharan ($300,000), RP Singh and Parthiv Patel ($200,000), and Ravindra Jadeja, Vinay Kumar, Ramesh Powar and VRV Singh ($100,000).
The other leading players, based on a combination of their value and a star power, are England offspinner Graeme Swann ($400,000), fast bowlers James Anderson and Mitchell Johnson ($300,000), and Peter Siddle and Matt Prior, the England wicketkeeper ($200,000).
Given that there are several international series going on during the time of IPL 5, there is a slim chance that several overseas players may not available for the entire tournament. England tour Sri Lanka in March and April before hosting West Indies in May, so the participation of Swann and Anderson is doubtful. Johnson, in December, had been ruled out of cricket for "five to six months" after undergoing surgery on the big toe of his left foot in Melbourne, so franchises may be wary of his availability too.
West Indies will also be busy during the IPL, hosting Australia for the Frank Worrell Trophy in March and April, before heading to England in May. Members of Australia’s national team will also be unavailable until the Test Series in the Caribbean ends on April 27.
The franchises have been allowed to increase their squads from 30 players to 33, with an additional spot open for overseas players, giving the franchise owners more reason to loosen their purse strings. Each team is allowed to have 11 overseas players and among the nine participating in IPL 5, how swiftly Rajasthan Royals act at the auction will be interesting to see given that they have the most slots available - six. Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians have four each, Kings XI Punjab, Pune Warriors and Deccan Chargers have three, followed by Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Daredevils (two) and defending champions Chennai Super Kings (one).
Rajasthan, Deccan, Punjab, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Kolkata have $2 million available to spend, followed by Pune ($1.6 million) and Bangalore ($1 million). Bangalore had retained last season's Player of the Tournament Chris Gayle, after being given first rights to his services owing to the fact that he represented the franchise as a replacement for Dirk Nannes. Though the amount he has been signed for is yet undisclosed, it has reportedly been revealed to the IPL authorities and deducted from Bangalore’s auction purse.
One of the most sought-after players could be Ireland's big-hitting allrounder Kevin O'Brien, who shot into the limelight with a heroic 50-ball century (the fastest in World Cup history) against England in Bangalore last year. O'Brien was unable to join the IPL last season, but jumped at the chance when the IPL opened a window for players to register on the auction list. With a Twenty20 strike-rate of 139.46, including the fastest hundred in England domestic Twenty20 for Gloucestershire last year, the 27-year-old stands to attract significant bidding at the auction. His base price has been set at $50,000 but O'Brien could go for much more (last year Kolkata Knight Riders snapped up Netherlands' allrounder Ryan ten Doeschate for $150,000 after his base price was set at $50,000.)
Among the internationals, notable players are Brad Hogg, who made a comeback to the Australian side aged 40 for the Twenty20s against India, and former Australian batsman Brad Hodge. Hodge, the second highest run-scorer in Twenty20 cricket, was also a part of the Kochi franchise in IPL 4. Jacob Oram, Vernon Philander and Farveez Maharoof could also attract high bids for their all-round value.
Purse available for each team
Pune Warriors: $1.6 million
Callum Ferguson, Nathan McCullum, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Paine, Wayne Parnell, Jesse Ryder, Graeme Smith, Alfonso Thomas.
Kolkata Knight Riders: $2 million
Brad Haddin, Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan ten Doeschate, James Pattinson.
Delhi Daredevils: $2 million
James Hopes, Travis Birt, Aaron Finch, Colin Ingram, Morne Morkel, R van der Merwe, Mathew Wade, David Warner, Kevin Pietersen.
Chennai Super Kings: $2 million
George Bailey, Doug Bollinger, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Michael Hussey, Nuwan Kulasekara, Albie Morkel, Scott Styris.
Mumbai Indians: $2 million
Aiden Blizzard, James Franklin, Davy Jacobs, Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard, Andrew Symonds, Clint McKay.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: $1 million
Chris Gayle, Daniel Vettori, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Charl Langeveldt, Dirk Nannes, Luke Pommersbach, Andrew McDonald, Rilee Roussow.
Kings XI Punjab: $2 million
Adam Gilchrist, Ryan Harris, David Hussey, Shaun Marsh, David Miller, Nathan Rimmington, Stuart Broad, Dimitri Mascarenhas.
Rajasthan Royals: $2 million
Shane Watson, Johan Botha, Shaun Tait, Ross Taylor, Paul Collingwood.
Deccan Chargers: $2 million
Kumar Sangakkara, Daniel Christian, JP Duminy, Michael Lumb, Chris Lynn, Dale Steyn, Rusty Theron, Cameron White.