IPL auction: Indians opt for lower base prices

MUMBAI: It’s that time of the year when a cricketer’s value is discussed in monetary terms than his ability on the field.

As the countdown for the 10th Player Auction of the Indian Premier League starts, the eight franchises have swung into action to fill the vacant slots.

As a result, after pruning the initial list of 799 players, the franchises have settled for the final 351.

The list, circulated by IPL authorities to all the team managements and accessed by The Hindu, features 122 Indians, including 23 capped players.

One of the startling features of the list is Indian cricketers’ preference of a lower base price to attract bids.

Barring Ishant Sharma — the only Indian among seven marquee players with a base price of Rs. 2 crore — none of the other Indians have opted for an eight-digit base price.

These include Twenty20 specialists like Irfan Pathan and Varun Aaron, who have set their base price at Rs. 50 lakh each. Even Bengal captain Manoj Tiwary, who remained unsold with a base price of Rs. 1 crore last year, has slashed it to Rs. 50 lakh.

Irfan stressed that his low base price was aimed solely at earning an opportunity to play. “My priority is to be able to play throughout the season,” Pathan told The Hindu.

“I don’t look at IPL just to make money. At this stage of my career, if I have to get back into contention, I should be able to get noticed and IPL offers that platform, so money is secondary.”

Tiwary admitted: “After missing out on the last season, it’s important for me to be part of the IPL,” he said.

The trend of opting for lower base price has emerged over the last few years, especially for a mini-auction like the one to be held in Bengaluru on Monday.

While the teams aren’t too keen on splurging big bucks, the players have also realised that lower base price increases their chances.

As a result, two of the biggest earners of the 2016 auction — all-rounder Pawan Negi and leggie M. Ashwin — have kept their base price at a minimal Rs. 30 lakh. While Negi fetched ₹8.5 crore from Delhi Daredevils, Ashwin was bought for ₹4.5 crore by Rising Pune Supergiants.

Sensing that they have been released primarily for the sake of price correction, both players seem to have opted for a very low base price.