Ben Stokes, Mitchell Starc, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Yuvraj Singh, R Ashwin, Gautam Gambhir, Shikhar Dhawan and Glenn Maxwell are part of two sets of marquee players that will kick-off the IPL auction, which begins on January 27 in Bangalore. The auction will be a two-day exercise with a total of 578 players featuring in the player pool for the eight franchises to choose from.
On Saturday the IPL announced the final auction pool, having pruned the original 1122-strong longlist by half. The auction pool has been divided into different sets based on the area of expertise of the player. The auction will begin with the two sets of maquee players going up for bidding.
It is not entirely clear how the IPL filtered the marquee players. Ten out of 16 marquee players are over 30 years old while six are Indians. In addition to the above names, the other players featuring in the marquee sets include Ajinkya Rahane, Harbhajan Singh, Joe Root, Shakib Al Hasan, Faf du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo and Kane Williamson.
The marquee players will be followed by the first sets of capped players: batsmen, allrounders, wicketkeepers, fast bowlers and spinners in that order. In a marked changed from the past auctions, the IPL has decided to feature the uncapped players on the first day of the auction.
In the past the uncapped category would come up towards the end once all the sets of capped players were exhausted. But this time the IPL has opted to mix both categories, keeping in mind the wide interest among franchises for uncapped Indian players including Baroda allrounder Krunal Pandya, who has been listed 85th in the shortlist.
Krunal, who played for Mumbai Indians until last season, was the player of the final as Mumbai won the title for the third time. Krunal is a favourite to be retained by the defending IPL champions through the right-to-match card option. Mumbai still have two right-to-match cards available to them, which they might use for Krunal and Pollard, who has been with the franchise since 2009.
Incidentally, Afghanistan legspinner Rashid Khan, who played for Sunrisers Hyderabad, will only come up for bidding during the latter half of the first day of the auction. Rashid is part of the seventh set of players, which could possibly help Sunrisers as they could buy him through the right-to-match card option for a potentially lower price, in case other franchises spend big money on players from the previous sets.
India fast bowler Ishant Sharma, who went unsold last season before joining Kings XI Punjab as a replacement player, is part of the first set of fast bowlers. Ishant has listed his base price at INR 75 lakh. Also featuring in this set are the Indian fast-bowling pair of Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, Kagiso Rabada (South Africa), Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Johnson (all Australia), Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh), Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan (both New Zealand) and Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka).
The South African fast-bowling pair of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are also part of this set. Neither featured in the IPL last season, with Steyn recovering from a shoulder injury and Morkel preserving himself to stay fit for Test cricket.
Also in the final list is the 17-year-old Nepal legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane. He was one of the nine players to have been requested by the franchises after the longlist was announced recently. The others in the list include Hamza Tariq (Canada), Samit Patel (England), Mohammed Asaduddin (Hyderabad), Midhun S (Kerala), Abhinav Manohar (Karnataka), Ben Wheeler (New Zealand), Mohsin Khan (Uttar Pradesh) and Javon Searles (West Indies)
The full list of players for the IPL auction can be viewed here