VVS Laxman, S Sreesanth and Brendon McCullum - all part of the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala in the 2011 IPL - have commanded the highest reserve price of US$ 400,000 in the final auction shortlist for the 2012 season. The Kochi trio joins England offspinner Graeme Swann, who is yet to feature in the IPL, as the four players to command the maximum base price in the 144-strong list.
On January 20, the BCCI had released a preliminary list comprising of 183 players, who hadn't participated in earlier seasons of the IPL. That has been pruned further by the IPL organisers based on the feedback received from the franchises. The Kochi players, who weren't part of the earlier list, were expectedly included, and the entire roster of players will go under the hammer on February 4 in Bangalore.
"The shortlist comprises some outstanding cricket talent," the IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla said. "Given that it was prepared on the basis of the feedback of the franchises themselves, the stage is set for an exciting and eventful player auction, this Saturday. The franchises purchased the bulk of their respective squads in 2011. Their aim at the upcoming auction will be to bring in some players who can make a difference to their prospects in the tournament. The auction will mark the formal opening of IPL 2012."
In all, 16 Kochi players feature in the list including the newly-appointed Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene (reserve price US$ 300,000) and the retired offspinner Muttiah Muralitharan (US$ 200,000). India allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, whose stock has been on the rise following a successful return to ODI action, was pegged at a surprisingly low US$ 100,000. Tamim Iqbal was a notable addition, and will be the only Bangladesh player in the auction, at a reserve price of US$ 50,000.
Azhar Mahmood and Imran Tahir are the only players of Pakistan origin in the auction. Mahmood, however, now possesses a British passport, while Tahir is presently part of South Africa's Test team. Pakistan players have not been part of the IPL since the 2009 season.
Indian interest in the auction will be limited to eight newly-added players, all capped. Seven of them were part of the Kochi franchise last year while the eighth one is the fast bowler VRV Singh. The preliminary list had 25 Zimbabwe internationals, but only seven of them made it to the final draft.
Click here for the full list of players and reserve prices.