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IPL bids likely to see much less money
Contract for a year; players will play just for Season-3.

The money bid for foreign players in the next Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament is likely to be much less this time.

The auction is to be on January 19, between the IPL’s eight teams. In the previous two auctions, the prices bid for each cricketer were huge. This time, comparatively, these should be at rock-bottom.

There are 51 players to be bid for. But, with just Rs 4 crore allotted to each team and just one or two positions to be filled, it’s only the top players that will grab attention.

Industry experts believe six players — Kieron Pollard (West Indies), Darren Bravo (West Indies), Shane Bond (New Zealand), Shahid Afridi (Pakistan), Philip Hughes (Australia) and Imran Nazir (Pakistan) — will rule the auction. Still, say sources, their base price will not be more than Rs 1 crore each.

According to them,Pollard is expected to rake in the highest bid, of anything over Rs 2.5 crore, followed by Bravo at around Rs 2 crore. “Each team is looking for not just performers but also players who will create excitement around the team. Pollard will most certainly be the best buy at the highest price, not just for his talent but also for the buzz he is able to create. On the other hand, Bond may not be among the world’s top bowlers but he is recognised among the masses,” said Indranil Blah, ex VP-Sports, Globosport.

In the previous auction for foreign players, the costliest bid was Rs 7.5 crore for Kevin Pieterson and Andrew Flintoff. While Pieterson was bought by Bangalore Royal Challengers, Flintoff was roped in by Chennai Super Kings.

“A lot will depend on each team’s current composition. However, given the twenty20 format of the League, teams will mostly opt for all-rounders," said Sonu Lakhwani, Vice President, Percept Talent Management.

Sources add unlike the previous play contracts of three years, this time the contract will be signed for just a year. Which means the players bought through the auction will play just for Season-3, scheduled in March. This is mainly due to the additional two teams that will be added from Season-4.

Experts believe West Indies’ Kemar Roach and Sri Lankan bowler Chanaka Welegedara may also feature in buyer interest, given their performance. “Their base price will not be more than Rs 50 lakh to Rs 75 lakh. So, a team looking for a non-expensive performing player may opt for them,” said an industry source.

Though Pakistani players like Nazir and Afridi feature among the hot players, teams may be weary of buying Pakistani players, given the uncertainty that revolves around them each season.

Of the 51 players, 11 are Australian, nine from South Africa, eight each from Sri lanka and West Indies, seven from Pakistan, four from New Zealand and one each from Bangladesh, Canada, the Netherlands and Zimbabwe.

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