How the IPL AUCTION works

Cricket Sport

For a while now, the Indian Premier League has evolved into a popular national cricket event in India, with billions in revenue and thousands in spectatorship.

And it all began with the first IPL auction that took place in 2008, as organized by the BCCI.

Ever since 2008, the IPL auction happens like clockwork and both Indian and foreign cricket players in the league have their fate decided on that day.

In a sense, the auction process adds to the thrill of the IPL because no one can predict how the auctioning process will play out during the multi-day event.

It is not unusual for an unknown domestic cricketer to get a multi-million dollar deal while proven international cricketers get snubbed or go unsold.

Every year, the BCCI conducts the IPL auction of cricket players to various franchisees and a dedicated auctioneer is saddled with the responsibility of conducting the proceedings of the day.

On such a day, IPL franchises will aggressively bid for the listed players and at the end of the day there is a squad for every IPL team.

One would be wrong to assume that the sum total of the auction process revolves around just a couple of days.

In reality, a lot goes on behind the scenes for months prior to the actual IPL auction.

Pre-auction analysis is conducted by IPL teams and a lot of man hours are dedicated to fashioning out an auction day strategy.

There are a lot of factors a franchise has to consider before the auction process kick-starts.

Factors like the remaining budget, the type of players needed on the franchise squad, injury history of the listed players etc all matter when a franchise bids for a player.

The multi-day IPL auction events are usually streamed on live television.

IPL auction viewers will usually have a look at team owners, coaches, managers, and at times, analysts, all seated at assigned spots.

Admittedly, a lot happens prior to the auction and a lot continues to happen even after the auction in terms of players getting in and out of squads.

Now to the specifics; each franchise in the IPL gets a purse of INR 80 CRORE to assemble a team of domestic and International Indian players, and foreign players.

A franchise doesn’t have to use all the funds in its purse to bid for players but by virtue of recent rules, franchises are mandated to spend 75% of the funds and that equals INR 60 CRORE.

As earlier hinted, a franchise has to build its bidding strategy around its budget and needs.

Time and time again it has been proven that franchisees benefit from exercising financial discipline.

Let’s now talk about the different categories of players in the IPL auction.

Ordinarily, there are three types of players in an IPL team; capped Indian players, uncapped Indian players and non-Indian players.

Capped players are Indian players who have, at one point or the other, represented India’s senior team in any format of game, at least once.

On the flip side, uncapped players are domestic players in the first class circuit who have never represented India in any game.

Non-indian players can be capped or uncapped but the distinction arises from their nationality.

Meanwhile it is crucial to note that under-19 players are not considered to be in the uncapped category unless they have played some first class or List-A cricket.

There is absolutely no difference as to how these categories of players are treated during the IPL auction.

The only place where the player type proves consequential is within the team squad.

An IPL team squad can only have a maximum of eight foreign players and only four foreign players are allowed to be part of a playing XI at any given point in a match.

For those who wonder if there is a limit to the number of players listed in an auction, the answer is there are no hard limits to the numbers.

There has been a difference in the number of listed player in every auction.

As such, IPL experts believe it all depends on the number of players who sign up for the auction providing the NOC from the respective cricket boards.

Meanwhile, players are also shortlisted based on different factors including but not limited to the availability of different types of players.

Take for instance, during the 2019 auction, a total of 1122 players signed up for the auction, out of which only 578 made it to the shortlist.

The shortlist had 360 Indians and 218 non-indians.

Let’s now address how the prices of players are set.

There is something known as the base price; that is the minimum price from which the bidding for a particular player starts.

Players can decide their own base price as long as it is higher than INR 10 lakh and lower than INR 2 CRORE.

Capped Indian players and foreign players generally set the price closer to the ceiling while uncapped Indian players set lower base prices.

Oftentimes, players remain unsold because they set the base price too high.

An IPL franchise is in the game to make money so a player’s performance history, social media following etc should be considered before a player sets a base price, otherwise, players risk setting too high or too low a base price.

By regulation, each IPL franchise can have a maximum of 25 players and a minimum of 18 players in the squad.

All in all, a squad cannot have more than 8 foreign players.

For over a decade of IPL AUCTIONs, personalities like Richard Madley became household names in India as they brought drama and finesse to the sport.

Richard Madley was replaced with Hugh Edmeades in 2018.

There is more to IPL AUCTIONs but this is arguably a good primer on how IPL Auctions work.

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In other news, according to Zeenews, a whopping 1,097 cricketers have registered their names in a bid to be picked at the mini-auction for the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) which will take place in Chennai on February 18.