IPL Team Bosses All Set to Walk a Tightrope to Build Winning Squads As 357 players wait to go under the hammer, team owners will have to strive to find the right mix
BCCI Officials Barred from IPL Auction
Mumbai: Owners, managers, captains and coaches of the eight Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisees clearly believe in the adage that best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. That explains why they burnt the midnight oil over the weekend, chalking out strategies for the players’ auction on Monday, for the upcoming season of the T20 league.
As 357 cricketers get ready to go under the hammer, the franchisees’ work is cut out for them: to find the right balance for their squads and have a ‘Plan B’ in place, because England and South African players will leave the tournament midway for international commitments. Sunder Raman, CEO at Reliance Sports and former COO of IPL, said: “There are a lot of valuable players in the mix. But it will be interesting to see the strategies of various franchisees as England and South African players will have to go back midway. That will change a lot of dynamics. Teams with several South African players will have to re-work their strategies.”
Experts say the auctions may see some aggressive bids as teams will have to decide whether they want to pick up international players and have advantage early in the playoffs, or go after players who can stay on till the end.
Harsha Bhogle, cricket expert and commentator, said, “Most important point for all the teams will be to keep sufficient number of replacements. They must have alrea- dy factored in that these international players will have to leave mid-way. But it could make some very strong teams lose balance.”
Meanwhile, in a latest development, the RPS Goenka Group-owned Pune team has replaced MS Dhoni as captain of the team with Australian Steve Smith. Team owner Sanjiv Goenka told ET that Smith will lead Rising Pune Supergiants for the 2017 season of the league, while Dhoni will remain part of the team. “We have replaced Dhoni as captain but he 42.9 42.6 46.2 54.4 48.2 45.1 48.5 51.6
will very much remain part of the team,” Goenka said. Also, Royal Challengers Bangalore has relea- sed Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc on the eve of the auctions, which will add ₹ 5 crore to its purse.
As per the latest information, of the total 357 players, 130 are international players from Australia (30), Sri Lanka (21), West Indies (21), New Zealand (19), South Africa (13), England (9), Bangladesh (6), and for the first time, five from Afghanistan and one from the UAE.
The pool consists of 62 Batsman, 117 Bowlers,148 all-rounders and 30 wicket-keepers. While seven players, including Ishant Sharma from India, are in top bracket of ₹ 2 crore, 15 players have reserve prices between ₹ 1 crore and ₹ 1.5 crore. There are also 227 debutants waiting to be picked up for the first time.
Virendra Sehwag, former Indian batsman and the directorcricket operations for Kings XI Punjab, said that his team would not bid aggressively. “We are looking for a middle-order batsman, one spinner, one Indian fast bow-
ler and one international left-arm bowler. I don’t think we will exhaust our purse,” he said.
Keshav Bansal, owner of Gujarat Lions, said while his franchise has a strong team under the leadership of Suresh Raina, the team will need a strong bowler and a middleorder batsman. “We have an aggressive strategy, but we will go after domestic players more. I am a strong believer of promoting domestic talent,” Bansal said. The maximum squad allowed is 27 players, including nine overseas players. The total purse available with the eight franchisees is ₹ 148.33 crore.
The Vinod Rai-headed Committee of Administrators at the Indian cricket board has stopped its top officials from attending the IPL players' auction, scheduled to be held in Bengaluru on Monday, reports
The committee issued an advisory making it clear that only those who ‘conform’ to reforms made mandatory by the Supreme Court would be eligible to attend.
“CK Khanna, Amitabh Choudhary, Anirudh Chaudhry and any other persons who claim to be ex-officio members of the IPL governing council on account of being office bearers of BCCI shall not be entitled to attend player auctions,” the advisory stated.
This is because the undertakings filed by these people on meeting the court order is still pending before the Supreme Court, it said.
Among other members of the IPL GC, only those “who are not disqualified” in terms of the strict understanding or interpretation of the disqualifications in terms of the various orders issued by the Supreme Court may attend the auctions, the advisory said.
The committee might designate specific individuals for the auction if the IPL governing council does not have more than two eligible officials.
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ARINDAM Purse Spent*