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It's all about money as IPL gets ready to auction players

It's all about money as IPL gets ready to auction players

BCCI has also categorised some Indian cricketers as 'Icon Players'.

New Delhi: It's raining millions for Indian cricketers. The Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to take the cricket world by storm riding on the back of its multi-million dollar budget and a host of international stars.

After the million-dollar bids for the teams, it's the turn of the players to mop up huge sums of money.

India's top players like Sachin Tendulker, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have been reportedly quoted at about Rs 1.6 crore each while Australian leg-spin legend Shane Warne is also likely to get the same amount.

Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid and Yuvraj will, however, be playing for their home teams. Dhoni, who is from Jharkhand and has no home team, is likely to play for the Kolkata team. The auction process will take place on February 20 in Mumbai.

The star players know as 'Icon Players' are going to feature in their home teams and would not be auctioned.

"Players in the auction pool will be graded (Category A-F) depending on skills. Names of players from each category will be put in a bowl. One player’s name will be pulled out and the bidding will take place. The player will be handed over to the franchise owner with the highest bid," BCCI Vice-President and Chairman of IPL Lalit Modi reveals.

Other overseas players who are likely to command huge price tags include former Australian fast bowler Glen McGrath and former New Zealand skipper Stephen Fleming.

A second category of players called 'Marquee Players' will have names like Australian skipper Ricky Ponting and the West Indies' Chris Gayle and they, too, are likely to command a huge premium.

The players will be auctioned during an open bid that would be held in the country's financial capital Mumbai on February 20.

All About Money

Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj Singh and Mahendra Singh Dhoni ----- $400,000

Anil Kumble and Harbhajan ----- $250,000

Virender Sehwag, Sreesanth, Zaheer Khan, Rudra Pratap Singh, Robin Uthappa, Murali Kartik and Dinesh Karthik ---- $200,000

Irfan Pathan ------- $175,000

Rohit Sharma -----$150,000

Mohammad Kaif, Suresh Raina and Yousuf Pathan ---- $125,000

Joginder Sharma -------- $100,000-$125,000

Munaf Patel and Ishant Sharma ----- $100,000

However, some Indian players are upset at their base price being pegged lower than some players from other countries.

Players like Zaheer Khan and Robin Uthappa can be picked up for a minimum of $200,000 each while a team will have to shell out atleast $250,000 dollars each Pakistani players Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik.

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There are some other concerns too. For instance, Warne who has retired from international cricket stands to earn $450,000 while Indian stars like Tendulkar and Dhoni are going to be paid about $50,000 less.

The players also don't see any reason for the limit that has been set on the franchisees of $5 million dollars or Rs 20 crore to buy players. They feel that if the franchisee is keen to spend more they should be allowed to do so.

Some players are also unhappy with the contracts being broken up into two categories - Basic and Firm.

Under the basic contract a player is entitled to the entire amount he is sold off for while in a firm contract any amount over and above that set for them goes back to the IPL.

The days of big money is here

The infusion of huge amount of money into Indian cricket is not a sudden phenomenon. While cricketers, who represent the men's national team, have been racking in the mullahs for more than a decade, their domestic counterparts were paid peanuts.

But all of that changed after India's dismal performance at the World Cup in the West Indies last year and the Board of Control for Cricket in India's (BCCI) alleged unprofessional attitude saw the entry of Essel Group in the cricket field.

Essel's Subhas Chandra launched the Indian Cricket League (ICL) and showered huge amounts of money on recruiting Indian and overseas players for the new venture.

The BCCI, not known for taking any crisis head-on, swung into action and launched its own cricket league to counter ICL. As the ICL was busy organising its first tournament at Chandigarh in December, the BCCI was tightening the nuts and bolts of the IPL.

Moreover, the fee structure of domestic cricket, too, was changed for the better and even retired and former players saw their pensions ballooning as the BCCI went all out to counter the ICL.

And when the bids for the IPL teams were announced the BCCI, already the richest cricket board in the world, was laughing all the way to the bank. The bidders included not only business tycoons but also some of the biggest Bollywood stars.

Actor Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Private Limited bagged the Kolkata team while business tycoons Vijay Mallya and Mukesh Ambani got the Bangalore and Mumbai teams respectively.

Another Bollywood star Preity Zinta and Ness Wadia got the Mohali/Chandigarh while Delhi went to the GMR group. The Hyderabad team went to Deccan Chronicle while Emerging Media and India Cement bagged Jaipur and Chennai respectively.

Winning bids:

Bangalore Team ---- Vijay Mallya ------------------ $111.6 million

Mumbai Team ------- Mukesh Ambani ------------ $111.9 million

Kolkata Team ------- Shah Rukh Khan ----------- $75.09 million

Delhi Team ---------- GMR ---------------------------- $ 84 million

Chennai Team ----- India Cement ----------------- $91 million

Mohali Team -------- Preity Zinta, Ness Wadia -- $76 million

Jaipur team --------- Emerging Media ------------- $67 million

Hyderabad team -- Deccan Chronicle ------------ $107.1 million

first published:February 19, 2008, 16:37 IST