Express News Service

CHENNAI: Even as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is close to finalising the retention rules for franchises, many of India’s top players are ready to test waters at the IPL auction. With two new teams inducted into the league, a big auction is lined up, which could take place in December or January.

As things stand, the chances of franchises getting four players to retain are high with two new teams allowed to pick up to three players through a draft system before the auction begins. With regards to retention, teams have been told informally by the BCCI that they can retain either three Indians and one overseas player or two Indians and two overseas players.

With regards to the right-to-match card (RTM), a consensus has not been reached with some franchises keen on continuing and others against it. The BCCI too believes RTM should be done away with as two new teams are in the fray.

While retaining players will undoubtedly leave the two mew teams weaker at the auction pool, the BCCI has decided to introduce a draft system for Lucknow and Ahmedabad alone.

According to an official privy to developments, once the other eight franchises decide on their retention list and release other players into the auction pool, the two new teams will be allowed to pick up to three players in a draft system.

Lucknow will get the first pick because they made the highest bid at the franchise auction. The two teams will be allowed to pick two Indian and one overseas player as the BCCI is still formulating what the retention fee will be for each of these players including ones who will be retained. The final say on retention is on the players and for those who are picked at the draft, the consent of the player will be sought before signing.

These are likely to be finalised in the coming days and several top players are understood to be keen on being released by their respective franchises. While the likes of Virat Kohli, Devdutt Padikkal, Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Ishan Kishan, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Ravindra Jadeja, Ruturaj Gaikwad are set to be retained, others could find themselves back in the auction pool.

According to an official, several Indian players are understood to be waiting for the BCCI to finalise the retention fee before deciding whether they will be part of the auction or not.

At least one franchise found it hard to convince one of their top Indian players to stay back and has come to the acceptance that he won’t continue. Two other teams are still negotiating with their players and remain hopeful that they will agree.

There are also whispers that one of the leading franchises may spring a surprise and release their star player if it decides to build a team with an eye on the future. The said player is already of big interest to the Lucknow franchise as a clearer picture is expected in the next couple of days.

The reason why many are keen on going back to the auction pool is that in case they happen to be the third player on the retainer list, they stand to earn not more than Rs 8 crore as there are two more teams. But given it is a bigger auction and teams have to build a full squad, they may not fetch a big amount.

In recent times, the costliest ones have all been from the mini-auctions, which some franchises have also mentioned in their negotiations with players. Among overseas players, David Warner had already told SEN Radio that he will be in the auction pool.