Richard Madley will bang that gavel a fair few times on Saturday as the franchises bid for a plethora of superstars in the IPL 2016 Player Auction in Bengaluru.
Each year, the auction is one of the most anticipated events, and with two new teams joining the fray, albeit at the expense of a couple pf established ones, plenty of paddle-raising to get the attention of Richard Madley, the auctioneer, is expected.
The auction will have 351 players vying for a maximum of 116 slots. The majority of the players will go to the Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions, as both the new franchises have to pretty much start from scratch, having picked up just five players each in the draft in December.
While the two new franchises will be busy, along with the likes of Delhi Daredevils and the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the champions Mumbai Indians are not expected to be too involved, considering they have retained 19 players from last season, and have the smallest purse of the eight franchises. The likes of RCB and KKR might also be quiet, but expect all of them to go all out for that one player they would have marked out as a must-buy prior to the auction.
In an IPL auction, the first couple of hours are always the most interesting, as the big players come out of the draw.
There is a marquee list in this IPL Auction, consisting of nine players, who should go for big money. Yuvraj Singh is the most intriguing name in that auction, with the left-hander, last year, grabbing the headlines after the Delhi Daredevils bought the veteran for a staggering Rs 16 crore.
While Yuvraj's powers have dimmed a little, there is little doubt about his star quality, and it is that star quality that most teams will want, particularly the Gujarat Lions, who could use a big name in their squad, and the Kings XI Punjab, who will want their hometown boy back in their colours.
Kevin Pietersen, Martin Guptill, Dwayne Smith, Dale Steyn, Shane Watson, Ashish Nehra, Aaron Finch and Ishant Sharma makeup the remaining marquee list, and out of that the man likely to go for a huge sum â€“ relatively speaking, that is â€“ is Guptill.
The New Zealand opening batsman has been in sparkling form over the past six months, and most franchises will be desperate to have the aggressive opening batsman in their lineup.
There are several bargains up for sale as well, and it will be interesting to see how the players who lit up the Big Bash League over the last couple of months fare in this auction. Either way, the IPL 2016 Player Auction promises to be an entertaining one.
Where to Watch Live
The IPL 2016 Player Auction is scheduled to for a 9 am IST (3.30 am GMT, 10.30 pm ET) start with live TV coverage in India on Sony Six and Sony Six HD. The live streaming online options for the auction in India, and several other countries around the world, are Hotstar and Starsports online.
Viewers in the US can watch the auction live on ESPN3, while the paddle-raising action can also be live streamed online on Watch ESPN.
Sky Sports have the rights for the IPL in the UK, Ireland and a few other territories in Europe, and if there is live telecast, it will be on the channel, with the live stream option on Watch Sky Sports.