Some IPL cricketers think they are worth more than their initial base prices for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) auction. Indian veterans Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly have doubled their reserve values from $200,000 to $400,000, effectively lifting themselves from the thirs bracket to the top-most tier for the auction. Consequently, they join West Indian power-hitting opener Chris Gayle and maestro Brian Lara, in the elite grouping.
Meanwhile Deccan Charges mainstay VVS Laxman has also lifted his base price from the third bracket to the second in the wake of as stellar year in Test cricket. All 80 players named in the top three price bands of the preliminary list have retained their place in the final list for the auction, which is scheduled to be held in Bangalore on January 8 and 9.
The IPL has also trimmed the total number of players appearing in its auction list from 416 to 350. One official provided the rationale behind Ganguly's decision. "Ganguly might have understood that there are not many franchises willing to even consider him. But to my knowledge one of the franchises has already assured him that they will buy him out. So, if there is only one franchise willing to buy but assuring him why not hike his price then. Probably that made Ganguly hike his price."
Previous IPL auction shave shown that players more often than not are sold at prices far higher than their base values. For instance in the inaugural auction in 2008, Australia's Matt Hayden was listed at $250,000 and was bought by Chennai Super Kings at $375,000, while India's Ishant Sharma outstripped his initial value of $150,000 to be bought by the Kolkata Knightriders for $950,000.
Only a dozen players were retained by their teams ahead of the auction, with three of the eight original franchises - Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knightriders and Deccan Charges - choosing to throw all their players into the auction pool. As a result, those three teams will have the entire budget of $9 million at their disposal for the auction, while the other teams will bid with purses reduced in accordance to the number of players they retained.
Since the BCCI is not likely to pursue their cases against the Kings XI Punjab and the Rajasthan Royals, the fourth edition of the League is set to include 10 teams playing a total of 74 matches.