The Indian Premier League (IPL) — the world’s biggest T20 league — is famous for its on-field drama, loyal fans, and thriller matches. But there is one thing that happens off the field that sets the tone for the upcoming IPL season. 

IPL auction. Yes, you read that right!

The IPL player auction brings excitement to the table. Its unpredictable nature, players getting mind-blowing bids, and teams trying to grab the best players add up to the excitement.

But how does the whole IPL auction work? In this article, I will break down the rules and process for you.

All About the IPL Auction

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) held the first-ever IPL auction in 2008. Since then, they have been organising it every year.

Every year, hundreds of Indian and overseas players register their names and go under the hammer. Teams pick up some of them, while others remain unsold.

But how long does the player auction last? And how frequently is it organised?

IPL Auction Duration

As mentioned above, the auction happens every year. The BCCI organises the IPL auction 2-3 months before the IPL kicks off.

Now, there are two types of auctions — mega and mini. The mega auction happens every 3 years. While the mini auction takes place every year (between two mega auctions).

Furthermore, the duration of the mega auction is 2 days, whereas the mini auction lasts for 1 day. For instance, IPL 2022 had a mega auction lasting 2 days, and IPL 2023 had a mini auction lasting 1 day. 

During the auction, franchises tend to spend a lot of money on players. As a result, the BCCI has put a cap on the auction purse. So how much is the limit?

How Much is the IPL Auction Purse Limit?

To make the auction fair, the BCCI sets a spending limit on every franchise. In the IPL 2023 auction, teams had a purse limit of Rs. 95 crores.

Now the amount is not fixed. Every year, the purse increases by Rs. 5 crores. Moreover, it’s mandatory that franchises spend at least 75% of their total purse. And it won’t be unfair to say that some franchises would be more than happy to spend beyond the purse limit.

However, some teams will enter the auction with a lot of money, while others will have a few crores, depending on their player retention.

IPL Player Retention Rules

Before every mini-auction, teams announce a list of retained players from their previous squad. Most of the retained players form the core of the team and are high performers.

The teams release those players who do not perform well in the league. Sometimes franchises also release some expensive players and try to buy them at a lower price in the auction. Now the teams have to fill the gaps by buying talented players in the auction. 

Meanwhile, before a mega auction, teams are allowed to retain a specific number of players. And they have to build the rest of the team from scratch.

But there is a ceiling on the number of players each team can have.

How Many Players can a Franchise Buy?

The BCCI has set a limit on the number of players a team can buy in the auction. Every IPL franchise can buy a maximum of 25 players and a minimum of 18 players.

There is also a limit on buying overseas players. Each team can have a maximum of 8 players, with 4 making the playing XI.

Every player is split into different categories before the auction happens. What are those categories? And on what basis are the players divided?

What Are the Player Categories in the IPL Auction?

All the registered cricketers are divided into three categories:

  • Capped Indian players
  • Uncapped Indian players
  • Overseas players

Capped Indian Players

Players from this category must have represented India in any format at least once.

Uncapped Indian Players

Meanwhile, the uncapped players are Indian domestic cricketers who have played First-Class or List-A games.

Overseas Players

And finally, overseas players come from any ICC full member or associate member nation except Pakistan.

Once the players are categorised, they have to decide their base price.

What is the Base Price in the IPL Auction?

Now, each player can choose a suitable base price according to them. The minimum base price a player can have is Rs. 20 lakh. The other price slabs are — Rs. 30 lakhs, Rs. 40 lakhs, Rs. 50 lakhs, Rs. 75 lakhs, Rs. 1 crore, Rs. 1.5 crore, and Rs. 2 crore.

And finally, the players register their names along with their category, base price, and speciality. Now it’s time to move on to the final step, shall we?

IPL Auction Process

The IPL player auction is a crucial aspect of team building. All the franchises bring their strategies to the auction table to build formidable squads.

A few days before the auction, the BCCI releases the list of registered players. The list includes batters, bowlers, all-rounders, and wicket-keepers. All these registered players are put into different slots according to their specialities.

On auction day, the auctioneer picks random names from the slots, and a bidding war starts between the teams. The bidding war continues until the auctioneer says, “Sold!”. 

The players are sold to the teams that make the highest bid. And you never know when a player will become a millionaire in a matter of a few minutes.

Besides, there will be instances where players will go unsold because no teams bid on them. But they get one more chance to go under the hammer.

The players who remain unsold in the initial rounds become eligible to be part of the accelerated bidding round. All the teams pick a specific number of players they want in the accelerated round. There is a high chance that teams will pick up some of them.

Yet, even after the accelerated round, some players remain unsold. However, teams can pick players as replacements for injured players before or during the IPL season.

The auction process continues until all the teams fill their mandatory slots.

Conclusion

Once the auction is over, some teams will leave the auction room with satisfaction, while others will question their picks until the player performs in the league. But I must admit, the IPL auction certainly makes the IPL more fascinating!

It’s important to note that the exact rules and regulations of the IPL player auction may vary slightly from season to season, as the BCCI can make changes or introduce new guidelines.

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