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The players' auction for the Indian Premier League will take place on February 20, it was announced today. Explaining the details of the auction process, the IPL also announced it has signed up more international players - Pakistan's Kamran Akmal and Umar Gul, Zimbabwe's Tatendu Taibu and Sri Lankans Chamara Silva and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Lalit Modi, the IPL chairman and commissioner, said Shoaib Akhtar, whose name has been linked with the Indian Cricket League, had already signed an MOU with the IPL, which stands as of today.
The list of such players can keep increasing till the open players' auction is held in Mumbai. "But no player can directly be signed up by any of the franchises," Modi reiterated.
Modi also announced that the minimum bidding amount for a pool of contracted players in each franchise team has been fixed at USD three million and the maximum cap at USD five million.
IPL has already bracketed Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Yuvraj Singh and Rahul Dravid as icon players, making them unavailable for any other side other than their city teams. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been termed as a marquee player since he doesn't have a local team. Modi rubbished media reports that said the base-bidding prize for icon players like Sachin Tendulkar had been fixed at $400,000. "Those figures are wrong. We will let you know the real figures in 4-5 days," he said.
Delhi's franchise owner GMR has made a request to include Virender Sehwag in the icon players list and Deccan Chronicle, the owner of Hyderabad outfit, has made a similar request for VVS Laxman, which Modi said will be discussed.
During the auction, on February 20, the players will be divided into six categories based on their skills, with the marquee players on top. The divisions are opening batsmen, middle-order batsmen, pace bowlers, spin bowlers, allrounders and wicketkeepers. Chits with players' name will be picked out from a bowl and the franchisees can bid for them. If no one bids for a player intially, the chit will kept separately and the bidding for the other players will continue.
The players who won't be available for the full duration of the tournament will be paid on a pro-rata basis. The IPL board also announced that the players won't be allowed to shift teams in the first year. The transfer window will be opened in February 2009 and only then, the trading and inter-team transfers of players can be done.
To help the franchisee owners select their quota of local players - a minimum of four in the side -the IPL governing council have nominated 'catchment areas' for each team as follows.
Mumbai (Reliance India Ltd.): Mumbai, Maharashtra and Vidarbha. Bangalore (UB Group): Karnataka and Goa and Services. Chennai (India Cements): Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Railways. Kolkata (Shah Rukh Khan's Group): Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Tripura and associate member Sikkim. Hyderabad (Deccan Chronicle): Hyderabad, Andhra and Orissa. Delhi (GMR Group): Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Mohali (Preity Zinta Group): Haryana, Punjab, Himachal and J&K Jaipur (Emerging Media Group): Rajasthan, Gujarat, Baroda and Saurashtra.
"There should be four local players, based on the catchment pool areas we have divided today, also including any of the four iconic players already announced, and four under-22 players (from anywhere in the country) in each franchise team," Modi said. "The BCCI has made it mandatory that the IPL will see 32 under-22 Indian players in action. The limit has been raised from under-21 by one year because BCCI conducts only under-22 tournaments and not for under-21 players."
Modi was confident that all contracted Australian players, unless they are playing in the series in Pakistan, will be available to play in the IPL. "Cricket Australia, Australian Players Association and we (IPL) are all confident that players who are not busy playing in the series against Pakistan would be available to play in the IPL," Modi said.
Modi also said that seven ICC Elite panel umpires, including Mark Benson, but excluding Steve Bucknor, have been drafted. Rudi Koertzen, Simon Taufel, Billy Bowden, Asad Rauf, Billy Doctrove, Daryl Harper and Benson form the panel.