India's limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, along with his teammates Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and Ravichandran Ashwin, among others, will be up for grabs for the two new IPL teams in the draft to be held in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Sanjeev Goenka's New Rising won the bid for the Pune franchise while Intex won the bid for Rajkot after a reverse bidding process, in Delhi on December 8, to replace suspended teams Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for the next two editions to in 2016 and 2017.
Also available for picking by the Twenty20 League's two new franchises are other top international stars, like New Zealander Brendon McCullum, Australia's Shane Watson, now retired from international cricket, and current captain Steven Smith, and West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo from a total of 50 cricketers, who played for the suspended Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals in the previous edition earlier this year.
Pune will be given the choice of picking the players first, because they were the lowest bidders (negative bids) to buy the new team for two years in the draft, which will be held at the Mumbai Cricket Association's recreation centre at the Bandra Kurla Complex.
The bidding process for the two new franchises was necessitated following the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for the involvement of some of their officials and co-owners in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, which was probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice (retd) R M Lodha committee.
However, both the CSK and RR will be allowed back in the league after serving out their suspension.
The cricketers from the two suspended franchises will be divided into two groups of capped and uncapped and the top names will be sold through the draft system.
The two new teams will have a minimum of Rs 40 crore and a maximum of Rs 66 crore to buy players.
"The two new franchises have the option to pick a maximum of five players from the draft. Those players who are unsold will be put up for being chosen at the players' auction to be held in next February," a BCCI source told PTI ahead of the draft.
"The trading window (for buying players left free by other franchises) also commences on December 15 and ends on December 31," the source added.
It will be interesting to see whether India's T20 and World Cup-winning skipper Dhoni still commands the sort of appeal he generated when Chennai Super Kings gunned for him and won with a stunning million-dollar bid, unheard of in cricket then, in the first-ever players’ auction held eight years ago.
Dhoni, who led the Super Kings for eight seasons, is expected to be in the first list and the franchises, choosing the first two players in the draft in which one player each will be put up to be chosen alternately, will have to shell out Rs 12.5 crore.
It will also be interesting to note whether Rajkot guns for its home player, Jadeja, whose stock has risen after he made a comeback into the Indian squad in the Test series against South Africa and shone with both ball and bat.
Other leading players in the draft are CSK's Raina, Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo and McCullum and RR’s Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and Shane Watson.
As per the tender for the two new teams, the first capped player would be paid 12.5 crore while the remaining four capped players are to get Rs 9.5 crore, Rs 7.5 crore, Rs 5.5 crore, and Rs 4 crore respectively.
Uncapped players can be picked for a stipulated fee of Rs 4 crore.
The ninth edition of the IPL is scheduled from April 9 to May 29, 2016.
The players in the draft:
Indians (33): Ravichandran Ashwin, Stuart Binny, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina, Sanju Samson, Mohit Sharma, Rahul Sharma, Baba Aparajith, Ankush Bains, Rajat Bhatia, Eklavya Dwivedi, Deepak Hooda, Vikramjeet Malik, Mithun Manhas, Ronit More, Karun Nair, Pawan Negi, Ishwar Chandra Pandey, Pardeep Sahu, Dinesh Salunkhe, Barinder Singh Saran, Ankit Nagendra Sharma, Pratyush Singh Pravin Tambe, Rahul Tewatia, Sagar Vijay Trivedi and Dishant Yagnik.
Foreigners (17): Kyle Abbott (South Africa), Samuel Badree (West Indies), Dwayne Bravo (West Indies), Ben Cutting (Australia), Faf Du Plessis (South Africa), James Faulkner (Australia), Matt Henry (New Zealand), Michael Hussey (Australia), Brendon McCullum (New Zealand), Christopher Morris (South Africa), Kane Richardson (Australia), Dwayne Smith (West Indies), Steven Smith (Australia), Tim Southee (New Zealand), Juan Theron (South Africa), Andrew Tye (Australia) and Shane Watson (Australia).