The second IPL auction on Friday doesn't promise quite the thrill of last year, but now that the nuts and bolts are in place, expect it to be a thrilling event in anycase. The franchises have finalised their wish-list. A total of 50 players are now available, but only 17 of them will ultimately be sold between the eight franchises. Chennai for instance can buy upto three players, but Kolkata have already filled up nine of their slots, so they can buy just one player. Some teams have already purchased players, so they won't be allowed to spend their entire budget of $2 million each. Between the teams the total purse is about $14 million. Six of the franchises have ended their contracts with Pakistan players - Younis Khan and Shoaib Akhtar among them. The four players who have been retained, including as Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir, will temporarily be replaced as Pakistan players have been barred from this year's tournament.
The man to watch out for are England's Kevin Pietersen. Sources say he is almost a done deal for the Bangalore Royal Challengers and that he may not get too much more than his base price of $1.35 million dollars. M S Dhoni may just be safe as far as Pietersen's price is concerned.
The jaw-dropper may be Andrew Flintoff. If reports are to be trusted, Chennai, Mumbai and Kings XI Punjab will fight very hard for him and may push his price to even near the $2 million mark.
South Africa's Jean Paul Duminy could pocket more than double of his base price of $3,00,000 and England's Owais Shah could get a substantial bid too.
Kyle Mills is an important New Zealand bowler and he is important not just because of his form but also because he is available for the entire duration of the IPL.
Nuwan Kulasekera is the second-ranked ODI bowler in the world and an important player this time in the IPL.
Fidel Edwards is a handy West Indian bowler who is currently in the West Indian team. Another West Indian batsman up for grabs is Dwayne Smith who played in the IPL last year and did not do too badly.
Some teams have missed out on bowlers, especially since the Pakistanis are now out, and they might be tempted to go in for someone like Shaun Tait although he is a little bit expensive.
Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan is the highest-ranked all-rounder in the ICC's ODI list and he is not very expensive. He is sure to be picked up this time.