IPL 'mega auction' puts Aussies on notice

Uncertainty surrounds the next edition of the Indian Premier League, but a strong showing in the T20 series there could reap a huge pay day

Australia's T20 players have more than a million reasons to put in their best performances in the upcoming three-match series against India, starting on Saturday.

The significance of these matches for Australian fans is dwarfed by the build-up to the Magellan Ashes this summer, but the 14 players here could earn a life-changing pay day with standout performances in the matches in Ranchi, Guwahati and Hyderabad.

Next year's Indian Premier League auction has been dubbed a 'mega auction', with reports that all players may be available for purchase and an increased salary cap in place.

While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to clarify exactly how many players, if any, will be able to be retained by their current franchises, it's expected some of the biggest names in the world will be on the auction block and could spark a flurry of multi-million dollar bids.

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The lucrative IPL broadcast deal signed with Star India in September, worth US$2.55b for five years, will also reportedly increase the salary cap of each franchise from around US$10.1m last year to more than US$11.5m in 2018.

And an international series in India looms as the perfect audition for the Australian players to impress the cashed-up franchise owners.

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"It'd be huge, everyone wants to play in the IPL," said left-armer Jason Behrendorff, the only member of Australia's squad yet to play in the tournament.

"You chat to all the guys in the Big Bash who have done it or are aspiring to do it and they say how great a competition it is, how much fun it is, the people they get to meet and the crowds they play in front of.

"It's an experience I'd love to have. You never know."

The details for the 2018 auction have yet to be confirmed by the BCCI but the likes of David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Steve Smith could all attract multi-million dollar bids if they're made available to the highest bidder.

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And while the possibility that Indian stars like Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni and Rohit Sharma could also be up for sale would drain the money available to other players, prices in previous auctions underlines just how life-changing the tournament can be, particularly for players like Behrendorff who aren't centrally contracted by Cricket Australia.

Allrounder Dan Christian was picked up for US$900,000 in 2011 despite having played just three T20s for Australia at the time and English quick Tymal Mills was purchased for US$1.9m this year after just four international appearances.

Former India opener Virender Sehwag claimed this week that the 2018 auction was on the mind of the Australian players.

"They are scared because of the next year's mega IPL auctions," Sehwag told India TV.

"If they had sledged the Indian players in the ODI series, then the Indian franchise owners might think before bidding high for the Australian players.

"This can also be a reason for them not to get involved in sledging with their Indian counterparts."

Australia's Qantas Tour of India

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner, Jason Behrendorff, Dan Christian, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Moises Henriques, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa.

India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Rohit Sharma (vc), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Axar Patel.

T20 Fixtures

October 7: JSCA International Stadium, Ranchi

October 10: Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati

October 13: Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad