New Delhi, Jan 21: Controversial English all-rounder Ben Stokes along with his Test skipper Joe Root and India's premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin are among the 16 marquee players for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) Players' Auction in Bengaluru on January 27 and 28. On Saturday, the IPL announced the final auction pool of 578 players, having pruned the original 1,122-strong list. The auction pool has been divided into different sets based on the area of expertise of the player. The auction will begin with the two sets of maquee players going up for bidding. The players have been bracketed into eight distinct slabs as per their profiles. The slabs for internationals (Indian and foreign) are Rs 2 crore, Rs 1.5 crore, Rs 1 crore, Rs 75 lakh and Rs 50 lakh respectively while uncapped players are base-priced at Rs 40, 30 and 20 lakh respectively. "A lot of strategising and number-crunching is involved before a cricketer is picked at the IPL Player Auction. The dynamic nature of the auction makes it unpredictable and exciting," IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla said in a release.
"The eight franchises have given us an indication of what their core would be with their Player Retentions and IPL 2018 Player Auction will be an important step towards the creation of a successful team. "The marquee list is full of star players, but I am also looking forward to the uncapped Indian players who have proved their mettle in the earlier editions of the VIVO IPL and are sure to attract high bids," he added. Among the 16 marquee players bracketed into M1 and M2 categories, current India players Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane are in the top marquee list along with Stokes, who is again expected to trigger a bidding war. Australia's Mitchell Starc and West Indian power-hitter Chris Gayle are also in the M1 category. Some of the veteran internationals in the second tier of the marquee list (M2) are Harbhajan Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Yuvraj Singh. With 13 Indian players in the Rs 2 crore bracket, after a long time franchises will get to choose from current India players. Murali Vijay, Kedar Jadhav, Lokesh Rahul, Yuzvendra Chahal, Dinesh Karthik are in the top wishlist of the franchises along with Afghan leg-spin sensation Rashid Khan.
South African paceman Kagiso Rabada is in the Rs 1.5 crore bracket while Brandon McCullum and Faf du Plessis are priced at Rs 2 crore and Chennai Super Kings have their Right to Match Cards (RTM). Australian dasher Chris Lynn is also in the Rs 2 crore bracket. As per the list provided, 36 players are in all in Rs 2 crore bracket while 32 have priced themselves in the Rs 1.5 crore zone. There are 31 in the Rs 1 crore category followed by 23 in the Rs 75 lakh and a whopping 122 in the Rs 50 lakh base price bracket respectively. There are 62 capped Indian players in the auction while the number of uncapped local players is 288. Compared to Indians, the number of capped foreign internationals is 92 while 36 uncapped overseas talent have thrown their hat in the ring. Some of the big uncapped names include Krunal Pandya, Prithvi Shaw and Kamlesh Nagarkoti.