IPL 2024: Dubai rock concert venue to host auction, but who has the heaviest purse?
Focus likely to be on World Cup-winning Australians; standout Kiwi talent will be Rachin Ravindra
A mini-auction of the IPL is a regulation affair but this time around, the one for the 2024 season on Tuesday brings its own share of drama with it. If the historic trading of Hardik Pandya from Gujarat Titans to Mumbai Indians has added an extra edge to the coming league season, it’s also the first time that an auction rather than the action itself has moved overseas.
Coca Cola Arena, the cavernous venue in the City Walk area of Dubai better known for its mega rock concerts, will see the 10 franchises locked in a battle for 77 slots available from 333 players going under the hammer. With a lesser pool of players, the mini auction has often seen teams break the bank to fill a particular slot — the most conspicuous example being South African allrounder Chris Morris, who became the most expensive player in IPL history when Rajasthan Royals forked out Rs 16.25 crore for IPL 2021.
The UAE, meanwhile, is no stranger to IPL, with the three emirates of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah hosting a full edition at the peak of Covid in 2020 and two legs in 2014, and then again in 2021. Asked if shifting the auction to Dubai could be a possible precursor to part of the event moving there in 2024, the year of Lok Sabha elections, IPL bosses dismissed any such plans.
Speaking to National Herald, IPL chairman Arun Dhumal said: ‘’We managed to host the IPL in India back in 2019, which was also an election year. It was only during Covid times that we had to shift to the UAE but our commitment is always to host it in the country for fans.’’
Looking at the prospects who may attract an intense bidding war, the names of at least four Australians who were part of the 50-over World Cup winning squad seem to be a no-brainer. Travis Head, player of the final for his match-winning 137 against India, has kept a base price tag of Rs 2 crore for himself, while the pace trio of captain Pat Cummins, veteran Mitchell Starc and Jos Hazlewood (all with the same base price as Head) are up for grabs too.
The next talking point among overseas players is young Rachin Ravindra of New Zealand, the breakout star in the ODI World Cup 2023. The 24-year-old scored 578 runs — the most by a player in a debut World Cup — and also picked up five wickets with his slow left-arm orthodox spin.
The talented left-hander, a floater who can open the innings and also bat in the middle order, has the ability to play late and scored 500-plus runs in similar conditions as the IPL. While Ravindra has done a prudent thing by keeping a base price of Rs 50 lakh for himself, don’t be surprised if he goes for 10 to 15 times the price.
South Africa’s pace attack has been well represented by Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje in the IPL in the past few years, but 2024 could see Gerald Coetzee making a grand IPL debut after his exploits in the World Cup. The right-arm pacer clocked 140 kmph regularly in the tournament and finished as the highest wicket-taker (20 scalps) for Temba Bavuma's side at an economy rate of 6.23. His association with Texas Super Kings and Joburg Super Kings in other leagues also makes him a frontrunner for the job in Chennai Super Kings.
It would be interesting to see how the Indian players, whose performances often make the difference in the overall performance of the franchise, fare in the auction. There is a great deal of interest on whom the Titans (armed with the biggest purse of Rs 38.15 crore after releasing Pandya) will go for as a replacement for their erstwhile allrounder captain, with the names of Harshal Patel and Shardul Thakur (both with a base price of Rs 2 crore) in the mix.
The suspense will not be over even after Tuesday as the IPL trading window will continue until a month before the IPL begins in March. Can there be another twist in the tale there?
IPL AUCTION IN FIGURES
Total salary cap available: Rs 262.95 crore
Available players’ slots: 77
Overseas players: 30
Purse left with each franchise
Chennai Super Kings: Rs 31.4 crore
Delhi Capitals: Rs 28.95 crore
Gujarat Titans: Rs 38.15 crore
Kolkata Knight Riders: Rs 32.7 crore
Lucknow Super Giants: Rs 13.15 crore
Mumbai Indians: Rs 17.75 crore
Punjab Kings: Rs 29.1 crore
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Rs 23.25 crore
Rajasthan Royals: Rs 14.5 crore
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Rs 34 crore