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IPL go hammer and tongs

Dashing batsman Kevin Pietersen, recently axed for good by England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), will get a new lease of life when the two-day auction for the seventh edition of Indian Premier League (IPL)commences in Bangalore on 12 February. Pietersen, along with the sensational New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson, will be one of the first players to go under the hammer for a whooping price tag.

IPL governing council has pruned down the initial list of players from 651 to 514, among which 219 are capped players (those who played some form of international cricket).  This will also be the first time in IPL’s history that 292 uncapped players (255 form India) will be auctioned.
The cricketers have been divided into 53 sets with each lists ranging from eight to 10 players. The first list comprising some of the biggest stars is named Marquee 1 or M1. Along with Pietersen, the likes of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, David Warner, Ashes hero Mitchell Johnson, Mahela Jayawardene and the recently retired Jacques Kallis will also go under the hammer at the first go. Murali Vijay is also present in M1 list where all players have a base price of `2 crore save Warner (` 1.5 crore)
The second list of marquee player or M2 as they are slotted consists of New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, Australian ODI and T20 captain George Bailey, veteran speedster Zaheer Khan, South African batsman Faf Du Plessis, Australian batsman Michael Hussey and West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy to name a few.

Like in the previous years, no Pakistan players feature in the IPL list while there are a huge 28 sets slotted for the uncapped Indian and overseas players. While young South African keeper-batsman Quinton de Kock, who scored a hat-trick of ODI centuries is in the first list of capped wicketkeepers (WK 1) with a base price of Rs 1 crore, flavour of the season Anderson has been slotted in the second set of international all-rounder (AL 2) at No. 83.

The slotting of Anderson at 83 will mean that there will be a ‘Bidding War’ for the in-form burly Black Caps all-rounder as some of the teams with higher salary caps like Delhi Daredevils will have to face the might of Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians as the franchises are supposed to be on even keel by then. It’s surprising that Anderson didn’t find his name in the premier set of international all-rounders in which the Pathan brothers, Irfan and Yusuf have been clubbed alongside Shakib Al Hasan of Bangladesh, former Pakistan all-rounder Azhar Mahmood, who is now a British passport holder.
Set No. 25, which consists of uncapped Indian batsmen, will see a bidding war with likes of Kedar Jadhav, Unmukt Chand, Vijay Zol in that list. Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder Parvez Rasool is in Set No. 27 along with Himachal Pradesh’s Rishi Dhawan, who has been the highest wicket-taker in the Ranji season.
While most of the top Indian players have been retained by their franchises, Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara with a base price of Rs 1.5 crore will be the 18th player who will be auctioned. Some of the big draws in the specialist batsmen’s category include in-form Australian batsman Aaron Finch (Rs 1 crore), the dependable Brad Hodge (Rs 2 crore), England’s Eoin Morgan, West Indies’ Dwayne Smith and New Zealand’s Ross Taylor.

Among the list of premier fast bowlers, South Africa’s Morne Morkel will be a top draw at a base price of Rs 1.5 crore. The list has Aussie left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc with the highest base price (Rs 2 crore) along with Indians Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Rs 1.5 crore), Praveen Kumar (Rs 2 crore) and Ashoke Dinda (Rs 1 crore).
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