It’s all about the Benjamins

With three weeks to go to the IPL auction the cricketing world is abuzz with who the sport’s biggest earners will be. The auction takes place on 12 February and will see several men earn enough money to virtually retire.

*all prices in US Dollars unless otherwise mentioned

The IPL works in three year cycles and 2014 is the seventh edition of the tournament and thus it marks the start of a new cycle. All players are to be released back onto the ‘market’ for auction essentially meaning that teams will have an entirely new look to them. Well not exactly as each franchise is allowed to retain up to five players as well as being awarded ‘right to match cards’.

“The right to match essentially gives a franchise the first right of refusal to its players, allowing it to buy its player back after other franchises have completed the bidding process for him. For example, if Mumbai Indians have already retained five players but want Player X, they merely have to wait till the bidding in the open auction for Player X is over and match the highest bid offered for him” (cricinfo).

It's frightening to think of the money Dhoni would've attracted at the auction.

It’s frightening to think of the money Dhoni would’ve attracted at the auction.

In addition to this, a franchise cannot retain more than four capped Indian players.

While there is no doubt that many of the retained players would’ve fetched the biggest bucks, there are still many others who will be vying for six figure sums. Obviously the Indian players will be the most sought after of the lot (you are only allowed four foreigners in your playing 11) so players like Dhoni, Kholi, Dhawan and Rohit would possibly have gone for around $2 million each had they been on the auction.  With the majority of the big name Indian players having being retained and with limited knowledge of the Indian domestic circuit, I’m leaving the local players out of the equation here.

Each franchise will have precise strategies of who they want to pick up and how they want to build a squad, but I am going to single out a few individuals who will attract top dollar and make headlines across the globe.

With a major bowling weakness in the Indian national side, I suspect that 2014 may be the year of the bowler with an emphasis being placed on quicks and allrounders. Knowing the IPL though, it will be the batsmen and allrounders who get the zeroes on their pay check more than the bowlers.

Unfortunately Pakistani players won’t take part in the competition again and it’s a shame really as T20 cricket is the one area in which they have an abundance of flair and talent. Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi, Umar Akmal, Mohammed Hafeez and even old Misbah Ul Haq may have done their pension funds some serious good if only there was no political unrest between the two countries.

The Aussies always do well at the IPL and even their random domestic players manage to pick up contracts. Expect at least four Aussies to get paid around the $1 million mark with Aaron Finch, David Warner,Glen Maxwell and possibly George Bailey likely to feature high on most team’s pecking order. Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Starc will also be near the top of many franchises lists as will Michael Clarke if he’s available. The dark horse will be Steve Smith, the man being groomed to take over the reins of the baggy green. He doesn’t feature much in the Aussie limited overs squads, but he has proven himself on the big stage with the bat. A useful leggie and arguably one the best fielders in the world, he is one of my bargain buys. Oh and lets not forget about some of the older blokes like Cameron White and David Hussey! They too will be sought after come February 12.

Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine and Keiron Pollard would all have been retained for large sums and I wouldn’t expect too many millionaires making their way out of the Caribbean this year. That said Marlon Samuels will fetch a good couple of thousand but I’d keep my eye on young Johnson Charles. His lack of technique should not be an issue in this shortened format on flat decks and his ability to strike it clean makes him something of a danger.

Kumar Sangakarra, Tillekaratne Dilshan and Mahela Jayawardena have been IPL regulars from the beginning and have fetched some decent prices in the past. Mahela has proved to be a very inventive stroke maker as has Sanga. Both are safe bets and should do well as will the king of the Dil-scoop whose offies had an extra dimension to his game. Angelo Mathews has thrived as Sri Lankan captain and it might help secure him a good deal.

Cricket's next likely millionaire, Corey Anderson.

Cricket’s next likely millionaire, Corey Anderson.

When Corey Anderson broke the record for the fastest ODI ton on New Year’s day he made his bank manager a very happy man. 36 balls was all it took for Anderson to ensure that he makes his millions on 12 February, whilst his blistering unbeaten 60 and brace of wickets in the first ODI against India on Sunday would have done him no harm. Fellow Kiwi’s Brendon McCullum, Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor will do well as always and have proven their worth several times over at the IPL. Mitchell McClenaghan might prove a surprise package with his wicket taking ability whilst the gas man Adam Milne might find himself with a decent contract too.

The IPL falls slap bang in the middle of the English County season and we are once again going to be ‘deprived’ of the Poms it would appear. KP and Eoin Morgan should play again, but it’s always risky putting money on the Poms because of the ECB’s disapproval of players taking part in the IPL. If allowed, Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler would be among the English names expected to feature along with Pietersen and Morgan.

Bangladesh’s only real candidates for good money are Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. Shakib has won an IPL before and is the top ranked allrounder in limited overs cricket. I’d expect him to fetch a price in the $800k region.

Looking at South Africa’s talents there is one name that towers above the rest, Quinton de Kock. Three consecutive tons against India and one in the UAE against Pakistan have made the 20 year old Joburg boy one of cricket’s hottest commodities. If he goes public, I’d buy shares in him tomorrow! Why Sunrisers released him is a mystery, but this bloke is going to have a price tag on him with a number that Jacob Zuma won’t be able to pronounce.

Jacques Kallis is still in the mix and is always a valuable T20 player and he will no doubt make enough from this auction to pay his green fees for a good couple of years. But $1million seems a push for the old man as it is in essence a three year contract. Albie Morkel has been on fire in the Ram Slam T20 and I can almost guarantee that Chennai will use their right to match card on him. Expect the figure to be a healthy one too. His brother should also fetch a good sum as will allrounder Wayne Parnell who despite being erratic, is clocking the 140km/h again.

Two of our boys make my list as the bargain buys. Rusty Theron looks back to his very best and is free of injury. He has a lethal yorker – which seems a forgotten art – and a cunning slower ball. Ryan McLaren finished third on the ODI wicket charts in 2013 and is more than capable with the bat. He is a fine athlete and a consummate professional, the kind of guy the Indians will want their youngsters to feed off.

The Big 5: Corey Anderson, Quinton de Kock, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Kumar Sangakarra.

Bargain Buys: Johnson Charles, Mitchell McClenaghan, Ryan McLaren, Steve Smith, Rusty Theron.

Biggest earners from last auction of non-retained players (2011):

Gautam Gambhir (KKR) – $2.4 million
Yusuf Pathan (KKR) – $2.1 million
Robin Uthappa (Pune) – $2.1 million
Rohit Sharma (MI) – $2 million
Irfan Pathan (Delhi) – $1.9 million
Yuvraj Singh (Pune) – $1.8 million
Saurabh Tiwary (RCB) – $1.6 million
Mahela Jayawardene (Kochi) – $1.5 million
David Hussey (KXIP) – $1.4 million
Dale Steyn (Deccan) – $1.2 million
AB de Villiers (RCB) – $1.1 million
Jacques Kallis (KKR) – $1.1 million
Muttiah Muralitharan (Kochi) – $1.1 million
Cameron White (Deccan) – $1.1 million
Ross Taylor (Rajasthan) – $1 million

Retained players

Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravi Jadeja, Ravi Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo
Auction cash remaining: Rs 210 million (approx $3.4 million)
Right-to-match cards available: 1 (not eligible for a capped India player)

Delhi Daredevils: none
Auction cash remaining: Rs 600 million (approx $9.7 million)
Right-to-match cards available: 3

Kings XI Punjab: David Miller, Manan Vohra
Auction cash remaining: Rs 435 million (approx $7.1 million)
Right-to-match cards available: 2

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir, Sunil Narine
Auction cash remaining: Rs 380 million (approx $6.2 million)
Right-to-match cards available: 2

Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan, Ambathi Rayudu, Lasith Malinga, Kieron Pollard
Auction cash remaining: Rs 210 million (approx $3.4 million)
Right-to-match cards available: 1

Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson, James Faulkner, Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny
Auction cash remaining: Rs 225 million (approx $3.7 million)
Right-to-match cards available: 1

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, Chirs Gayle, AB de Villiers
Auction cash remaining: Rs 305 million (approx $4.9 million)
Right-to-match cards available: 1

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Dale Steyn
Auction cash remaining: Rs 380 million (approx $6.2 million)
Right-to-match cards available: 2

Let’s just hope Jacob isn’t the auctioneer…


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