Filling in the blanks
Unlike last year, where complete units needed to be assembled, the IPL franchises arrive at this year's auction - where only overseas players are up for grabs - with a few blanks to fill in. The teams are looking to bid for between one and three players (each franchise is allowed a maximum of ten foreign players). Cricinfo looks at the strategy each team could adopt.
Bangalore Royal ChallengersSlots available 2
Amount they can spend: US$1.945 million
What the team needs Labelled as a side of Test players last season, when they put up a dismal show, Bangalore need a commanding and flamboyant batsman, preferably someone who can destroy the opposition. Kevin Pietersen is the obvious bet - he has an impressive CV and franchise owner Vijay Mallya has the deep pockets to forge a prosperous relationship.
Kolkata Knight RidersSlots available 1
Amount they can spend: US$ 1.21 million
What the team needs With Pakistan's Umar Gul missing, Kolkata will be seeking a quality fast bowler to complement Ishant Sharma, Ajit Agarkar and Ashok Dinda. Shaun Tait or Jerome Taylor could be the ideal choice but lesser-known players like Aaron Bird of New South Wales, or Bangladesh's Mashrafe Mortaza cannot be ruled out. The other slot is that of a hard-hitting batsman or allrounder - Mortaza could be handy lower down the order. Kolkata could also be interested in Mohammad Ashraful, the Bangladesh captain, or Michael Dighton of Tasmania, a powerful hitter.
Deccan ChargersSlots available 2
Amount they can spend: US$ 1.90 million
What the team needs Two aspects missing in Hyderabad's high-profile line-up last year were a stable middle-order batsman and a strike bowler. Andrew Symonds was available for only part of the season, while Herschelle Gibbs and Shahid Afridi flopped, leaving Adam Gilchrist, Rohit Sharma and Venugopal Rao to shoulder the burden. The inability of the fast bowlers to make inroads hurt, too, and the team finished last. Shaun Tait could be a target along with an allrounder who can bat. South African-born Tyron Henderson, who now plays for Middlesex, could be a valuable signing.
Kings XI PunjabSlots available 2
Amount they can spend: US$ 1.45 million
What the team needs Owner Ness Wadia said recently he wants Andrew Flintoff desperately. Why? Because the England allrounder adds depth to the side. Punjab may be concerned about their fast bowling because Brett Lee is recovering from a foot surgery and Sreesanth hasn't played international cricket for a while. So the team needs a quick bowler like Flintoff, who can inspire others with his always-at-the-batsman bowling approach in addition to his batting skills.
Chennai Super KingsSlots available 3
Amount they can spend: US$ 2.0 million
What the team needs With Matthew Hayden available for the whole season, Chennai have a experienced hand at the top of their batting line-up. The middle-order, marshalled by captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and which also includes Michael Hussey, Subramaniam Badrinath and the hard-hitting Albie Morkel, is flush with experience and talent. The hole that perhaps needs to be plugged is that of an effective bowler. Kyle Mills and James Franklin could be be on their wish-list apart from Tait and Taylor.
Delhi DaredevilsSlots available 2
Amount they can spend: US$ 1.45 million
What the team needs A specialist batsman. With power hitters like Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and David Warner occupying the top order, JP Duminy, who showcased his versatility as a finisher during South Africa's series win in Australia recently, will be a favourite.
Rajasthan RoyalsSlots available 2
Amount they can spend: US$ 1.875 million
What the team needs Rajasthan have too many vacancies so expect Shane Warne and Darren Berry to adopt the same strategy of buying lesser-known players with enough potential. Duminy is a strong prospect for the defending champions. Rajasthan will miss Sohail Tanvir, the highest wicket-taker in the IPL last season, but Morne Morkel will be available as cover.
Mumbai IndiansSlots available 3
Amount they can spend: US$ 1.76 million
What the team needs Their priority is an allrounder and obviously Andrew Flintoff tops their list. If they don't get him they will go for a batsman - even Pietersen or possibly JP Duminy. The franchise also has an eye on Kieran Pollard of West Indies, a youngster whose powerful hitting elevates him above many other experienced hands.