The biggest news in the Indian Premier League is that the Calypso magician, Brian Lara is included in the auction. Along with Lara, many English players such as Broad, Swann, Yardy and Anderson find themselves in the fray. Many of the big names in the previous seasons who have not been retained also find themselves in the auction with the exception for a few Australian players such as Ponting, Hayden, McGrath and the English all-rounder Flintoff.
Seeing the various prize brackets, I'm a bit confused. A few surprises have been thrown in by the Governing Council such as including Lara in the highest reserve pool of $400,000. Lara hasn't lifted a bat in the last four years other than a small stint in the rebel ICL, where for the most time he was sitting out due to injury and when he did take field did little with the bat. He also played in the T20 Zimbabwean Tournament recently. Other than this, there's no surprises for the most part in the $400,000 pool. All the big names in the previous editions and a few new ones find themselves in it. It consists of Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, James Anderson, Kevin Pietersen, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Luke Wright, Michael Yardy, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor, Graeme Smith, AB de Villiers, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, and Chris Gayle.
Likewise Indian heavy weights Zaheer Khan and Yusuf Pathan find themselves in the $300,000 pool along with Kallis and Muralitharan. All four have been integral parts of their respective franchisees and have played a huge role in their team's success, however they are deemed a lower base prize. Tait, Symonds, Sangakara and Angelo Mathews are the others in that pool.
The biggest surprise is however yet to come. Ganguly - KKR's icon player in the first three seasons and their most consistent performer in the last two editions finds himself relegated to the $200,000 pool. Delhi Daredevils skipper Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa are the other big surprises in this pool. I understand the point of keeping Jayasuria in this pool as his age is a liability and his performance in the past hasn't been great, but how one can explain Dirk Nannes being in this pool is beyond my levels of comprehension.. Isn't Nannes the biggest name in T20 bowling?
Even the $100,000 bracket has a surprise element with R. Ashwin being named there. Ashwin has been one of CSK's vital players and Gautam Gambhir has named him a great find during the recently concluded ODI series against New Zealand. However the man who is said to be India's second best spinner after Harbhajan in the shorter format finds himself with a low base prize.
The base prices don't mean anything as the entire process is an auction process and any player can be bought at any price (above that of the base price of-course). Remember Ishant Shrma being bought for nearly a million dollars when his base price was only $150,000 in the first IPL? So anything is possible, but one thing is for sure. Whoever set up this list is either a person lacking common sense or is a brilliant human who wants the entire world to scratch their heads and say "huh?". So I end by saying that this auction is the most interesting one till date mostly because it's got me scratching my head and all confused.