IPL Auction 2024 | Bidding war on the cards for big-ticket acquisitions

It’s that time of the year again when renowned cricketers will be in the limelight. The Indian Premier League (IPL) Player Auction — being held overseas for the first time — will see 332 players attracting a bid for a maximum of 77 slots at the Coca Cola Arena here on Tuesday.

The moot question, though, is whether the ₹20 crore mark would be breached for the first time at an IPL auction. With the 2024 Player Auction to be the last before next year’s periodic full squad revamp, the franchises don’t really have to think long-term.

Besides, splurging big amounts may also result in a potential marquee player being under the wings and presenting franchises with an option to retain him ahead of next year’s auction.

Naturally, the fans will be hoping to see a big tussle for big-ticket acquisitions. Australia’s ODI World Cup stars, especially left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc, opening batter Travis Head and captain Pat Cummins, will hope to rake in the big bucks.

Similarly, New Zealand’s promising all-rounder Rachin Ravindra and India’s Shardul Thakur — the only member of the World Cup squad to be in the auction — will also attract interest from the franchises.

The fact that four franchises — Chennai Super Kings (₹31.40 crore), Gujarat Titans (₹38.15 crore), Kolkata Knight Riders (₹32.70 crore) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (₹34 crore) — have a purse in excess of ₹30 crore will mean a group of players are likely to have a big payday.

Whether that results in the record bid of ₹18.50 crore — by Punjab Kings for England’s Sam Curran last year — being overhauled remains to be seen.

KKR will be busy

KKR — with the return of its IPL-winning captain Gautam Gambhir as the mentor — will be the busiest. The two-time champion outfit has a maximum of 12 slots to fill, having nearly emptied its pace bowling unit ahead of the auction.

KKR, Delhi Capitals (₹28.95 crore) and Mumbai Indians (₹17.75 crore) each have a maximum of four overseas slots to fill. While KKR and DC may well go all out for someone like Starc or Head, Mumbai Indians would possibly target economical buys, considering their limited purse.

For the three southern outfits, CSK and SRH have a maximum of six slots to fill while Royal Challengers Bangalore (₹23.25 crore) will have to eye a big-ticket overseas signing as the fourth overseas players’ slot in the XI still open.

Just like the last 10 auctions, uncapped players will also be in demand. Big-hitting batters Shahrukh Khan (Tamil Nadu), Shubham Dubey (Vidarbha) and Sameer Rizvi (Uttar Pradesh) are likely to see a bidding war over their acquisition.

Maharashtra’s under-19 star Arshin Kulkarni, a top-order batter who can also bowl impressive medium-pace, could well fetch a sum much higher than his base price of ₹20 lakh.

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