IPL Auction 2011: Yusuf Pathan is the hot pick

The explosive Yusuf Pathan is turning out to be the hottest property ahead of the 2011 Indian Premier League player auctions beginning Saturday in Bangalore.

Starting at a base price of $300,000, Pathan can easily expect bids for him to rocket to a million or maybe more.
At least six of the 10 franchises in the auction have no qualms admitting that they’ll go as far as possible to get him. “That’s where the franchises heading into the auction with a full purse of $9m will have an advantage,” says a franchise official, who claims to have even told Pathan that they’ll bid for him.

Five franchises — Kings XI Punjab, Knight Riders, Deccan Chargers, Sahara Pune Warriors and Kochi IPL — head into the auction with the full purse of $9m.

The remaining five have retained players and Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings in particular are left with just $4.5m. Royal Challengers and Delhi Daredevils can spend $7.2m while Rajasthan Royals have $5.7m left in their kitty.

“It’ll be surprising if franchises opt to spend a million or more on any player like it has happened on previous occasions. That’s exactly the reason why most franchises didn’t bother to exercise their right to retain their marquee players. Very few players will be in such huge demand ,” says a team owner.

Pathan certainly seems to be one of them. But Pathan aside, the franchise owners refuse to speak on who they plan to buy at the great Indian cricket bazaar. There’s suddenly an air of absolute secrecy surrounding the men who are going to write the cheques. TOI has learnt specifically that certain top Indian players have been assured by certain franchises that they’ll be picked. Yet nobody’s willing to speak about it as yet.

It won’t be surprising if Sourav Ganguly shifts from Kolkata to Pune and ditto for Yuvraj Singh who has fallen out big time with Kings XI Punjab. Kochi IPL may give everything possible to take home Gautam Gambhir who wasn’t retained by Delhi Daredevils. Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings will want their top bowlers — Zaheer Khan and Muttiah Muralitharan — who they couldn’t retain. It is only Deccan Chargers who have refused to speak about their interest in any name out of the 350-member list.

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