Such is the potential of the tournament to shape futures that the ITC Gardenia in Bengaluru will again have the undivided attention of the cricket world, when the 2018 IPL player auction commences here on Saturday.
As the IPL auction 2018 makes the news in the world of cricket, to an extent that even dilutes the controversy surrounding the risky pitch in the ongoing third Test between India and South Africa, signifies the amount of following this mega event possesses. Total of 578 players will go under the hammer which includes 244 capped players (62 from India), 332 uncapped players (34 from overseas), and two players from Associate countries. All will be popular, with Yuvraj having fetched a then-record 14 crore (just under NZ$3m) in 2014.
Stokes in his only IPL season scored 306 runs from 12 matches at 31.60, which included a century and a fifty. There could be some furious bids for this controversial but star all-rounder by the eight franchises. It will help that New Zealand played ODIs and T20s there in October and November, and that the 2017-18 Burger King Super Smash was broadcast into Indian living rooms for the first time.
A total of 578 domestic and global stars will go under the hammer as the eight franchises loosen their purse strings to find the ideal combinations ahead of the 11th edition of the IPL.
South Africa captain Faf du Plessis is also in the top bracket and teams desperate for a calm leader and a class batsman will definitely have their eyes cast on him.
The Right-to-Match option was akin to the judders of a roller-coaster, interrupting the frenetic shopping spree that Punjab were intent on completing, and also infusing suspense into the eventual pulling of rugs from under the feet of potential bidders for sought-after tweakers Rashid Khan (Rs 9 crore), Yuzvvendra Chahal (Rs 6 crore), and Kuldeep Yadav (Rs 5.8 crore). The explosive West Indies opener was not retained by Royal Challengers Bangalore for the new season, giving other teams a chance to bag him. He may go for a higher purse, given his phenomenal performances of late.
Pandey joins Rahul and Karun Nair in the list of expensive Indian batsmen. Starc will challenge Steve Smith and David Warner - who were retained by their teams for $1.9 m each - to become Australia's highest-paid IPL player. Generally, most teams come prepared with who they want to have in their armoury and have no hesitation in breaking their bank for a few of them when many parties get involved. The franchises' concern is serious because England's Test players will leave the upcoming season on May 17, ten days before the final.
Each team will have to field seven Indians in the playing XI and they form the crux.
Mohammad Siraj, too, could attract the eyeballs of the owners. His name saw the most intense bidding war among four franchises, but Khan was retained by SRH who exercised their RTM on him.