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IPL 7 Auction: Players setting high base prices killed the excitement on Day One

Imran Tahir, Samit Patel and Praveen Kumar (from left) weren't bought by any of the franchises © PTI and Getty Images
Imran Tahir, Samit Patel and Praveen Kumar (from left) weren’t bought by any of the franchises © PTI and Getty Images

The IPL 7 auction created a lot of buzz around the cricketing world. It has sort of put things in motion for the 2014 edition of the T20 mega-event. A lot of players were sold much higher than their base price. But many went unsold towards the end of the auction. This sort of dampened the excitement in the later stages on Day One. Shrikant Shankar writes that so many players went unsold due to high base prices.

Day One of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 Auction took place on February 12, 2014. A total of 70 players were sold on Wednesday for the seventh edition of the IPL. But they were a part of a total of 216  players who went under the hammer on Day One. That is 146  players who have gone unsold so far. Many of these were capped players. They might still get a chance on Thursday, but they also have to contend with a nearly 300 uncapped players. Their base price will be less and teams would want many of them in their side as money becomes a big factor.

Base price is an important factor during any auction and it is no different for the IPL. Once a base price is set, then the teams can start their bidding from that amount onwards. The highest base price was Rs 2 crores. The lowest was Rs 30 lakhs. Yuvraj Singh was sold for the highest price, which was Rs 14 crores. Dinesh Karthik, who had a base price of Rs 2 crores, was sold for Rs 12.5 crores. Someone like Mitchell Johnson was sold for Rs 6.5 crores and Kevin Pietersen went for Rs 9 crores. This shows the demand for certain players and how much some teams were willing to pay for their services.

But there were many players who did not get sold. A lot of these players had their base prices set very high and that caused a problem for them and the teams. Ross Taylor’s abilities with the bat are well known throughout the world. He had a base price of Rs 2 crores, but the main issue he faced was that his name came too late in the list for batsmen. By that time, many teams had already bid quite some money on certain players and wanted to wait for the specialist spinners, fast bowlers, all-rounders and wicketkeepers’ lists.

In the final part of the IPL 7 auction on Wednesday, almost all the players went unsold. So, the excitement at the start of the day which involved players like Pietersen, Johnson, Yuvraj, David Warner, Michael Hussey, Jacques Kallis and Murali Vijay in auction, dampened completely towards the end of the day. It got so dry that auctioneer Richard Madley asked permission from all the franchises that they allow him to pull up the names and not waste too much time.

The important point to note is that the players themselves set their base prices. A lot of players, who are at least well past their prime or not exactly known for their T20 skills, set their base prices too high. Someone like a Praveen Kumar had his base price set at Rs 2 crores. Not surprisingly, he went unsold. Even England’s Samit Patel had a base price set at Rs 2 crores. Patel is someone who has never played in the IPL and commanding such a price was certainly a put-off for many teams. Luke Wright had a base price of Rs 1.5 crores. He too went unsold.

Relatively unheard England all-rounder Rikki Clarke had a base price of Rs 1.5 crores. Imran Tahir set himself a base price of Rs 1 crores. One gets the picture from this. A lot of the players who got unsold had their base prices at Rs 50 lakhs or Rs 30 lakhs. But many with a base price of Rs 1 crores were also unsold. A better assessment of the auction and how many players would be available could have helped many of these players get into the squads.

On Thursday, there will be many more players involved in the auction and their base prices are as low as Rs 10 lakhs. Pravin Tambe is one of them. Another way to avoid such a situation is to limit the number of players getting their names in the auction. Obviously many players want to play in the IPL and get the riches and fame. But there are only eight teams and they can have a maximum of only 27 players. If one multiplies the numbers, a total of 216 players can be part of the IPL in one season. But a total of 514 players will eventually go under the hammer during the auction.

That is a total of 298 players who will be left to watch the IPL on TV. Then again not many teams want a full set of 27 players in their squad. Teams are trying to fit in around 20 players as factors like accommodations, travelling and salaries come into the picture. So, there is a lot of waste of time and talent that goes on during the auction. This situation can be avoided in future editions of the IPL and the auction can be used to better effect. Lesser players in the pool will keep the excitement levels longer during course of the auction.

(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)

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