IPL Auctions

The IPL auction is due to start in an hour. I seriously wish I were there. Preferably representing one of the franchises, maybe the UB group. Every franchise team there needs one guy who is good at economics and quantitative stuff. I’m kicking myself for not thinking on these lines earlier.

The structure of the auction itself is interesting. Players’ names will get picked randomly, and teams will have to bid for them in an open auction. The money goes to the BCCI coffers. Yes, the more intuitive thing to have done would have been to let the teams build their own teams. However, that wouldnt’ have fetched much for the BCCI. Unless it levied some extra “income tax”.

I have a feeling that the eight franchises have got together in a hotel room last night and mutually decided who gets whom. The gentleman’s game can do well with a gentleman’s agreement (though the last such agreement – about close catches – turned ungentlemanly). So the Madras team will have requested the others not to bid for Dinesh Karthik, and in return they won’t bid for Gilchrist or Dhoni or Sangakkara or …? There will definitely be a few clashes. The fact that the franchisees didn’t allow VVS Laxman to be a marquee player clearly shows one other franchise (apart from Hyderabad) is interested in him. These will probably be the only guys who will get aggressively bid for.

It is clear that cut throat competition between the franchises will bring no benefit to them. It will only leave a few of them poorer. Of course, if there is one cash-rich franchise who will want to raise money for the BCCI they might generally bid up for all players. However, the gentlemen’s agreement is likely to take care of this.

Also, I realize that the process of team building here is non-trivial – in fact it is much tougher than in the normal super selector games. Here, there is exclusivity – each guy has to play for only one team, prices are dynamic, players’ names are picked in random order which means you have to make “online decisions” (one problme that has left my head in shambles, both during my BTech project, and earlier in this job).. Each franchise is allowed to take some six people for the auction. I’m sure one of the six for each franchise will be this quant guy. Damn! I wanted to be there!

Ok – here is my prediction. The “big marquee guys” are more likely to go to teams who have a good ranji base in the catchment area – say Jaipur or Delhi. These teams know that they can build a good base of the squad from even outside of these auctions (Delhi has Delhi and UP under it, while Jaipur has Rajasthan, Baroda, Saurashtra and Gujarat) so they’ll prefer to use their money to get in a few stalwarts. Need not be very sale-able names (they’ll go to the teams who have really big business interests – such as Bangalore) but really good guys. Like Gayle or Sangakkara or Oram or Kallis…

Bangalore and Hyderabad are two teams whose promotors have “B2C” (business to consumer) businesses, and don’t have a very strong ranji base. It will be interesting to see what they do – they need to get the bulk of the squad in the auctions, and the marquee players will be of best value to these promoters than for anything else. Maybe they’ll get one or two marquee guys each and spend the rest on mid-table guys.

It’s all oh-so-confusing! And the BCCI are fools to not telecast this auction live! Would’ve brought in good money for Set Max I think. At least a web cast or something would have been good.. .

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