The IPL 2017 player auction is likely to take place in the third week of February following a delay from the originally proposed date of February 4. Although the BCCI has not issued a final date yet, franchises understand it would be anywhere between February 20 and 25. Last November the IPL Governing Council decided to schedule the IPL 2017 tournament between April 5 and May 21.
At that time, the player auction was slotted in tentatively for February 4 but that was ruled out as soon as the Supreme Court of India dismantled the BCCI house at the start of the year by removing its president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke and imposing various restrictions on the remaining eligible office bearers at the board. Although the BCCI management under its chief executive officer Rahul Johri was ready to stick to the timelines drawn last November, the court’s delay in appointing the committee of administrators put the IPL decisions on the backburner.
However, with a four-member committee of administrators taking charge on Monday, the IPL is back on the priority list. The committee of administrators met with the BCCI management team to discuss the immediate decisions that need to be taken concerning IPL.
“The Committee of Administrators (COA) met the concerned BCCI officials today to take stock of the urgent and important matters mainly concerning the successful conduct of IPL 2017,” a BCCI media release said. “The committee of administrators assured the franchises that it was overseeing the preparations for IPL and the ‘operational timelines’ will be sent out shortly.”
On their part, the franchises have remained patient throughout the delay. Officials at several franchises said the main reason behind their confidence was the court had always made sure that cricket was never affected, both domestic and international. Also, the delay in the auction, one franchise chief executive officer said, would be an advantage because teams could scout for domestic talent in the ongoing Inter-State T20 tournament which finishes on February 18.
If there is one thing the franchises are keen to get their hands on is the player roster – the final pool of players that will enter the auction. Normally the franchises get the roster two weeks ahead of the auction.
“If we get the roster we can start making a shortlist of players we are after as then we come to know their availability which is always a big determining factor on which players teams pick,” one franchise CEO told ESPNcricinfo.
This will be the last year of IPL before teams overhaul their rosters for the 2018 season. All existing player contracts will expire after IPL 2017 and it is expected most players will go under the hammer at the mega auction ahead of the 2018 season. There has been no decision yet on the player retention rules though.
The current cycle of broadcasting rights, currently held by Sony Pictures Network India (SPNI), will expire after IPL 2017. Last September, the BCCI had announced that the next cycle of IPL rights would be sold via an open tender process. Eighteen companies including Facebook and Twitter bought the invitation to tender doucment for television and digital rights. The bids were meant to be opened on October 24, but the Lodha Committee deferred the process until the BCCI complied with the court order of July 18 last year.
Nagraj Gollapudi is a senior assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.