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December 31, 2010
The IPL has pruned its auction list for the next season from a preliminary 416 to 350, and also increased the base prices of Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman. 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.
In the preliminary list, 21 players including former West Indies batsman Brian Lara had been in the highest bracket of US$400,000, a bunch that Ganguly has now joined after his reserve price was raised from $200,000. Laxman, who has had a vintage year in Tests in 2010, also had his base price bumped up from $200,000 to $300,000.
Ganguly and Laxman are not the first players to modify their reserve prices. Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble had earlier changed their base price from $200,000 to $400,000. An IPL official confirmed that the players had the right to choose their reserve price. "This has been the practice in every IPL," said the league's chief operating officer Sundar Raman, "we merely set the bands of reserve prices."
But one of the franchise officials put a different spin to Ganguly increasing his base price. "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 auctions have shown that base prices are not indicative of the final amount for which the franchise will buy the player. For example, at the first auction in 2008, Ishant Sharma was listed at $150,000 but was bought by Kolkata Knight Riders at $950,000, while Hayden was listed at $250,000 and was bought by Chennai Super Kings at $375,000. "With the requirement of each franchise minimal, virtually more than half of these players in the auction list will not attract any attention," an IPL official said.
Only 12 players were retained by their teams ahead of the auction, with three of the eight existing franchises - Kings XI Punjab, Deccan Chargers and Kolkata - choosing to release all their players into the auction pool. As a result, those three franchises will have the entire complement of $9 million at their disposal for the auction, while the other teams will begin the auctions with purses reduced in accordance to the number of players they retained. Chennai and Mumbai Indians, who retained the maximum allowed four players each, will go into the auction with only $4.5 million to spend.
The season is set to go ahead with 10 teams and 74 matches as originally planned, since the BCCI is not likely to move the Supreme Court after it lost its High Court appeals against the stay orders granted to the termination of Punjab and Rajasthan.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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