I'll have to pick a team soon. I have family in Kolkata and Mumbai, so one of those would the obvious pick, but on the other hand I could choose depending on where my favourite players are going. Ponting is going to Kolkata but my Andrew is going to Hyderabad. I guess there's a few points there for Kolkata.
At a meeting the BCCI made a commitment that players' international obligations would take precedence over IPL matches. In return, the ICC said that while the Future Tours Program was in place (until at least 2012) no window for the IPL season would be considered. Now that's compromise for you.
Jaipur are going to be penalised for not spending enough at the auction. Apparently each team was supposed to spend a minimum of $3.3 million. My goodness, I thought salary caps worked the other way around with a limit to the spending. Apparently they're going to spend more money outside of the pool. Righto.
Brett Lee has proclaimed this auction to be a defining moment for the future of cricket.
"It's a bit like when the World Series started - providing we always keep Test cricket as Test cricket, one-day cricket as one-day cricket and keep this (Twenty20) as the third form of the game."
Certainly, Brett. I think he is correct though, if this IPL takes off these past few days will prove to be historic. And I think he's right that Twenty20 needs to stay in third place on the priority list. As long as the players remember this and continue to believe it, I think the IPL and cricket as we know it should be able to function adequately simultaneously.
Alastair Cook, who I've heard has a penchant for eyeliner, had this to say about it all... "We're very well looked after and I can't see why you'd trade in the three lions for anything." As an Australian who sees a permanently drowning side struggle through its embarrassing existence, I must say, he's a funny boy.
Andrew Flintoff, who gained my pity-turned-respect after the 2006 Ashes, was a bit more articulate. "Lancashire and the ECB have looked after me well and my concern is to get on the field for them." That's loyalty, not blind subservience. Flintoff played his first game yesterday with the England A side. For competition's sake, I hope he gets back on track and does well. From a spectator's point of view, he's a good player to watch. As long as he's not too good. Just you remember that, Freddie.
Back to India. The ABC have a photo of Sourav Ganguly arriving for the auction looking rather sharp. And on pictures, this man owns the Kolkata franchise, and is a big star apparently. The photo made me smile. His hair is almost as fabulous as her jacket. I can only aspire to be so fashionable.
Here's a list:
Top players (Australian value)
1. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India) $1.74m to Chennai
2. Andrew Symonds (Australia) $1.47m to Hyderabad
3. Sanath Jayasuriya (Sri Lanka) $1.06m to Mumbai
4. Ishant Sharma (India) $1.03m to Kolkata
5. Irfan Pathan (India) $1.01m to Mohali
6. Brett Lee (Australia) $982,000 to Mohali
6. Jacques Kallis (South Africa) $982,000 to Bangalore
8. RP Singh (India) $952,745 to Hyderabad
9. Harbhajan Singh (India) $927,000 to Mumbai
10. Chris Gayle (West Indies) $871,000 to Kolkata
10. Robin Uthappa (India) $871,000 to Mumbai
12. Rohit Sharma (India) $817,000 to Hyderabad
13. Gautam Gambhir (India) $789,000 to Delhi
14. Brendon McCullum (New Zealand) $764,000 to Kolkata
14. Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka) $764,000 to Mohali
14. Adam Gilchrist (Australia) $764,000 to Hyderabad
17. David Hussey (Australia) $735,000 to Kolkata
17. Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) $735,000 to Hyderabad
17. Jacob Oram (New Zealand) $735,000 to Chennai
17. Albie Morkel (South Africa) $735,000 to Chennai
17. Mohammad Kaif (India) $735,000 to Jaipur
17. Manoj Tiwary (India) $735,000 to Delhi
EDIT: I just noticed in that photograph of Sourav that it looks like he's just stepped out of a Mercedes Benz Kompressor. Nice work if you can get it!