IPL 2021 auction likely on February 11

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January 20 last date to submit list of retained players

MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings, Rohit Sharma’s Mumbai Indians, and all other franchises will have to submit their list of retained players on January 20  

The 2021 IPL auction is likely to be held on February 11. The IPL has also set January 20 as the deadline for the eight franchises to submit the lists of retained and released players.

Those were two of the key decisions taken by the IPL Governing Council which met virtually on Monday. The dates and venue(s) haven’t been finalised yet for the 2021 edition which the BCCI recently decided would remain an eight-team event.

The venue for the auction, which will be a day-long event, has not been finalised yet either. However, it will take place in the short break between the first and the second Test of the India-England Test series which begins in February. The first two Tests of the England series are scheduled in Chennai with the first match to be played between February 5-9. The second Test will run from 13th to 17th.

IPL in India? Not yet certain

It is understood the three-person panel, which is headed by former India batsman Brijesh Patel and also has former India left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha as a member, deliberated on the various options for the venue. With the pandemic continuing to surge in India, the Governing Council is understood to have retained the UAE as one of the options.

With the pandemic throwing up several challenges regularly, the IPL remains uncertain about whether to conduct matches on a home-and-away basis which would mean having a minimum of eight venues. The other alternative, which was also discussed last year before moving the tournament to the UAE, is to organise the tournament at few venues which would entail minimal travel for teams.

The balance purse

Although the franchises would want the IPL to firm up the tournament venue, they are currently busy finalising the list of players they would want to retain and release. That is the first step to prepare ahead of the auction which for several teams this time would be more about plugging holes than making wholesale changes.

Like every year the IPL is likely to enhance the auction purse by INR 3 crore. Incidentally, the Chennai Super Kings, who had glaring holes and finished at the bottom of the points table in IPL 2020, had the smallest purse after the last auction.

They had just 0.15 crore left in their purse while the Kings XI Punjab had the largest balance of INR 16.5 crore. Here’s the balance purse for the rest of the teams: Rajasthan Royals (14.75 crore), Sunrisers Hyderabad (10.1 crore), Delhi Capitals (9 crore), Kolkata Knight Riders (8.5 crore), Royal Challengers Bangalore (6.4 crore), and Mumbai Indians (1.95 crore).

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo