IPL Auction preview: Yuvraj star attraction; Mustafizur, Negi, Pant dark horses
Veteran Yuvraj Singh and rookie all-rounder Pawan Negi could be among those who trigger a bidding war when 351 cricketers go under the hammer in the Indian Premier League (IPL) players' auction on Saturday.
Negi, who has just been named in the Indian team for the World T20 and is known to hit big sixes apart from his accurate wicket-to-wicket bowling, has a base price of only Rs 30 lakh. The 23-year-old is likely to fetch way beyond that amount when the eight franchises bid for players of their choice.
This year's auction will see two new franchises -- RPG owned Rising Pune Supergiants led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Intex mobiles' Rajkot based team Gujarat Lions led by Suresh Raina.
With a base price of Rs 2 crore, Yuvraj, who is the biggest Indian draw in the eight-player marquee bracket, has notched up the highest price at the two previous auctions for the Royal Challengers Bengaluru and Delhi Daredevils.
It is expected that Yuvraj, along with Kevin Pietersen (Base Price of Rs 2 crore) are likely to hit the million dollar mark once again. Pietersen, who has a huge draw in India, is also a big name from the marketing perspective of all the franchises.
Some of the lesser known names who could find franchises interested in them are Bangladesh left-arm pacer Mustafizur Rahman (BP Rs 50 lakh), who has enjoyed a lot of success against India, and stockily built Delhi wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant (BP Rs 10 lakh), who recently hit the headlines with the fastest 50 in the U-19 World Cup.
With Indian players available at a premium, even mediocre performers like Dhawal Kulkarni and Stuart Binny, with base prices of Rs 2 crore, could see teams fighting for them.
Irfan Pathan has always gone richer from every IPL auction and at a base price of Rs 1 crore, it may not be different this time.
Among the foreign players, explosive New Zealander Martin Guptill, with a modest base price of Rs 50 lakh, may find takers along with Australia T20 captain Aaron Finch (BP Rs 1 crore) and South African speedster Dale Steyn.
While a minimum of 16 and maximum of 27 players could be taken in each of the teams with a maximum of nine overseas players. Each team has a budget of Rs 66 crore for players' salaries.
Perennial woodenspooners Delhi Daredevils again have the maximum purse of Rs 37.15 crore to shop from while defending champions Mumbai Indians only have a kitty of Rs 14.40 crore.
Sunrisers Hyderabad also have Rs 30.15 crore to shop for players while KKR will be able to spend Rs 17.95 crore. Kings XI Punjab have Rs 23 crore while Royal Challengers Bangalore have Rs 21.625 crore respectively.
It will be interesting as to how Pune and Rajkot build their teams as they would be needing a minimum of 11 players and a maximum of upto 22 players with a purse of Rs 27 crore each.