Bangalore, Feb 3: Countdown for the IPL Auction 2012 has begun, as it is scheduled to start at 11am on Saturday at the prestigious ITC Royal Gardenia, Bangalore. India's Ravindra Jadeja is expected to get the highest bid in tomorrow's auction.
A total of 144 players will go under the hammer on Saturday which will see the proceedings hosted by Richard Madley. Though the pool has as many as 107 foreigners, there are no takers for these players, while many are predicting a maximum of 41 players, as the franchises have been allowed to spend an additional amount of $2 million in the auction to be held tomorrow.
Though the squad sizes have been increased from 30 to 33, franchises are not supposed to take more than 30 players on board. In short, its about mind over money as the franchises have to be very smart, evaluating their weak points, making worthy use of their $2 million by shopping smart than in bulk.
India's all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja is expected to get the highest bid this season as his qualities being an all-rounder coupled with excellent fielding skills has attracted all the franchises as two major teams have already shown interest in having him in their respective squads.
He was bought for $950,000 by Kochi Tuskers, Kerala last season , as Jadeja is expected to go for over $1 million, could also end-up in a tie-breaker situation, with more than two franchises bidding the maximum of $2 million to get his services for their teams.
BCCI terminated Kochi Team from being a part of the IPL season 5 last September for breaching its terms of agreement. Having terminated the Kochi franchise, board encashed Kochi's bank guarantee worth Rs 156 crores ($30.39 million) and decided to include the players in the pool, for the IPL auction.
India's Vinay Kumar and Parthiv Patel who represented Kochi in the last season are also in great demand, as they are available throughout the IPL season.
Among the foreign players, Brendon McCullum, known for his explosive starts and Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene are in demand as they were the leading run-scorers for Kochi last year. Though Jayawardene was paid $1.3 million last year, the difference between the new and the old contracts will be honoured by BCCI.
Muthaiah Muralitharan, another foreign player, who is currently playing New Zealand's domestic T20 championship, is also considered but many would not be keen on bidding for this retired off spinner from Sri Lanka as he represented Kochi in 5 out of 14 matches last year as one of the officials said, he would be surprised if Murali went for a lot, as he was bought for $1.1 million last year.
Vijay Mallya owned Royal Challengers Bangalore successfully retained Chris Gayle, for $100,000 less than he was paid last season, as he has signed a two year contract with RCB for $550,000.
If RCB had not retained Gayle, he would have commanded the maximum of $2 million in the auction, for his match winning abilities.
Franchises might not be interested in bidding for foreign cricketers as each team is allowed to play only four foreign players while many franchises think they have enough good players in their squad, they are also considering the availability of players as the IPL schedule overlaps with many international tours including West Indies, Australia and England.
As there are many English players in the pool who will go under the hammer tomorrow, franchises might be interested in a few players like Graeme Swann, James Anderson and Ian Bell as they are available in the month of April. James Anderson who is not representing the national team has said, he can get back to the national side with a good performance in this year's IPL.
While West Indies all rounder Andre Russel who played a vital role in his team's performance in the ODIs, is also in demand. Meanwhile, the auction might also witness another platform for Kevin O'Brien to show his heroics in IPL as he shocked everyone especially England, as he scored the fastest century in the World Cup might also get an IPL team.
Moreover, Bradd Hogg, Stuart MacGill both aged 40 are appearing for the first time. Since they don't have any international commitments, and are placed at a base price of $100,000 each, they could get bids from more franchises, while the only thing would be how well they might perform in Indian conditions.
While the total number of Indian players is just eight, suggests that many foriegn players will get an team, though most of them do not have hopes of playing the IPL season 5 as the rule of foreign players restrict the franchises to bid for such players.English cricketer Graeme Swann has the highest reserve price of $400,000 while
England's James Anderson, and Australia's injured paceman Mitchell Johnson have reserve prices of $300,000 .
The next bracket, $200,000 features Australia's Peter Siddle, England's Matt Prior and South Africa's Vernon Philander who made his debut against Australia in Nov last year.
The list does not feature Pakistan players, but Azhar Mahmood who is currently a British citizen finds a place, similarly Imran Tahir, born in Lahore also features in the list, they have a reserve price of $100,000.
All said and done, it remains to be seen how many foreign players will get an IPL home, as the focus is only on a few amongst the 107 foreigners, while Kochi players too will attract more franchises. Looks like Ravindra Jadeja is all set to grab the attention in tomorrow's auction.