Over 80 cricketers up for historic IPL auction Wednesday

February 19th, 2008 - 2:28 pm ICT by admin  


Mumbai, Feb 19 (IANS) A first in cricket history - players will be auctioned here Wednesday for the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL), marking the beginning of a new era in corporate patronage. The mega event will also underscore the growing stranglehold of India on cricket and redefine the future of international cricket. The auction is expected to stretch into the wee hours of Thursday.

The eight franchises who have spent more than $718 million for over 80 international players will be there at the auction. They are Mumbai (Mukesh Ambani), Bangalore (Vijay Mallya), Kolkata (Shah Rukh Khan), Chandigarh (Preity Zinta), Jaipur (Emerging Media), Hyderabad (Deccan Chronicle), Chennai (India Cements) and Delhi (GMR Group).

It will be a 44-day tournament this year consisting of 59 Twenty20 matches. The first game will be played under the floodlights at Bangalore’s M. Chinnaswamy Stadium on April 18 with Bangalore taking on Kolkata.

Indian board officials are keeping the auction procedure close to their chest, though it has been disclosed that Richard Madley, a leading auctioneer from Britain, will do the honours.

What is known is that there are five - Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai), Rahul Dravid (Bangalore), Sourav Ganguly (Kolkata), Yuvraj Singh (Mohali) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (undecided) - iconic players and their base price is fixed at $400,000, as per the franchise bid document. The team Dhoni will play for will be decided Wednesday.

Two of these players - captain Dhoni and vice-captain Yuvraj - helped India win the Twenty20 World Championship in South Africa in September last year.

Two more players - Virender Sehwag and V.V.S. Laxman - may be added to the elite five provided the eight franchise owners agree.

First on auction will be the high-profile players like Australia captain Ricky Ponting and his teammates Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Andrew Symonds. In fact, Gilchrist is the most sought after player with Bollywood mega star Sharukh Khan’s Kolkata team captain Sourav Ganguly trying to get him over to his side.

Madley, a second-generation auctioneer who has over 30 years of international experience, calls for the start of the auction for the tournament in which the eight franchisees shelled out $1.72 billion.

Each franchisee will be allowed to spend a minimum of $3.3 million and a maximum of $5 million for buying players.

Twenty20 matches, designed in England and successfully played and marketed by all cricket-playing countries, will be the flavour of millions of Indians as all matches will be telecast live by the Set Max channel.

“I hope this event would be a memorable one for all our franchises who are associated with the mega event,” says IPL chairman and commissioner Lalit Modi, whose brainchild the concept is.

While each team will be allowed to register a maximum of eight foreign players, only four will be able to play in the XI. The XII, including the 12th man, which will be named for each match will comprise four of the BCCI-contracted players, four Ranji Trophy players and four under-22 players besides the four overseas players.

The bidders and their franchise-buying price:

1. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance for Mumbai team ($111.9 million)
2. Deccan Chronicle for Hyderabad ($107.01 million)
3. Vijay Mallya’s UB Group for Bangalore ($106 million)
4. India Cements for Chennai ($91 million)
5. GMR Holdings for Delhi ($84 million)
6. Consortium led by Preity Zinta for Mohali ($76 million)
7. Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies (with Juhi Chawla and Jay Mehta) for Kolkata ($75.09 million)
8. Emerging Media, a consortium including Manoj Badale of England, Lachlan Murdoch and others for Jaipur ($67 million)

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