The 2018 edition of the Vivo Indian Premier League player auction will see 1,119 players from 13 cricketing nations go under the hammer as franchises prepare to beef up their squads for the tournament.
The player auction will take place over two days, January 27 and 28.
According to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the list sent out to the franchises has 281 capped players and 838 uncapped players, including 778 Indian players and three players from associate nations, countries where cricket is firmly established and organised but which do not qualify for full membership of the International Cricket Council.
In the recently concluded player retention process, the eight franchises together retained a total of 18 players, 12 Indian and 6 overseas. The teams can exercise the right to match during the auction, depending on the number of players retained before the auction.
Source: BCCIOf the 1,119 players in the auction pool, 282 are overseas players. These include 58 Australian players, 57 South African players and 39 each from West Indies and Sri Lanka. Among the associate nations, two players from Scotland and one player from the US have registered for the auction this year.
Indian players up for grabs include heavyweights like Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh, off-spinners Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh, Ajinkya Rahane and Kuldeep Yadav, and openers K L Rahul and M Vijay. The overseas players the franchises will want to bid for include Chris Gayle, Ben Stokes, Chris Lynn, Eoin Morgan and pacers Mitchell Starc, Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Ben Stokes (the most expensive player in the previous auction), Angelo Mathews and Pat Cummins.
With the salary purse beefed up to Rs 800 million this year, the franchises are expected to put up a tough fight for the players they want in their teams. After the retention process, the teams have depleted some of the funds, but franchises like Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab, having retained just one player each, go in with a hefty Rs 675 million (see chart).