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

The Economic Times - - Brands: Creating Desire - Gaurav.Laghate @times­group.com Our Bureau.

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.

Team DD KXIP KKR MI RCB SRH RPS GL

ARINDAM Purse Spent*

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