Dhoni, Gilchrist lead the IPL gold rush

Published: Monday, February 18, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Bangalore: The explosive wicketkeeper-batsmen Adam Gilchrist and M S Dhoni are expected to rake in well over US$ 4,00,000 when the Indian Premier League franchises bid for players in a auction slated at Mumbai on Wednesday.

The swashbucklers are the most sought after players for any one of the teams in the Twenty20 league, with each side's spending capped at $5 million for a maximum of eight contracted players each.

"After them, a few drawers are empty. Nobody else will fetch that kind of a price," T A Sekhar, sports administration vice-president of infrastructure company GMR Holdings, was quoted as saying by Reuters on Monday.

Dhoni's base price in the open bid is reportedly set at $350,000, which places India's captain in the shorter versions of the game on par with 'icons' Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Yuvraj Singh, who will not go under the hammer.

'Iconic stars' will get 15 per cent more then the highest paid player in their side. However they have to play for their home sides. Tendulkar (Mumbai), Ganguly (Kolkata), Yuvraj (Chandigarh) and Dravid (Bangalore).

Representatives of the IPL's Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi franchises are working their budgets to net Aussie stars. Each of the eight IPL teams can recruit up to eight overseas international players and field four of them in the playing XI.

AdamGilchrist, who is retiring from international cricket next month, reportedly starts at $275,000, lower than team mate Ricky Ponting ($350,000) but his devastating batting ability and charismatic personality make him hot property.

"Any Australian player would figure high on our list, just for the sheer professionalism and commitment they bring to the field," says the former India international VB Chandrasekhar, now a key operations man in the Chennai franchise, owned by India Cements.

The former India fast bowler, T A Sekhar says he would be 'very keen' on Symonds as he is looking out for multi-skilled players.

"More than Ponting, I would go for Gilchrist and Symonds because they fit the bill. In this format, our eyes will be on multi-skilled players."

Charu Sharma, CEO-designate of the Bangalore franchise and a television commentator, explained why Symonds and Ponting were so sought after.

"Cricket-wise, Symonds brings an enormous batting ability in a T20 situation, gives you a bowling option and a fantastic fielding option. In Twenty20 you need a player who can change the game in two or three overs. Symonds clearly has that ability."

Ponting, he said, might take an over or two to get going. “But he can then hit the ball as hard as anybody else. He"s got great eye, great feet, brings a lot of experience, and a sound cricketing background with him."

Meanwhile Cricket Australia's rider that prevents more than two Australian players to play in an overseas side is a boon for IPL sides says Sekhar.

"It's good for us or else one team might have gone after three of four," he added.

Lankan and South African star cricketers also tops the wish-list of franchisee owners.

More than 80 international cricketers are expected to feature in the auction of the officially sanctioned multi-million dollar IPL, which gets underway on April 18.


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