The IPL 2021 player auction will be held on February 18 in Chennai, the league announced with a tweets on Wednesdays. The announcement comes after an IPL Governing Council meeting on January 6, where it was decided that the 2021 edition of the tournament would continue to be an eight-team event.
With the second Test of the India-England series due to end on February 17 – the first two Tests in Chennai and the last two in Ahmedabad – February 18 presents a day window for the organizers to conduct the auction. The eight franchises had announced their list of players kept and released by the Jan. 20 deadline.
However, it is not yet certain whether the tournament would be held in India. The three-member Governing Council, led by Brijesh Patel, discussed the issue at that meeting at the beginning of the year, and kept their options open. With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to swell in India, it is understood that the UAE, where the 2020 edition took place, remains one of the options.
With the pandemic regularly throwing up challenges, the IPL Governing Council has remained uncertain about whether games should be held at home and away, which would mean having at least eight venues.
The other alternative, also discussed last year before moving the tournament to the UAE, was to organize the tournament in a limited number of locations, which would reduce team travel. India’s national T20 competition, the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, is currently being held based on this system.
The February auction will be the first one where teams have no extra money, which means they have had to release a host of big names to increase their purses and release their rosters. The biggest of those names is Steven Smith, captain of the Rajasthan Royals last season, released by the franchise.
Smith will join the likes of Glenn Maxwell (formerly of Kings XI Punjab), Chris Morris and Umesh Yadav (both Royal Challengers Bangalore), Kedar Jadhav (Chennai Super Kings), Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson (both Mumbai Indians), Tom Banton (Kolkata Knight Riders), and Jason Roy (Delhi Capitals), who are some of the other high-profile names to be released into the auction pool.
Teams are allowed a maximum of 25 players on their rosters: the Royal Challengers (13), Kings XI (9), Rajasthan Royals (8) and Knight Riders (8) are the highest ranked teams of slots to fill as things stand, while the Sunrisers Hyderabad (3) currently have the most complete roster. (ESPNCricinfo)