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IPL 9: Dhoni, Ashwin, Jadeja hog limelight at draft for the two new teams

India’s World Cup-winning captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni along with the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin will be hogging the limelight as the two new Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises from Pune and Rajkot meet on Tuesday to pick their five key players each from the 50-player draft

India's limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, along with his teammates Ravindra Jadeja, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and Ravichandran Ashwin, among others, will be up for grabs for the two new IPL teams in the draft to be held here tomorrow.

(From left to right): Ajinkya Rahane, MS Dhoni, James Faulkner and Brendon McCullum

Sanjeev Goenka's New Rising won the bid for the Pune franchise while Intex won the bid for Rajkot after a reverse bidding process held in Delhi on Decmber 8 to replace suspended teams Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for the next two editions to be held in 2016 and 2017.

Also available for picking by the Twenty20 League's two new franchises are other top international stars such as New Zealander Brendon McCullum, Australia's Shane Watson, now retired from international cricket, and current captain Steven Smith, and West Indian all-rounder Dwayne Bravo from a total of 50 cricketers, who played for suspended IPL teams CSK and RR in the last edition earlier this year.

Pune will be given the choice to pick the players first because they were the lowest bidders (negative bids) to buy the new team for two years in the draft to be held at the Mumbai Cricket Association's recereation centre at the Bandra Kurla Complex.

The bidding process for the two new franchises was necessitated by the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for the involvement of some of their officials and co-owners in the 2013 IPL spot-fixing scandal, which was probed by the Supreme Court-appointed Justice (retd) R M Lodha committee.

However, both the CSK and RR will be allowed back in the league after serving out their suspension. The cricketers from the two suspended franchises will be divided into two groups of capped and uncapped and the top names will be sold through the draft system. The two new teams will have a minimum of Rs 40 crore and a maximum of Rs 66 crore to buy players.

"The two new franchises have the option to pick a maximum of five players from the draft. Those players who are unsold will be put up for being chosen at the players' auction to be held in next February," a BCCI source told PTI ahead of the draft.

"The trading window (for buying players left free by other franchises) also commences on December 15 and ends on December 31," the source added. It would be interesting to see whether India's T20 and World Cup winning skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni still commands the sort of appeal that he generated when CSK gunned for him and won with a stunning million-dollar bid, unheard of in cricket then, in the first-ever players' auction held in eight years ago.

Dhoni, who led the Super Kings for eight seasons, is expected to be in the first list and the franchises, choosing the first two players in the draft in which one player each will be put up to be chosen alternately, would have to shell out Rs 12.5 crore.

It would also be interesting to note whether Rajkot guns for its home player Jadeja whose stocks have risen after he made his comeback into the Indian squad in the Test series against South Africa and shone with both ball and bat.

Other leading players who would be in the draft are CSK's Suresh Raina, Ravichandran Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo and Brendon McCullum and RR's Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith and Shane Watson.

As per the tender for the two new teams, the first capped player would be paid 12.5 crore while the remaining four capped players are to get Rs 9.5 crore, Rs 7.5 crore, Rs 5.5 crore, and Rs 4 crore respectively. Uncapped players can be picked for a stipulated fee of Rs 4 crore.

The ninth edition of the IPL is scheduled from April 9 to May 29, 2016.

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