Monday, February 2, 2009

Ambani or Mallya - Who'll Get KP?

This season's cricketers' auction for the IPL gets underway in 4 days and it promises to be as exciting as last year's auction.

The players' base prices were revealed today and with KP's base at US$ 1.35 million, the highest paid IPL cricketer is going to be a different one this season.

With all 8 franchises expected to fight for KP, MS Dhoni's US$ 1.5 million will be left far behind once the dust settles over KP's IPL salary.

But who is going to get KP is the big question. Here I take a look at the chances the 8 franchises have over winning a bid for KP's services.

Deccan Chargers
With Gilchrist, Gibbs, Symonds, and Afridi collectively not firing the first time round, I doubt this team needs additional firepower or an additional ego amongst its ranks. The powers that be though could feel that adding KP to an already powerful batting line up could change their fortunes in the 2nd season. I doubt it though. I think the Chargers will keep the money at home and not spend big on KP.

Bangalore Royal Challengers
With the likes of Dravid, Jaffar, Kallis, and Chanderpaul in its ranks, this team is in desperate need of some big hitters. Pietersen could just be the tonic the Royal Challengers need to give them a boost before the start of their 2nd IPL campaign. But Kallis, Boucher, Steyn, and KP in the same team? Who would have thought. I expect them to bid hard for KP.

Rajasthan Royals
If one though Warne and Graeme Smith in the same team wasn't enough, Warne, Smith, and KP has all the makings of a bollywood masala flick. Imagine Smith and KP in the middle trying to win a game for the same team. Talk about irony, talk about the IPL. I've heard that Warne is looking to get his mate KP on board, however bidding big for KP will go against the Royals' previous strategy where they avoided spending big on stars and built a team. On the flip side, that means they have more money lying around than other franchises. You could expect them to be part of the bidding war on KP.

Kolkata Knight Riders
With Gayle, McCullum, Ponting, Hodge, and David Hussey already in the batting ranks, it doesn't look likely that SRK will be looking for KP's services. Ganguly doesn't seem too interested either. Expect the Knight Riders to give KP a miss at the auctions.

Chennai SuperKings
How KP would like to play for a team called the SuperKings. Justifies his ego to the hilt. Though with Hayden and Hussey in the line up, it doesn't look like Chennai are looking to add to their batting prowess. Plus, Dhoni has already hinted at wanting Flintoff in the team so going for two players over a million is something that won't be possible. Doesn't look like KP will get to play for the SuperKings.

Delhi Daredevils
The Daredevils have already spoken about their batting plans revolving around Sehwag, Gambhir, Tiwary, and Warner. Add to this Dilshan and AB De Villiers and the Daredevils batting doesn't need a KP. Plus they have been banking on a lot of Australian firepower and may have already exceeded their foreign player quota. They seems to be out of the race as well.

Kings XI Punjab
Will Yuvraj captain someone who called him a pie chucker? Sure would be interesting to see. Yuvi and KP in the middle would a sight! However, the Kings XI also seem to have a well settled batting line up with Marsh, Pomersbach, Hopes, Jayawardene, and King Sanga in the fold. Not to forget the skipper Yuvraj Singh. Preity Zinta might want KP on her side, but they will be better off with a Flintoff or another pacer to cover for Brett Lee rather than a batsman.

Mumbai Indians
Sanath Jayasuriya, Sachin Tendulkar, Kevin Pietersen. He fits in well I think. The Mumbai team lacked the batting depth last season and the addition of KP to their ranks looks likely, especially since they will be without Pollock this time round. I would expect Mumbai to bid hard for KP. They need him, probably as much as the Royal Challengers.

Exect a 3 way bidding war between the Royal Challengers, Rajasthan Royals, and the Mumbai Indians with the Challengers and Indians taking it to the end. I would expect KP to turn up for one of the two richest businessmen in India - Mallya or Ambani.

One would promise him the women and the other the private jet.

Which one would KP get? I think he would want the latter, but we'll find out soon enough.

And I expect him to get close to US$ 2 million.

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