Strong Australian flavour in a low-key auction

Mumbai, Feb. 3 -- Sunrisers Hyderabad (SH) may be the newest team in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but they could come out a much stronger outfit if they play their cards right in the 2013 IPL auction in Chennai on Sunday.

Sunrisers replaced the Deccan Chargers (DC), who were terminated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in 2012. However, SH retained 20 of the players who were in the DC list.

While DC's 2009 title was followed by dismal performances, better planning by the new owners, Sun TV Network, and coach Tom Moody may ensure a good showing by the Hyderabad franchise in IPL VI.

With close to $7 million in the Hyderabad team's purse, they could plug all the gaps that existed in the old franchise.

DC skipper Kumar Sangakkara is currently injured and they do not have a potential replacement as captain. Also, they would be desperate to strengthen their batting unit.

Local interest

Mumbai's Abhishek Nayar, who finished as the second highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy this season, could be one of their prime targets. Nayar's former team, Mumbai Indians (MI) may also be interested in him.

Sunrisers will look to bag either Michael Clarke or Ricky Ponting to help solve both their major worries.

However, according to sources, Pune Warriors India (PWI) are the front-runners to bag Ponting.

"There have been talks held between PWI and Ricky's agent. Both the parties are happy with how the discussion has progressed," the source told HT. "Not only is he a batting great, he can contribute to the leadership of the team."

The only glitch in Punter turning out for the Warriors would arise if a team with a higher purse decides to go all-out to buy the recently retired Australian batsman.

"Only if a team gives more money than what PWI has, the deal will not go through. But with his track record in the format and him not playing international cricket, it is unlikely."

Of the total of $12.5 million available to each team, PWI have a salary cap of around $3.3 million remaining.

Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Sunrisers are those with most money at their disposal. RR have around $7.7 million and SH have close to $7 million.

Similarly, the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP), SH and RR would be keen to buy Clarke. The teams may also go for a lot of utility overseas players.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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