Former Indian Premier League (IPL) Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sundar Raman gave an insight into how the players’ auction came into existence prior to the first edition of the tournament in 2008.
“It almost came out as an evening tea conversation while we were doing hundred thousand things,” Raman said during the show 22 Yarns with Gaurav Kapur on Oaktree Sports’ YouTube channel.
IPL Player Auctions : Former COO reveals, how concept of IPL Auctions were concieved
“We sold the franchises… confirmed the start date… we knew the venues and teams. Now, it was left to how do we get the players rostered into each of the teams?”
Before the first-ever edition of the IPL, few teams had icon players while other players were rostered in with the help of an auction. Raman spoke about the entire process and revealed how they finalised this method to help players find their respective teams.
“The only thing sure was the marquee players who were assigned to a set of franchises. There was Sachin Tendulkar for Mumbai because of the belief, and rightly so, that he cannot play for any other team than Mumbai. Yuvraj (Singh) went to Kings XI Punjab and (Virender) Sehwag went to Delhi.“The challenge was one of those conversations where the question was how do we make the franchises take on the players? One of the franchises, I don’t remember who it was, said ‘why don’t we auction them?’
“After two minutes of deliberation I said ‘good idea, it will generate a lot of consumer interest’. And that decided that.
Raman and Kapur then went on to talk about how stalwarts Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli found their respective teams in the first-ever auction.
“Chennai didn’t have an icon player so they were free to bid for the player of choice… so the Indian T20 captain at the time went to Chennai,” Raman said.
“Interestingly, that was also the year India had won the U-19 World Cup, just a month before the auction. They were captained by Virat Kohli and we decided to keep a separate draft for the U-19 players. The big surprise was that Virat Kohli was not the first player to be picked in the draft,” he added.
The duo then discussed how Delhi passed on the chance to acquire Kohli’s services as they already had the likes of Sehwag and AB de Villiers in their ranks and the current India skipper eventually went to Bangalore.