What is it? The Indian Premier League is the world's most lucrative domestic cricket tournament, attracting the best players from around the globe. The player auction where the brains trust from each of the eight franchises bid for the right to have that playing talent on their roster. Each club has a salary cap of approx. US$12.4m to spend on a maximum of 25 players (eight overseas).
When is it? This weekend, January 27-28. No fewer than 578 players (360 Indians) are available to go under the hammer across Saturday and Sunday in Bangalore.
How can I follow it? No Australian television broadcaster has bought the rights for the IPL auction, meaning the event won't be available on either free-to-air or subscription TV. Fear not,cricket.com.au will have you covered with live updates of all the talking points.
How does it work? Much like a Twenty20 game, there's no easing into the action. The big marquee names will be up first, starting with India's Ravi Ashwin. The bidding will be fast and furious. The first Australian to go under the hammer will be Mitchell Starc, while Glenn Maxwell goes 12th. Players have set their base price from which bidding starts (more on that below).
Complicating things are the "Right To Match" cards clubs hold. Each club was given the option to secure up to five existing players before the auction, either by retaining them ahead of the auction or using an RTM during the auction process. Using an RTM card allows the player's previous club to match the auction amount and sign them up, adding an intriguing level of strategy to the bidding process.
Which players have been retained? A total of 18 players have been retained, including superstar Aussie duo Steve Smith and David Warner, who were each bought for A$2.3m.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Virat Kohli, Sarfaraz Khan, AB de Villiers. (Remaining salary cap space: A$9.5m)
Kolkata Knight Riders: Andre Russell, Sunil Narine. (Cap space: A$11.5m)
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja. (Cap space: A$9.2m)
Mumbai Indians: Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah. (Cap space: A$9.2m)
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Bhuvneshwar Kumar. (Cap space: A$11.5m)
Delhi Daredevils: Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Chris Morris. (Cap space: A$9.2m)
Rajasthan Royals: Steve Smith. (Cap space A$13.2m)
Kings XI Punjab: Axar Patel. (Cap space A$13.2m)
Who are the Aussies up for grabs? Smith and Warner have already secured their deals but that doesn't mean there isn't a substantial Aussie flavour set to be bid for. In fact, there are 54 other Australians who have thrown their hats in the ring: Ashton Agar, Sean Abbott, Fawad Ahmed, Michael Beer, Jason Behrendorff, Scott Boland, Joe Burns, Alex Carey, Hilton Cartwright, Daniel Christian, Tom Cooper, Pat Cummins, Ben Cutting, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Dwarshuis, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Cameron Gannon, Chris Green, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, John Hastings, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Ben Hilfenhaus, Daniel Hughes, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Michael Klinger, Ben Laughlin, Chris Lynn, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Ben McDermott, Arjun Nair, Michael Neser, Ryan Ninan, Joel Paris, Jhye Richardson, Alex Ross, D'Arcy Short, Peter Siddle, Billy Stanlake, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Aaron Summers, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Shane Watson, Cameron White, Jack Wildermuth, Adam Zampa.
Who has set themselves the big base prices? The big guns put themselves in the top bracket in terms of highest base price, and below that there are tiers two and three, which are also in the US six-figure price range. This year, with more money in the salary cap and more players on offer than ever before – but fewer spots on rosters – there should be some entertaining bidding wars.
The first tier (A$390,000 base price)
From India: Ravi Ashwin, Yuzvendra Chahal, Shikhar Dhawan, Gautam Gambhir, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, M Vijay, Ajinkya Rahane, KL Rahul, Karn Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Robin Uthappa.
Overseas: Rashid Khan, Pat Cummins, James Faulkner, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Starc, Cameron White, Eoin Morgan, Liam Plunkett, Ben Stokes, David Willey, Chris Woakes, Corey Anderson, Brendon McCullum, Quinton de Kock, Colin Ingram, Angelo Mathews, Dwayne Bravo, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard.
The second tier (A$294,000 base price)
Aaron Finch, Amit Mishra, David Miller, Evin Lewis, Faf du Plessis, Harry Gurney, Hashim Amla, Jason Holder, Jason Roy, Jaydev Unadkat, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Kagiso Rabada, Kane Williamson, Kuldeep Yadav, Kyle Abbott, Lendl Simmons, Mark Wood, Michael Klinger, Moeen Ali, Mohit Sharma, Moises Henriques, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Nathan Lyon, Peter Handscomb, Ravi Bopara, Shaun Marsh, Steven Finn, Travis Head, Trent Boult, Washington Sundar.
The third tier (A$195,000 base price)
Adam Zampa, Alex Hales, Andrew Tye, Ben Cutting, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Jordan, Dale Steyn, Daniel Christian, Dwayne Smith, Jason Behrendorff, JP Duminy, Lasith Malinga, Manish Pandey, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mohammed Shami, Mohammed Siraj, Imran Tahir, Mustafizur Rahman, Parthiv Patel, Piyush Chawla, Sam Billings, Samuel Badree, Sanju Samson, Shakib Al Hasan, Shane Watson, Tim Southee, Tom Curran, Tymal Mills, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha.
The lowest base price was just R20 lakh, or A$40,000. There will be several teams no doubt eying a bargain at lot No.89 when one D'Arcy Short comes up for bidding. The Hobart Hurricanes batter set himself the lowest possible base price, way back before he exploded on the Big Bash stage. Where his final price will end up is anyone's guess.
The final Australian up for auction is Cameron Gannon, who has to wait until lot No.571 for his turn to attract interest. Historically teams have bid big early to secure some star power, and drawing a lot further down the list can also impact on what teams are prepared to bid.