Dhoni, Jadeja among likely early picks

On Tuesday, the two new IPL franchises, Pune and Rajkot, will pick up to five players each from the two suspended teams, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals, in a draft. ESPNcricinfo explains how it will work

Arun Venugopal
How many players go into the draft?
A pool of 50 players from Super Kings and Royals will be made available to Pune and Rajkot. After the two franchises have made their choices of five players each, the remaining players will go into the auction pool. Pune and Rajkot will be allowed to pick a maximum of four capped Indian players each, in accordance with the existing retention rule.
Which franchise gets to pick the first player from the draft pool?
New Rising, the owners of the Pune franchise, will get to pick the first player since they made the most successful bid at the franchise auction. The Rajkot franchise, owned by Intex, then picks its first player, and then the two franchises will take turns to pick the remaining eight players.
What is the purse available to the teams?
Each of the two new teams will have a minimum of Rs 40 crore and a maximum of Rs 66 crore to assemble their squads from players available in the draft and at the auction in February. In theory, the franchises can opt to buy fewer than five players at the draft or not pick anyone at all, but that appears unlikely.
A franchise official said it wouldn't make sense for the franchises to not pick anybody. "The idea of the draft is to give the teams a comfort level of five core players around whom they can build the team," he said. "If you go to the auction, it [the price of players] could be more."
What is the price band for the shortlisted five players in each franchise?
The BCCI has stuck to the same contract structure that was put in place two years ago when the franchises were allowed to retain five players. The first player gets Rs 12.5 crore, the second Rs 9.5 crore, third Rs 7.5 crore. fourth Rs 5.5 crore and the fifth Rs 4 crore. An uncapped player stands to earn Rs 4 crore, if picked.
The figures, however, are deductions made from the team's total purse, and are not necessarily indicative of the players' actual earnings.
Will the players earn the same salaries that their contracts with CSK and RR guaranteed?
In the current situation, the existing contracts of players who go into the draft will be protected. "For example, if MS Dhoni's contract with CSK was worth, say Rs 15 crore, the franchise signing him up as the first player from the draft will have to pay him that much," the franchise official said. "He can't officially be paid more than what he earned at Super Kings, but only Rs 12.5 crore will be deducted from the franchise's purse."
Player contracts are normally tripartite arrangements involving the player, the franchise and the IPL.
Who are the players likely to be on the franchises' wish-list?
There has been much speculation about MS Dhoni being the automatic first choice for the Pune franchise, which has the right to make the first move. Some of the others considered to be hot properties are the Indian quartet of R Ashwin, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja and Ajinkya Rahane, and Steven Smith, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis and Shane Watson.
The Rajkot franchise could make an early grab for Jadeja, who could be a big draw as a local player. The foreign players are likely to be attractive propositions given that they are likely to be available for the entire tournament. Only England and Sri Lanka have any international commitments in April and May, as of now.

Arun Venugopal is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo