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IPL auction: Will records be broken? Who are the players to watch? Who's got the most money?

Here's everything you need to know about the 2023 IPL auction

Deivarayan Muthu
Meet the potential big buys of IPL 2023  •  ESPNcricinfo Ltd

Meet the potential big buys of IPL 2023  •  ESPNcricinfo Ltd

When is the IPL auction 2023 taking place, and where?
It's in Kochi on December 23 from 2.30pm IST. It's a regular auction this time, as opposed to the mega version last held ahead of the 2022 season, when the ten franchises had to rebuild their squads virtually from scratch.
Okay, who has the most money to spend this time? And who has the least?
Sunrisers Hyderabad, who released as many as ten players ahead of the auction, have the largest purse - INR 42.25 crore. Kolkata Knight Riders also made wholesale changes to their squad by letting go of ten players, but they were active during the trading window. Having traded in Shardul Thakur from Delhi Capitals, and Lockie Ferguson and Rahmanullah Gurbaz from Gujarat Titans, Knight Riders now have the smallest purse to spend - only INR 7.05 crore.
How many players are in the auction?
The longlist originally included 991 players, the final list has 405: 273 from India and 132 from overseas, including four from Associate nations. A maximum of 87 players, of which 30 can be from overseas, can be bought at the auction because of the limited slots available.
Tell me about player availability.
The Australian and English players will be available for the entire IPL season, despite the Ashes scheduled to begin in mid-June. West Indies and New Zealand players will also be available for the entire season. However, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka players will likely miss a chunk of the tournament because of international commitments.
There is plenty of buzz around Sam Curran. What are the chances of him fetching the highest bid in IPL auction history?
In 2021, South Africa allrounder Chris Morris became the most expensive player when Rajasthan Royals snapped him up for INR 16.25 crore. The chances of Curran breaking that record are fairly high.
The left-hander can bat anywhere in the XI and is capable of pulling off those super-specialist roles, like disrupting a spinner's work in the middle overs or even finishing an innings. With the ball, Curran fronts up during the tough overs in the powerplay and at the death. After having recovered from a stress fracture, Curran has transformed himself, becoming England's designated death bowler at the 2022 T20 World Cup. He did such a good job that he won the Player-of-the-Tournament award.
Fellow England allrounder Ben Stokes and Australia's Cameron Green are also part of the high-profile Set 2 at this auction, but expect Curran to be in greater demand because he is only 24, can perform any role, and is more likely to pay off as a long-term investment.
Any less-known Indian names I must keep an eye out for?
Well, quite a few. Punjab allrounder Sanvir Singh could be in demand, given his ability to smash big sixes and bowl handy medium-pace. Sanvir is also a good player of spin, thanks largely to his stints in Chennai's first division league. With many franchises on the lookout for an Indian wicketkeeper-batter, Tamil Nadu's N Jagadeesan, who reeled off a record five successive hundreds in the 50-over Vijay Hazare Trophy, could also cause a stir.
Vidarbha fast bowler Yash Thakur, Himachal Pradesh finisher Akash Vasisht, and his team-mate Vaibhav Arora, who can swing the ball both ways, are the others you should watch out for. Then there are a bunch of young quicks from Jammu & Kashmir, including Sharukh Dar and Mujtaba Yousuf.
Who are the major attractions from outside the top-tier cricket-playing countries?
Well, there's Ireland left-arm quick Josh Little, who claimed a hat-trick against New Zealand in the recent T20 World Cup. He has already had a small taste of the IPL, having been a net bowler with Chennai Super Kings during their camp in Surat in 2022. Has he done enough for Super Kings to bring him into their main squad?
UAE legspinner Karthik Meiyappan, who had also bagged a hat-trick during the T20 World Cup and was more recently picked by Sharjah Warriors for the inaugural ILT20, could pique the interest of franchises. Karthik is a modern wristspinner and has the experience of having been a net bowler for CSK and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Who are the youngest and oldest players at this auction?
Fifteen-year-old Afghanistan mystery spinner Allah Mohammad Ghazanfar is the youngest. Ghazanfar has played just three T20s so far but has impressed the franchise scouts so much that he has made it to the IPL auction shortlist. Ghazanfar was also part of Australia's BBL draft but didn't find any takers there.
Former India legspinner Amit Mishra, who turned 40 last month, is the oldest player in this auction. He was unsold at the 2022 auction, but considering the recent dearth of Indian wristspinners, he might work his way back into the IPL.
Any prominent players that aren't part of this auction?
IPL stalwarts Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard have retired from the league to become coaches at CSK and Mumbai Indians respectively. England allrounder Chris Woakes has pulled out of the IPL for a crack at the Ashes through county cricket. The Australian trio of Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Steven Smith have decided to skip the auction as well, as has Sam Billings who withdrew from his deal with Knight Riders. West Indies opening batter Evin Lewis, who was part of Lucknow Super Giants last season, and Tim Seifert, the New Zealand and Trinbago Knight Riders wicketkeeper-batter, are also missing from the IPL auction.
Will there be any left-field picks from the SA20 player pool?
It can't be ruled out as franchises are looking to maximise their global presence and grow players within their set-up. Titans' wicketkeeper-batter Donovan Ferreira, who was picked up by Johannesburg Super Kings, and Dolphins' yorker specialist Ottniel Baartman, who was among Sunrisers Eastern Cape's first signings, might be on the wishlist of their IPL teams as well.
Tell me about the accelerated process of bidding at the auction
After the first 86 names have been presented for bidding, the "accelerated process" will enable franchises to nominate a set number of players from the remaining ones. Players from the unsold list can also enter the accelerated round, subject to the franchises' request.
Will the introduction of the Impact Player impact the auction?
In the 2023 season, the IPL will introduce a tactical sub - the Impact Player - which it says will add a new dimension to tactics. Details of how the new rule will work were made public only on December 21. It's all very new, and it remains to be seen whether franchises factor the Impact Player into their auction strategies.
Is there a stipulation on squad strength?
Each franchise can have a minimum of 18 players and a maximum of 25. The number of overseas players in the squads has been capped at eight.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo