Johnson, Haddin valued at top base price for IPL auction
Freshly-crowned Ashes heroes Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin and Steven Smith are part of a group of 31 players that has attracted the highest base price of Rs 20 million (US$ 320,000 approx.) for the IPL player auction to be to be held in Bangalore on February 12 and 13. They are part of the 232-strong auction list of capped players from ten countries, which was finalised by the IPL last week and distributed to the eight franchises.
There are 46 Indians on the list including prominent players like Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha and Yusuf Pathan, all of whom have been listed at the top base price of Rs 20 million. Irfan Pathan, the allrounder, is not in the top bracket but has been valued at Rs 15 million.
One notable absentee is fast bowler Varun Aaron, who is back with the national team after a lengthy injury lay-off. It was initially thought that he had skipped the IPL, but it has emerged that he is still getting his paperwork in place.*
Among the overseas players, some of the notable names missing are the Sri Lanka pair of Kumar Sangakkara and Dinesh Chandimal, Australia's Michael Clarke and Mitchell Marsh, England's Stuart Broad, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, and West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach.
With Sri Lanka touring Ireland and England this summer players like Sangakkara - who also has a young family - are likely to have decided to cool their heels before the UK trip. However Sangakkara's team-mates Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews have decided to enter the auction even if they are bound to miss the business end of the IPL.
Among the first-timers, New Zealand allrounder Corey Anderson tops the list and could likely be one of the most sought-after players. Anderson hit the fastest ODI century, in 36 balls, against West Indies. The 23-year-old, who is now the fastest to register both a century and a five-for in an ODI career, has a base price of Rs 10 million. Anderson has been the best allrounder in the ongoing one-day series against India, which New Zealand have won.
Alex Hales, currently the No. 1-ranked batsman in Twenty20 internationals, is also searching for a top-bracket deal after that became a clause in the agreement he made with his county Nottinghamshire to be allowed into the auction. Both Hales and Samit Patel will only be allowed to participate should they secure the most lucrative contracts available.
The biggest England name in the list is Kevin Pietersen who is a free agent again after Delhi Daredevils opted not to retain any players. Although England's central contracts have clauses to allow players a period at the IPL - a period that has been extended under the new deals - Pietersen's IPL participation could well by a thorny issue again if there has been a breakdown in the relationship between him and England's team director Andy Flower as has been suggested.
As expected, Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes have not put their names forward for this year's tournament even though both would have gathered significant interest. After the 5-0 Ashes whitewash there is a desire in English cricket for the rejuvenation of the Test side to be made a priority and both Broad and Stokes, who impressed in the Ashes, will be central to that. However, Ian Bell, who does not play T20 for England, has put his name forward.
Perhaps a little more surprising is the absence of Jos Buttler, England's explosive limited-overs wicketkeeper, who has a strong reputation in Twenty20. However, not joining the IPL means he will have an extended run of four-day County Championship cricket at the start of the English season to push his claims to be England's Test keeper - a role that is now far more fluid following Matt Prior's omission during the Ashes.
Once again Pakistan players will be not part of the auction although two Pakistan-born players - Azhar Mahmood (England) and Fawad Ahmad (Australia) - have been listed.
Australian chinaman bowler Brad Hogg, at 43, will be the oldest capped player in the auction and is listed at reserve price of Rs 15 million. Hogg was part of Rajasthan Royals till IPL 2013, though he played just the one match last season. The other 40-plus capped player is former Sri Lanka offspinner Muttiah Muralitharn (Rs 10 million), who was with Royal Challengers Bangalore last season.
Ryan ten Doeschate, who was with Kolkata Knight Riders till last year, is the solitary player form the Associates (Netherlands) and has a base price of Rs 10 million.
According to the new IPL player regulations, it has been decided that all players will be paid in Indian rupees from this year. Overseas players will be paid in the currency of their choice at the prevailing exchange rate on either the actual date of payment or contract due date, whichever is beneficial to the player.
Click here for the full list of capped players at the auction.
*January 29 4.00pm GMT This story was updated after Varun Aaron's status was clarified
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo