With two new teams and 590 players all hoping to land a lucrative and perhaps life-changing deal, this year’s Indian Premier League mega auction – as the name suggests – is going to be huge.
The world’s richest cricket competition will return for its 15th edition on 2 April, with the final taking place on 2 June as Chennai Super Kings look to defend their crown.
But before focus turns to matters on the field, franchises will battle it out in a two-day bidding frenzy in Bangalore this weekend.
Experience over youth? Blow your budget on marquee names? Or take a gamble on an unknown player? From the ins and outs of how the auction works to the global superstars up for grabs, this guide will tell you all you need to know about the 2022 IPL mega auction.
Plus, at the bottom, you can get a taste of what it’s like to be an IPL franchise owner by picking your top three from 10 star players in this year’s auction.
New franchises and familiar faces
CSK beat Kolkata Knight Riders by 27 runs in last year’s IPL final, but their hopes of equalling Mumbai Indians’ record five-trophy haul may prove to be slightly more difficult this year; the introduction of Lucknow Super Giants and the Gujarat Titans from Ahmedabad takes the number of IPL teams to 10.
There will be 370 Indian players and 220 overseas players up for auction, 49 of which have set their baseline price at the top 20 million (2 crore) Indian Rupees (£196,706) mark.
Among those is the player of the T20 World Cup and IPL veteran David Warner. The opening batter, with 5,449 runs in 150 matches, is the top overseas (and fifth overall) run-scorer in IPL history.
Warner’s World Cup winning team-mates Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc are also available and we may see a hotly-contested bidding war for other overseas names such as South Africa trio Faf du Plessis, Quinton de Kock and Kagiso Rabada, and New Zealand’s Trent Boult.
But it’s not just the overseas players who franchise owners will be vying to sign; a host of experienced and well-known Indian cricketers are also available.
Delhi Capitals did not retain opener Shikhar Dhawan, who enjoyed a stellar 2021 campaign with 587 runs, and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who despite a disappointing IPL last year is still the sixth highest wicket-taker in IPL history with 145 dismissals in 167 games.
Seamer Deepak Chahar, who is also handy with the bat, has been CSK’s leading wicket-taker over the last four seasons but is now free to join any team, while spinner Yuzvendra Chahal – formerly of Royal Challengers Bangalore – could also go for big money.
Explosive batter Shreyas Iyer, released by finalists KKR, and wicketkeeper batter Ishan Kishan, who played for Mumbai Indians, are two of the other Indian stars on offer.
England stars eyeing up big-money contracts
There will be 24 England players up for auction, including World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, who led KKR to last year’s final, and wicketkeeper-batter Jonny Bairstow.
While Morgan struggled with the bat last year, averaging just 11 in 17 matches, his experience and leadership skills will hold him in high regard.
Bairstow, meanwhile, averaged 41.33 at a strike-rate of 141.71 in seven matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad and will expect to be picked up by one of the franchises.
Jason Roy is a man in form, having smashed 116 from just 57 balls for Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League on Monday, while Liam Livingstone is one of the most feared batters in the game.
Adil Rashid is one of the top bowlers in limited-overs cricket and a player you may expect to be signed but, quite staggeringly, the 33-year-old leg-spinner has played just one match in IPL history.
England Test captain Joe Root did not put himself forward, while Ben Stokes – the most expensive player at the 2018 auction when he was signed by Rajasthan Royals – has ruled himself out of this year’s tournament to concentrate on Test cricket.
Surprisingly, Jofra Archer has put his name up for auction but the fast bowler has not played cricket since July and is still recovering from elbow surgery. It is unlikely he will feature in this year’s tournament, but he may be attractive to franchises who wants to build a team for future years.
Some of the other English stars who will be keeping a keen eye on the auction are Alex Hales, Sam Billings, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, James Vince, David Willey and Mark Wood.
Moeen & Buttler retained, RCB keep Kohli & CSK’s Dhoni still going
Teams from last year’s IPL were permitted to retain up to four players, with the two new franchises signing three new players each before the auction.
The number of players retained by each franchise dictates their remaining budget at the auction, and teams can assemble squads of no more than 25 players each.
England’s Jos Buttler can take the game away from any opponent and, having hit his maiden IPL century last year, has been kept on by Rajasthan Royals.
Moeen Ali proved his worth with some fine all-round performances for CSK last year and the all-rounder has subsequently been retained by the champions, alongside 40-year-old captain and India veteran MS Dhoni, who is still going strong.
India batter Virat Kohli stepped down as RCB skipper last year but, as one of the most popular athletes in world sport and the finest batters in the game, has unsurprisingly been retained by the franchise.
Super Giants have secured India duo KL Rahul and Ravi Bishnoi and Australia all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, while Titans have also shown they mean business in their maiden IPL campaign by signing India’s Hardik Pandya and Shubman Gill and Afghanistan’s superstar spinner Rashid Khan.