IPL longlist features 651 uncapped players
Manish Pandey, Unmukt Chand, Rajat Bhatia, Rishi Dhawan, Iqbal Abdullah and T Suman are some of the names that feature in the 651-strong longlist of uncapped players, who will be part of the IPL auction for the first time. The franchises received the list on Thursday morning and have till February 3 to send the names they are interested in to the IPL, which will then make a final shortlist for the player auction that takes place in Bangalore on February 12 and 13.
A further 50 names are likely to be added to this longlist, which was drawn up after receiving nominations from all state associations in India and eight other countries. The list has been divided into two groups: the first one comprises 127 players who have already played in the IPL, while the second features potential first-timers.
The absence of uncapped players in the auction thus far was a controversial topic, with many franchises complaining of horse trading by their richer rivals who, it was alleged, were luring players with under-the-table deals.
In 2011 Pandey along with Ambati Rayudu and Suman were the most sought after Indian uncapped players. After some uncertainty over where they would go, Pandey eventually played for Pune Warriors while the Andhra Pradesh pair of Rayudu and Suman was snatched up by Mumbai Indians.
The IPL defended the non-inclusion of uncapped players in the auction then, saying there were already rules in place with players getting a fixed fee of Rs 1 to 3 million (US$16,000 approx.) and the contracts being governed by the BCCI. But the reality was different. Although the franchises were asked by the IPL not to approach an uncapped player till the auction was over, most tried to lure players with "perks", as one official put it in the past.
With the IPL restricting the squad strength to 27 this year, including a cap of nine overseas players, the franchises have been forced to lay more emphasis on domestic Indian players. However the quality of talent in the uncapped market has always been in short supply and the franchises once again feared horsetrading would be the norm.
Fortunately for them, the IPL finally decided to bring uncapped players into the auction. Their base prices have been fixed between of Rs 1 million and Rs 3 million. Pandey, the IPL's first Indian centurion, and Dhawan - this season's leading wicket-taker in the Ranji Trophy - have listed their base prices at Rs 2 million, while the likes of Suman, Bhatia, Chand and Abdulla are in the top uncapped bracket at Rs 3 million.
Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo