How the franchises could play it at the IPL auction
What: 2013 IPL auction
When: February 3, Sunday, 1100 IST
What to expectThe IPL auction rules could undergo an overhaul from the 2014 edition and the existing contracts for all players will end after the current season. Franchises would therefore view this auction only in terms of filling certain pressing gaps to meet their requirements for this season.
Quite a few teams have more than $5 million left of their $12.5 million purse coming into Sunday's auction, and can be expected to be involved in a tug of war for at least a couple of players. "Some teams are sitting with $6-7 million," a franchise official said. "So expect franchises to get into a crazy bidding for a player if they think it is fine, as it is just a one-year contract." This auction, however, may not see as many millions being thrown around as the previous ones.
Hot buysOnly two players, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting, have the maximum reserve price this year, of $400,000. While Ponting retired from internationals last year, Clarke, who had a prolific 2012, is expected to be chased by franchises who need a big player and captain. If teams like SunRisers Hyderabad or Pune Warriors need a new captain and are not able to buy Clarke, they will have to go for Ponting who scored 236 runs in the Big Bash League at an average of 39.33 and strike rate of 121, including two half-centuries.
Among the seven Indian players is Abhishek Nayar, with a reserve price of $100,000, who scored 966 runs in the Ranji Trophy this season. He would be on the list of several buyers who do not want to spend much on a player for a single season. Nayar, an in-form domestic allrounder, would give RP Singh, who had a poor outing in IPL 2012, a run for his money.
T20 specialistDirk Nannes has 37 wickets in domestic T20 tournaments in the last 12 months, at an average of 24.43. Priced at $200,000, he could be the main pick for a franchise looking for an overseas fast bowler with enough money in the bag.
Dark horseRilee Rossouw, a 23-year-old uncapped South Africa batsman, priced at only $20,000. With the experience of 36 domestic T20s and 781 runs behind him, Rossouw could offer a franchise what nobody else can for that amount of money.
Veteran pickThe oldest player, aged 38 is Herschelle Gibbs. Released by Mumbai Indians recently, Gibbs isn't the batsman he used to be even though he has played in T20 leagues in South Africa, England, Bangladesh, India and Australia in the last one year.
Unlikely buysTwo names that catch the eye in the auction list are Ricardo Powell and Wasim Jaffer. Powell, 34, played two T20s for the International World XI against Pakistan All Star XI in October, scoring 3 and 5. Jaffer has been concentrating on first-class matches, being a part of Mumbai's victorious Ranji side recently.
How the franchises could play itSunRisers Hyderabad have $7 million left to spend on the 2013 squad and can buy eight more Indian and five overseas players. They are expected to go all out for Michael Clarke to ease some pressure off their captain and lead batsman Kumar Sangakkara, who is currently injured. Also on their injured list is JP Duminy, increasing their need for a strong top-order batsman-cum-mentor. Hello Ricky Ponting. They may also need a spinner to assist Amit Mishra and have the options of Rangana Herath ($100,000), Johan Botha ($300,000) and Ajantha Mendis ($50,000) since they have the money.
Since Sachin Tendulkar is Mumbai Indians' new captain, they can now spend $2.3 million on specialist players instead of a new captain. They would look to beef up their top order, which failed to impress last season. Phillip Hughes, at $100,000, may suit their needs after scoring two ODI hundreds against Sri Lanka but Jesse Ryder has been scoring heavily in New Zealand's domestic season too. The new Anil Kumble-John Wright combination could throw up some new strategies.
Stephen Fleming, the Chennai Super Kings coach, said on Friday they would not be targeting overseas players and instead focus on the "seam bowling department, especially local bowlers". They possess Ben Hilfenhaus, Albie Morkel, Nuwan Kulasekara and Dwayne Bravo - all overseas bowlers. Their local options lie in RP Singh (released by Mumbai Indians), Sudeep Tyagi, Manpreet Gony, Pankaj Singh and Jaydev Unadkat.
Delhi Daredevils have the shallowest pockets with only $1.4 million left of their purse. To add to that, their pacers Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron and Irfan Pathan are all injured. So expect some cheaply priced local bowlers, such as Jaydev Unadkat, going their way. Allrounder Abhishek Nayar could be on their radar as they will lose Kevin Pietersen in the second half of the tournament and will not be able to accommodate Mahela Jayawardene, David Warner and Ross Taylor together.
Kolkata Knight Riders, the defending champions, are expected to be less aggressive in their bidding compared to last two years, when they were the fastest off the blocks as soon as the auction bell rang. "We might end up being a spectator," a Knight Riders official said. They do not have much to improve on from last year, except maybe an allrounder in the form of Abhishek Nayar or Thisara Perera.
Rajasthan Royals have $7.7 million to spend and seven Indian and four overseas slots to fill. They have never splurged and having included Samuel Badree after releasing Johan Botha, won't be too unhappy with their current line-up. Unless Paddy Upton suggests otherwise.
Kings XI Punjab may opt for a handy seam bowler to suit the conditions in Mohali. $6.9 million may allow them to opt for Vernon Philander or an RP Singh. A reserve wicketkeeper in Quinton de Kock ($20,000) might be a good try for one season.
Pune Warriors will go in for a new captain after releasing Sourav Ganguly, as Yuvraj Singh is unlikely to lead the side. Ricky Ponting would be a similar batsman-cum-mentor, who could revive the fortunes of the franchise.
For the full list of players who will be auctioned on Sunday, click here.
Vishal Dikshit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo