Bangalore: India allrounder Ravindra Jadeja will be the top draw when some 144 players from 11 countries go under the hammer at Saturday's auction for the 2012 Indian Premier League (IPL).
The nine league franchises have been allowed to spend an additional $2 million as their squad strengths have been increased from 30 to 33, but no more than 30 players out of 144 on auction are expected to be bought.
Jadeja, who has a base value of $100,000, was bought by terminated Kochi Tuskers last year for $950,000. But after his match-winning performance on Friday in the second Twenty20 international in Australia, he is expected to go past the $1 million mark.
The Kochi franchise was terminated by the Indian cricket board last year after they defaulted on an annual bank guarantee of Rs.156 crore. All the players of the Kochi team have been put on auction.
Among them Vinay Kumar and Parthiv Patel could also be in demand while Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene and Kiwi opener Brendon McCullum are expected to be big catch.
Jayawardene, who captained the Kochi Tuskers, may not fetch the $1.3 million price that Kochi paid for him but the Indian cricket board has assured him that it would honour any difference between the new contract and the old one.
Retired Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan, who is playing in New Zealand domestic Twenty20 competition, could be a gamble for teams since he featured in just five out of 14 games for Kochi last season. He was bought for $1.1 million.
Another veteran player who might struggle to get a buyer could be VVS Laxman, who has a base price of $400,000. He played just three of Kochi's 14 games last season.