The auction of players during the Indian Premier League is one of the most anticipated events in the cricketing calendar for fans, players and tournament franchises. However, the IPL 2019 auction has a different feel this time around. For the first time after a long time, the auctions will be held in December. Delhi Daredevils have changed their name to Delhi Capitals. The IPL will be played for the first time before the World Cup, which will be held in June 2019 in England. Even the auctioneer is new. Richard Madley, who has held every auction from 2008 till 2018, still has grudges that he has dropped just like that and is voicing his dissent.
Amidst all this, 346 players will go under the hammer. No Indian player is in the elite Rs 2 crore bracket while the highest-priced Indian player will be Jaydev Unadkat with Rs 1.5 crore. In 2009 and 2014, the Assembly elections forced the IPL to be played in South Africa and partly in the United Arab Emirates respectively. In 2019, the General Elections will once again be held in India around the April-May period, which could mean that the IPL could be played on foreign shores from March end to the starting of May, majority of which could be in South Africa or the UAE. However, 2019 is the year of the World Cup and this has forced the marquee Twenty20 tournament to be consigned to a mere sideshow. The main reason will be that for the first time in the history of the tournament, the IPL will be played before the World Cup.
Cricket Australia has clearly said that players will not be available for the tournament from May 1. With their Sheffield Shield season coming to a close in March and with an upcoming ODI series against India after that, players like Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc have opted out of the tournament. Even the England Cricket Board has decided to protect players. With the World Cup beginning in the end of May, most international players will have to attend preparatory camps.
With so many countries and boards deciding to not commit to a full season, the tournament lacks big marquee players. However, there are some interesting players who can go for big bucks.
Shimron Hetmyer, who dazzled the cricketing world with his flair and Calypso like aggression in the series against India and Bangladesh, is expected to fetch big numbers. Sam Curran, the England allrounder who hurt India in the Test series, is in the Rs 2 crore bracket and he will be expected to feature prominently in the auction.
Out of 346 players, 213 are uncapped Indians and the one who has gotten the most hype is Varun Chakravarthy, the Tamil Nadu mystery spinner who is talked up as an exciting prospect. Shivam Dubey, who is touted as the next Yuvraj Singh, can be a good bargain buy. Anmolpreet Singh has starred for Punjab in the Vijay Hazare while Milind Kumar, who is the only batsman to hit 1000 runs in the current Ranji Trophy, might get a good buy.
Overall, this is not a huge auction when it comes to numbers. However, this might give us the chance to see more of the Indian talent come to the fore and display their skills on the bigger stage.