IPL Auction 2014 Preview: Predicting Players, Prospects, Fees, and Key Points

Chris BradshawFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2014

IPL Auction 2014 Preview: Predicting Players, Prospects, Fees, and Key Points

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    The IPL Auction 2014 takes place on Wednesday and Thursday and Kevin Pietersen once again looks set to be a major talking point.

    Free from his England commitments, cricket's highest profile gun-for-hire will be available for the duration of the IPL for the first time. There should be no shortage of potential bidders trying to sign the game's most controversial character.

    KP is just one of over 500 players on offer in Bangalore this week with uncapped Indian players added to the mix for the first time.

    Where will Pietersen end up? Which rookies will shine? Who'll be an overpriced bust? Read on for the IPL Auction 2014 preview.

1. When, Where and How

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    The 2014 IPL Auction will take place at the ITC Gardenia Hotel in Bangalore on Wednesday and Thursday, starting at 9:30 a.m. local time (4 a.m. GMT).

    511 players will be up for consideration, including for the first time, 255 uncapped Indian players.

    Each team has a budget of Rs 60 Crore (around $10m) with which to build a squad of between 16 and 27 players. Prior to the auction, all eight teams had the opportunity to spend some of that salary cap cash by retaining up to five of their players from last season.

    Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals all retained the maximum, limiting their room for manoeuvre somewhat on auction day. A total of 24 players have been retained by seven franchises.

    Delhi Daredevils were the only team to clean house entirely, retaining no players. They will have their full budget to play with this week.

    Teams will also have the opportunity to play a Right To Match 'joker' card. This will enable them to match any offer made to one of their former contracted players should they desire to do so. The fewer players a team retained the more jokers allowed, up to a maximum of three.

    The players available in the auction have been subdivided into sets of eight, starting with two groups of Marquee Players.

    The rest of the players have been grouped together by skill set e.g. batsman, fast bowler, spinner and all-rounders.

    Each team can select a maximum of nine overseas players.

2. Where For KP?

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    Free from the constraints of international cricket, Kevin Pietersen is set to be the most sought after Marquee Player on Wednesday's opening day of bidding.

    The most games that KP has played in a single IPL season to date is just eight. With England's series against Sri Lanka in May no longer his concern and free from injury, Pietersen should finally be available for the whole competition.

    That fact will likely be evident in the price tag though with former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi suggesting that bidding for Pietersen could top £3 million.

    The IPL founder told the BBC, “Every IPL team owner's dream was to get Kevin Pietersen playing full-time, to be available for the whole season, but he had to make time for the national team, rightly so...I wouldn't be surprised if he went upwards of £2.5 to £3million."

    So where will Pietersen end up? With MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina already retained, the Chennai Super Kings seems an unlikely destination.

    As does Mumbai where the Indians have kept Kieron Pollard, Ambati Rayudu and Rohit Sharma.

    Royal Challengers Bangalore seem well stocked with expensive middle-order talent too having retained AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli, not to mention Chris Gayle at the top of the order.

    All the other franchises have a need for a big mid-innings striker. Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad all seem good fits.

3. IPL Debutants Set To Shine

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    A string of fine performances with both bat and ball against the West Indies and then India have made Corey Anderson one of the hottest properties in this week's auction.

    Another New Zealander who can score quickly and could be had for a bargain price is Martin Guptill. The Kiwi opener averages just over 34 in T20 internationals at a strike rate of 124.50. With a starting price of Rs 5 million ($80,000) he could provide some excellent value.

    Alex Hales is another IPL newbie with a big reputation. The England opener is rated the No. 2 batsman in the international T20 rankings but has struggled of late.

    With a top score of just 32 in his past 10 innings it will take a brave team to pay top dollar for the Nottinghamshire man. If he does recover his form he could prove to be one of the biggest stars of the competition.

    Australian spinner Nathan Lyon has never played a T20 international but appears to have the right temperament for the high pressure IPL atmosphere. Lyon has taken 15 wickets in three Test appearances in India and could spring a surprise if selected.

    Other players who could provide rich rewards at a potentially bargain price include England all-rounder Samit Patel, Kiwi Mitchell McClenaghan and South Africa's Reeza Hendricks who impressed in the recent Ram Slam T20 Challenge.

    For a real under the radar pick, how about former England paceman Simon Jones? Even at the age of 35, the Welshman can get the ball down at a decent lick. If he can get the reverse swing going he could still be a serious proposition.

4. Marquee Mistakes?

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    Thirteen of the 16 "Marquee Players" are the wrong side of 30 and some have started to show their age.

    Despite a fantastic career, time seems to be catching up with Indian legend Virender Sehwag. The opener has passed 50 just once in his past 15 innings in all forms of the game and it would be a bold move if anyone spent serious cash on the 35-year-old.

    With 95 wickets at an average of 20.25 in his 76 appearances, Amit Mishra has a fine IPL record. The leg-spin bowler has struggled in the shortest form of the game of late though, taking just two wickets in his last six T20 outings.

    Yuvraj Singh is another Indian favourite going through a rough patch. He's lacked both runs and wickets in Indian domestic cricket but enjoys the 20-over game. With 1,475 runs and 29 wickets in the IPL, Yuvraj has the pedigree. Will anyone be prepared to pay a huge salary for the all-rounder though?

5. Late Departures: Morgan and Haddin

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    The list of notable absentees from this year's IPL has just got a little longer with both Brad Haddin and Eoin Morgan opting out of the 2014 competition.

    The Australian wicketkeeper has cited "family reasons" for his non-appearance.

    With a Kevin Pietersen-sized gap in England's middle order waiting to be filled, Morgan has opted for the County Championship rather than the IPL to stake his claim.

    The other name to be scrubbed from the auction list is Chris Morris. The South African seamer will be out of action for six months thanks to an ankle injury.