Bengaluru: There will be a strong focus on buying uncapped Indian players with eight franchises gearing up to pick a maximum of 76 out of the 350 plus, who will go under the hammer at the auction for the 10th Indian Premier
League (IPL), here on Monday.
This is the last auction of the 10-year cycle after which all players are set to go back into the auction pool. While
the maximum squad strength can be 27, most franchises like to keep squad base between 22 and 24.
The base price ranges from 1 to 20 million rupees to (Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 2 crore) and there could be a clamour for uncapped Indian players based on their performances during the recent Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.
It will be interesting if Test specialist Ishant Sharma, not one of the most sought after players in the shortest format, invites bidders at a premium base price of 20 million rupees (Rs. 2 crore).
At his base price and his erratic bowling in the format, Ishant is a tricky pick. Being a current India player is his
only USP as franchises also need faces for brands to invest in them.
But Irfan Pathan, now dubbed as an 'IPL specialist' with a base price of five million rupees (Rs. 50 lakh) and his all-round abilities, can get a few bids. Fast bowler Varun Aaron, with a reasonable three millions rupees (Rs. 30 lakh) base price, is expected to attract bidders.
Among the uncapped Indian players, young performers like Jharkhand batsman Virat Singh and teenage sensation Prithvi Shaw (both Rs. 10 lakh) can attract good bids.
Rookie left-arm speedsters T. Natarajan of Tamil Nadu, Kulwant Khejroliya of Delhi along with right-arm pacer Basil Thampi of Kerala could also invite good bids. All three are in the lowest base price bracket of Rs. 10 lakh.
Khejroliya and Natarajan have appeared for trials at multiple franchises and Thampi bowls at 140 clicks regularly
with an ability to hit the blockhole during death overs.
A clutch of top England players, including dashing all-rounder Ben Stokes, limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan (back in auction) and hard-hitting opener Jason Roy have entered the fray but in all likelihood will only be available for the month of April.
England are lined up to play two ODIs vs West Indies (May 5 and 7) and then another three-match series against South Africa, starting May 24.
One can safely assume that England players won't be available post April 30 and the high base price of Rs. 2 crore for Stokes and Morgan along with Rs 1 crore for Roy will make franchises think twice before going into the bidding war.