Indian Premier League March 10, 2008

Rajasthan best placed for second auction

Jaipur is keen to buy Shane Watson © Getty Images

The second IPL auction takes place in Mumbai on Tuesday, with the Rajasthan Royals best placed to make the most of the situation. Eighteen players are up for grabs, with 16 Under-19 players being decided by draft pick.

Jaipur have US$2.05 million of unspent money, the most among the franchises, and are looking to sign up a couple of Australians, including Shane Watson and James Hopes. Most of the other franchises are focussing on picking up U-19 players on the auction date.

"We approached the first auction in a very careful manner. We know the players we want and now we will pick them," Fraser Castellino, the Royals' CEO, told Cricinfo. Shane Warne's presence, as captain-cum-coach, could prompt them to sign his Hampshire team-mate Watson.

However, fellow Australian Brad Hodge is not expected to be included in the auction despite his name appearing on the list on Sunday. Lancashire, where he is due to spend the coming county season as an overseas player, expect to have his services from the start of the new campaign in April.

"We spoke to Brad last night [Sunday] and he confirmed he has no intention of being part of the IPL this year," a Lancashire spokesman told Cricinfo.

The approximate amounts remaining with the other franchises are: Bangalore $374,000; Chennai $23,750; Delhi $71,250; Hyderabad $262,500; Kolkata $107,500; Mohali $292,250; and Mumbai $53,750. It was reported that Jaipur were fined for under-bidding in the first auction - they were required to spend US$3.3 million but spent only $2.9 million and were reportedly asked to pay the difference as penalty - but Fraser said that they have not paid any penalty so far.

Bangalore will focus on boosting their batting strength and will be looking to pick up at least one batsman during the auction.

The Hyderabad franchise, which recently signed up former Indian allrounder Sanjay Bangar, are not seriously looking to pick up anyone here. "We will be present in the auction but as of now it's unlikely we will pick anybody," a source said.

The Chennai and Mumbai outfits do not have much money with them and are looking to focus on the U-19 players in this auction. "We don't have any money left to buy any big player," a representative of the Chennai franchise said. "And we have quite a few foreign players already in our squad and only four can play can anyway. So we'll go after the U-19 players."

The Kolkata franchise's interest - or lack of it - in the auction can be gauged from the fact that they are unveiling their team in Kolkata around the same time the auction will be held in Mumbai.

The Mohali coach Tom Moody was cautious ahead of the auction. "There are only a few [franchises] that have got a few pennies left in the bank so we will see what happens," Moody told AFP.

Some of the franchises have made signings since the auction on February 20; these are largely junior players and those from the catchment areas.

The interim signings:

Delhi have drafted in Yo Mahesh, Shikhar Dhawan, Mithun Manhas, Rajat Bhatia and Mayank Tehlan.

Bangalore have enlisted the services of Sunil Joshi, Balachandra Akhil, R Vinay Kumar, Bharat Chipli, J Arun Kumar, KP Appanna, Devraj Patil.

Chennai have signed up Goa's Shadab Jakati, Uttar Pradesh's Sudeep Tyagi, R Ashwin, Srikkanth Anirudha and S Badrinath.

Mumbai have taken on the Baroda wicket-keeper, Pinal Shah, along with Mumbai Ranji players Abhishek Nayar and Ajinkya Rahane and Maharashtra's Yogesh Takawale.

Hyderabad have roped in Sanjay Bangar, Venugopal Rao, N Arjun Yadav, D Ravi Teja, Pragyan Ojha, D Kalyankrishna, P Vijay Kumar, M Sarveesh and Orissa's Halahar Das.

Mohali have signed up VRV Singh and two U-22 players in Karan Goel and Uday Kaul.

Jaipur have brought in Pankaj Singh, Mumbai's U-22 player Anup Revandkar and a reality cricket show player Dinesh Salunkhe, a legspinning allrounder.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo