The biggest open market spectacle in modern cricket is going to take place over two days on Wednesday and Thursday when some of the biggest names in world cricket go under the hammer. Although most of the top teams have made their intentions clear by announcing the players that they are going to retain, it is interesting how they would react to the news of England ace and star batsman Kevin Pietersen being available for the entire duration of the tournament. Now Pietersen is a batsman who can single-handedly win games for any of the 8 teams in the IPL and as a matter of fact he could even inspire a winning all on his own, like he did for England when they won the World T20 in 2010.
Till last week, Pietersen was not someone who was being considered by most of the franchises because of the fact that the price tag that he would command in an open auction would not do justice to the number of games that he would turn out for. After all, no one would want to block a major part of the auction money on a player who might not be available for large stretches of the tournament; however that situation has changed completely as all teams are aware of the latest drama in Pietersen’s England career.
Now, the teams who have retained 5 players are not in a great position to take advantage of this situation and that is something that should work in favour of the likes of KKR, RCB, Delhi Daredevils, Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad since they have a bigger amount of money at their disposal as opposed to CSK and MI, who most certainly would have gone for him had they not retained 5 players each.
Former IPL commissioner Lalit Modi thinks Kevin Pietersen could earn as much as £3m in a single IPL season. http://t.co/D6vuKCTl9p
— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) February 6, 2014
A bidding war is most certainly going to ensue among those 5 franchises mentioned above but as of now it is Delhi Daredevils who are in pole position to buy the player because of 2 reasons. One, they have not retained a single player from their roster of players that played for them in the past 3 seasons; as a result they have the entire kitty of Rs 600 million at their disposal. Secondly, they have the huge advantage of the ‘Right to Match’ card as well since Kevin Pietersen used to be a DD player in the past and so whatever the other franchises might bid, DD could whisk the player away from under their noses by triggering that clause. However, the other franchises like CSK and MI might also drive the price up since they would not want DD to make their cash balances go down. KKR, RCB and Sunrisers Hyderabad would most certainly love to have a player of his calibre in their team, however they would have to rework their strategies if they are to bag Pietersen. As of now, Delhi Daredevils looks like the most likely destination for the maverick player, but IPL auctions can be quite unpredictable.
By Soham Samaddar
Image Source: Kevin Pietersen@facebook