Mumbai: A total of 78 players Indian and international will go under the hammer today as the landmark day in Indian cricket has dawned with cricket experts around the country fine-tuning software programmes and crunching numbers ahead of the player's auction to secure the world's best players in a brand new DLF Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 tournament.
Eight Team owners or franchisees have brought their teams for a total staggering amount of more than 700 million dollars and include several Indian billionaires as well as two Bollywood stars.
They have been burning midnight oil to formulate their strategies with the cricket specialists specially appointed for the upcoming bid about how to disburse the USD 5 million (Rs 4.2 million) each bidder has to spend on players during the auction that will kick-start the Indian Premier League.
The auction will be a private one to be conducted by an independent professional auctioneer Richard Madley, who will be the sole arbiter to all aspects of the auction, the IPL said in a statement ahead of the pioneering effort. The auction will begin at a five-star hotel in Mumbai at 1100 hrs IST on Wednesday and the process may go on for 10 to 12 hours.
Commenting on the player auction guidelines, IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi said, ''The player auction rule is our attempt to make tomorrow's auction a huge success.'' ''The Governing Council of the DLF Indian Premier League is pulling out all stops to ensure a free, transparent and fair bidding process for a truly historic first ever auction of cricketers in India,'' he added.
Included among the global cricket super stars on sale are Australian captain Ricky Ponting, highest Test wicket taker Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka and controversial Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar. Also among the list of players are retired Australian greats Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath and South Africa's Shaun Pollock, apart from retiring Australian Adam Gilchrist.
Each player has an annual base player fee. The fee assumes that the player is available for the entire season of the IPL season including, if applicable, the Champions League (expected to happen in October).
This fee will be adjusted on a pro-data basis, depending on the availability of players in the first year.
The IPL Governing Council has decided that not more than five million dollars and not less than 3.3 million dollars can be bid for each lot of international players by each franchise, to ensure a level playing field in the tournament.
Each franchise would have to buy sixteen players at the minimum, out of which four should be from India and under the age of 22 and four other local players hailing from catchment areas earmarked by the IPL for each of the eight franchises.
Five icon players of India -- Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag - are not part of the bid process as they have to play for their respective city franchises - Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mohali and Delhi.
Among the icon players, Tendulkar will be part of the Mumbai franchise owned by Ambani's REL, Dravid will play for the Bangalore franchise owned by Vijay Mallya's UB Group, Ganguly for Kolkata owned by Shah Rukh's Red Chillies Entertainment, Yuvraj for Mohali owned by Preity Zinta, Ness Wadia, R Burman and Group and Sehwag will lead the Delhi team, owned by GMR Holdings.
The other three franchise owners are Deccan Chronicle Group (Hyderabad), India Cements (Chennai), Delhi (GRM Group) and Emerging Media Group (Jaipur).
The player fees of any icon player - being 115 per cent of the highest player fee in that franchise's squad - will count towards the upper limit. The cap placed on bids for a pool of international players by each franchise does not include the local (apart from the iconic player) and under 22 players whose minimum salary has been fixed as US 20,000 dollar.
For the Ranji and other auction players the base price has been fixed as US 50,000 dollar per year.
The contract with the player will be for a fixed term of three years.
Each franchise can have a maximum of two centrally contracted Australian players in its squad or a maximum of two Australian players from each state association in its squad, as per the agreement arrived at between Cricket Australia and IPL.
The IPL is scheduled to be held from April 18 to June 1.
Meanwhile, the umpires list for the inaugural IPL tourney does not include West Indian Steve Bucknor, with whom India had a problem in the Sydney Test.
The seven elite umpires confirmed are Rudy Koertzen, Simon Taufel, Billy Bowden, Asad Rauf, Mark Benson, Billy Doctrove and Daryl Harper.
Bangalore will host the opening tie between Bangalore and Kolkata on April 18. Mumbai will host the semifinals (May 30, 31) and final on June 1.
Base price for top player
|Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid,
Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag and MS Dhoni
||Rs 1.60 cr*|
|Anil Kumble and Harbhajan||$250,000||Rs 1 cr*|
|Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh,
Robin Uthappa, Murali Kartik and Dinesh Karthik
||Rs 80 lakh*
||$175,000||Rs 70 lakh*|
|Rohit Sharma||$150,000||Rs 60 lakh*|
|Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina and Yousuf Pathan
||Rs 50 lakh*
|Joginder Sharma Rs 40-50 lakh
||$100,000-$125,000||Rs 40-50 lakh*
|Munaf Patel and Ishant Sharma||$100,000||Rs 40 lakh*|
|Shane Warne||$390,000||Rs 1.56 cr*|
||$340,000||Rs 1.36 cr*|
||$2,75,000||Rs 1.10 cr*|
|Matthew Hayden||$125,000||Rs 50 lakh*|
|Shoaib Malik||$292,500||Rs 1.17 cr*|
|Steven Fleming||$340,000||Rs 1.36 cr*|
|Sanath Jayasurya, Kumar Sangakkara, Muralitharan,
|$242,500||Rs 97 lakh*|
|Daniel Vittori||$217,500||Rs 87 lakh*|
|Grahan Smith, Herschelle Gibbs||$220,000||Rs 88 lakh*|
|Kallis||$195,000||Rs 78 lakh|
|Boucher||$175,000||Rs 70 lakh|
|Scott Styris||$145,000||Rs 58 lakh|