The 2018 IPL auction will be held on January 27 and 28, in Bangalore. That means the mega auction will coincide with the final two days of India's third Test on the tour of South Africa; Virat Kohli's team is scheduled to play the final Test of the South Africa tour from January 24-28 in Johannesburg.
ESPNcricinfo understands that the IPL has asked all eight franchises to submit their final list of retained players by January 4. The IPL is likely to finalise the pool of players who will be up for auction around January 18.
At the IPL Governing Council (GC) meeting, held on December 6, one of the members had expressed reservations about the auction clashing with the Johannesburg Test. Also some of the franchises were interested in seeing how the domestic players fared in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy (India's domestic Twenty20 competition), which ends on January 28, ahead of the auction.
The GC had also approved the retention rules at the same meeting. Franchises have been allowed retain a maximum of five of their existing players through a combination of player retention before the auction and the use of right-to-match cards during the auction.
The IPL also set a salary cap of INR 80 crore (US$12.4 million approx) for every team, and made it clear that franchises will need to spend a minimum 75% of the purse.
Of the five players, a franchise can retain a maximum of three through retention in the lead up to the auction, and a maximum of three through right-to-match cards during the auction. If a franchise does not retain any player before the auction, it can still retain only three using right-to-match cards. A right-to-match card gives the franchise the ability to buy back its player during the auction by matching the highest bid made for the player by another franchise, once the bidding is over.
The other restrictions on player retention are: a maximum of three capped Indian players can be retained, and only two overseas players and two uncapped Indian players can be retained.