Show me the money: Shreyas Iyer, Shardul, Chahar and Kishan set to become big buys at IPL auction
The 10 teams in the league, following the addition of Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Supergiants, will be bidding heavily for the Indian players in a list of 590 cricketers, including 227 overseas ones.
BENGALURU: Dashing batter Shreyas Iyer and the multi-skilled Shardul Thakur are expected to laugh their way to the bank as two of the costliest buys in the history of the Indian Premier League when the last mega-auction commences here on Saturday.
The 10 teams in the league, following the addition of Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Supergiants, will be bidding heavily for the Indian players in a list of 590 cricketers, including 227 overseas candidates up for grabs during the two-day event.
This year's auction might witness the maximum number of Indian million-dollar buys (Rs 7.5 crore and above) with more than 10 cricketers set to cross Rs 10 crore bid range and some expected to hit close to Rs 20 crore.
While Iyer could be the highest ever auction buy (in the 20 crore range), the likes of Shardul and Kishan (keeper-batter), with their bouquet of skills, can also fetch anything in the range of Rs 12-15 crore or even upwards if some franchises get into intense bidding wars.
Then there are Deepak Chahar and Yuzvendra Chahal, who can also get anything in the range of USD 2 million (Rs 15 crore) as both of them are proven international performers.
With megastars like Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings), Virat Kohli (Royal Challengers Bengaluru) and Rohit Sharma (Mumbai Indians) retained by their respective franchises, teams would look from flamboyant middle-order batters to good wrist spinners not to forget the all-rounders, who are always in demand.
While KL Rahul, at Rs 17 crore, is the player with the highest retention price, former Delhi Capitals skipper Iyer might force some of the franchises like Punjab Kings (Rs 72 crore purse), Sunrisers Hyderabad (Rs 68 crore) and Rajasthan Royals (Rs 62 crore) to break the bank.
These are franchises that need solid middle-order game-changers and also a member of the leadership group in case a Mayank Agarwal or Kane Williamson don't work out.
For Dhoni's CSK, it would be about going mostly go for tried and tested performers, who are known to win matches and championships while teams like Punjab and Rajasthan, as has been their habit, would bid insane amounts for left-field selections.
Even Kolkata Knight Riders where former Mumbai Ranji stalwart Abhishek Nayar, by virtue of being the eyes and ears of CEO Venky Mysore, has the maximum say might go all-out for Iyer as they require a captaincy candidate.
However, dodgy retention like Varun Chakravarthy, who is never fully fit and hardly plays anything save IPL, has put the team in a spot with only Rs 48 crore in purse and an entire team to build.
Since this is a mega auction and teams need to have a minimum of 18 players on their roster (everyone will go in range of 22 to 25 players), the Indian players -- both capped and uncapped -- will be highly valued.
That's the reason why last year's Purple Cap winner Harshal Patel has kept a base price of Rs 2 crore as he can get up to five times more than that while second-highest wicket-taker Avesh Khan has kept it as low as Rs 20 lakh, hoping it can go up by 50 times (Rs 10 crore).
Even not-so-great T20 performers like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane, at their premium base price, are expected to find takers while someone like Ambati Rayudu might go in for a good Rs 7 to 8 crore.
Bhuvneshwar Kuma, who is well past his prime, and Kuldeep Yadav, who is coming back, are also expected to get decent, if not handsome, deals.
Watch out for Deepak Hooda, who has upped his game since Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and is now also a capped India player, with a very decent first two ODI games against the Windies.
Warner, de Kock, Rabada, Holder star attractions
David Warner is back in form and expect at least three franchises to empty their coffers for the Australian opener who will grab anything between USD 1.5 to 2 million.
Apart from opening the batting, Warner is among the rare overseas captaincy candidates, having guided Sunrisers to the trophy back in 2016 before an ugly fallout last year.
It is expected that Lucknow Supergiants will bid handsomely for Warner while one candidate who can be the highest overseas buy is West Indies' Jason Holder.
PTI had already reported that RCB is ready to bid up to Rs 12 crore and it can even move up considering he can hit big sixes and is more than a handy medium-pacer who has a lot of variations up his sleeve.
His Windies teammates like veteran Dwayne Bravo, along with young bowlers like Odean Smith and Romario Shepherd, are also going to get good deals.
If anyone can match or even beat Holder and Warner for a bigger price tag, it is South African keeper-batter Quinton de kock, who will get multiple bids from franchises.
Delhi Capitals let him go at the expense of Anrich Nortje, who is currently nursing an injury but the GMR-JSW co-owned franchise might want to get Rabada back at any cost but they only have Rs 47.5 crore to buy players.
Rabada is also on the wish list of other franchises including Lucknow.
Watch out for Shahrukh, Nitish, Rahul, Devdutt
Even if M Shahrukh Khan doesn't make his debut on Friday against the West Indies, he will remain one of the most sought after players among the Gen-Next with an auction value of anything between Rs 5 to 8 crore because of a low base price which will inevitably start a bidding war.
Nitish Rana, the left-hander, and Rahul Tripathi, the right-hander, have been proven performers and they will go for much higher bids than the likes of established international stars such as Steven Smith, Jonny Bairstow or for that matter, Eoin Morgan.
Both Nitish and Rahul could go for around Rs 10 crore while someone like Devdutt Padikkal will also be in high demand.
Among the U-19 stars, the only one who can fetch a decent bid from the victorious team is Raj Angad Bawa as he is an all-rounder.
While Yash Dhull can get a bid but the franchises are now smart and know how U-19s can often not be up to the challenge given their past experience with the likes of Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Manjot Kalra and Shivam Mavi.
Among little-known domestic players, Yash Thakore, Abhinav Manohar, Mayank Yadav, Ritwick Roy Chowdhury, Abhishek Sharma, and Mujataba Yousuf could all get bids.