When Richard Madley raised his pocket-size hammer in 2008, it was the first time players were auctioned in any form of cricket.
Three hammers on the podium and the auction begins. It is Richard Madley’s style. Every year, he starts the IPL auction by hitting his pocket-size hammer thrice on the podium. Richard Madley is professional auctioneer who lives in the USA. Richard Madley was a league cricketer once. Then he joined the auction house and became an auctioneer. Today, he is famously known as IPL auctioneer. Even his twitter handle introduces him as IPL auctioneer.
In 2008, the auction was a new thing for everyone related to cricket. Even franchise owners had no idea about the auction. They were sitting with their coaches and icon players on the auction table. Coaches and icon players helped the owners in building up a team in the first IPL auction.
- Every year BCCI give franchises a purse of certain amount and franchises has to buy the players and raise the bid by keeping that purse in mind.
- All the franchises are given clear guideline about how many Indian, uncapped and foreign players they can have in their team.
- BCCI divide the players participating in the auction in different sets.
- BCCI provide different slabs of base price to the players who are selected for the auction. Then players choose their slabs according to their reputation and the ability.
- Auction starts with marquee players. Marquee players are those players who go in the auction as hot favourites and every franchise wants them in their team. After marquee players, batsmen come under the hammer. And after the batsmen, wicket keepers, fast bowlers and spinners go under the hammer. The same process is repeated with the uncapped players. The only difference is, there is no marquee list among uncapped players.
In 2008, franchises went for the big names. Dhoni got the highest price as Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh were classified as icon players. Icon players didn’t enter the auction as they represented their hometown and the franchises representing their hometowns decided to make them the captain of their team.
Chennai Super Kings went for Dhoni without thinking about their purse. Apart from Dhoni, Andrew Symonds, Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan and Brett Lee were the gainers in the first auction of Indian Premier League.
Auctions after 2008
After the first auction, all players never came back in the auction. From 2009 onwards, franchises sat on the auction table either to fill the spots or to try the new combinations with their core players. Franchises were allowed to retain the players who had become an integral part of their team. Except 2008, franchises retained key players in every big auction.
Players like Dhoni, Raina and Virat Kohli never came back in the auction. They were always retained by the franchises. After getting big and performing names in their side, franchises made them an integral part of their side.
Strategizing the auction
With every auction, franchises got smarter. After going for big names in the first two to three auctions, franchises started investing smartly. Franchises started picking the players who they thought will get along well with their retained lot and will win the tournament for them. They started doing the homework before the auction. Franchise owners and coaches sat on the auction table with the set of names or players whom they wanted in their team. They started bidding as per the requirement of the squad.
Different players were selected by the franchises for different roles in the team. For example, a franchise needs a batsman. So, to fill the batsman’s slot, that franchise will select few batsmen (from the lot available) before the auction. Out of those selected batsmen, some will be frontline batsmen whom the franchise desperately want in the team and others will be backup options. The same process is applied to bowlers, all-rounders and wicket keepers. In this way, the trends in the auction changed over the period of time.
Franchises start bidding for the frontline players in every department (as per their requirement). If they get those frontline players and if the empty slots are filled, they stop bidding. And if franchises don’t get frontline players then they go for backup options.
In this process of getting horses for courses, franchises have made some unknown kids very rich. After 2008, we have seen some surprises and some shocks in every IPL auction. In every auction, some unknown players get big bucks as their bidding goes beyond expectations and some well-known players go unsold.
As per the trend set lately, franchises invest a huge amount in young horses (players) and ignore or buy the experienced horses at the base price.
Bidding for young guns
Everybody salutes the rising sun. In IPL, franchises salute and pay the huge amount to young and upcoming players and ignore the experienced lot. Even though young players are like the rising sun, there is no replacement for experience. Franchises shouldn’t ignore experienced players. To win the IPL, the franchise needs a good mixture of youth and experience. So bidding should be equal for young and experienced players.
In short, bidding of players brings happiness and disappointment together. It makes some unknown players rich and wealthy. While the experienced lot is disparaged by its nature. Franchises realise their mistake after letting the player go but then also they keep on bidding and the show goes on.