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With the Indian Premier League returning to India after a Covid pandemic, the tournament appears to be on its way back to its royal glory.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) will hold its annual auction on Friday, December 23 for teams to create their squads. This year the auction will be held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Kochi, Kerala.

The IPL auction is an exciting event and it can be life changing for players, while fans are emotional as teams finalize their line ups. In this year's auction, 991 players registered and 405 made the final list, including 273 Indian players and 132 foreign players. There are only 87 slots available for teams to spend with a total of ₹183.15 crore.

This is only a mini-auction on which teams are allowed to retain players as they wish. By comparison, a mega auction sees the most players enter the auction pool, with teams getting three to five holds. So, different teams approach the table with different price and needs. While some teams have settled the core of their roster with relatively small prices, others are entering the auction with lots of cash to spare and lots of players in need.

This year, most teams retained their best Indian batsmen. This means that the few exceptions that are in the auction pool may fetch a high price due to low supply and continued high demand for Indian batters. With just four foreign players allowed in a Playing 11, the quality of Indian players is a crucial boost to any team's prospects.

The same goes for Indian fast bowlers. While foreign fast bowlers are in the dime, quality Indian fast bowling is still a relatively scarce commodity. As such, mini-auctions often raise the prices of certain players simply based on their nationality and unique skills. In the past, players like Pat Cummins, Chris Morris and Yuvraj Singh, who was past his prime, made a fortune with it.

While all-rounders are a rare commodity in cricket in general, some world-class all-rounders from overseas are entering the fray this year.

Sam Curran, the player of the recently concluded World T20 tournament, tops the list. Many pundits believe he could become the most expensive player in this auction. He will be joined by compatriot and England Test captain Ben Stokes, who previously won the IPL Most Valuable Player award.

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