Chennai: Australian captain Michael Clarke and former skipper Ricky Ponting are likely to attract most attention when the nine franchises sit for the players` auction of the Indian Premier League 6 here on Sunday.
While 101 players will go under the hammer during the auction, which will be only for the next edition, Clarke and Ponting, who are in the highest base price bracket of USD 400,000 (approx Rs 2.1 crore) will be the sought after players.
In Clarke, some of the franchises like Mumbai Indians see a potential leader after Harbhajan Singh relinquished the post.
According to IPL sources, Mumbai Indians are likely to loosen their purse strings for the current Aussie captain, who played six matches for the Sahara Pune Warriors during the last edition.
Clarke could also be a good choice for the Pune Warriors in case their marquee player Yuvraj Singh decides to only concentrate on his batting.
Warriors have a purse of over USD 3 million and can indulge into a bidding war for Clarke but according to one of their officials, "It is not necessary that if you have money, you need to spend it."
Ponting, who played four matches for Kolkata Knight Riders in first edition of IPL can be an interesting pick considering his performance for Hobart Hurricanes in the recently concluded Big Bash League. He has couple of 60 plus scores to show for his effort against Sydney Sixers and Sydney Thunders.
An official, who has closely been associated with the auctions, felt that Hyderabad Sun Risers might look at Ponting as a potential mentor-cum-captain.
"Since this is a one-season deal, there is no harm in getting Ricky Ponting, who is a thorough professional. Since Kumar Sangakkara hasn`t done too well as captain and Cameron White is not an automatic choice either, Ponting can be their Go-To man," he said.
Delhi Daredevils, who have a team loaded with quality pacers might look at roping in Ajantha Mendis, who is available at a base price of USD 50,000.
Chennai Super Kings is one team, which has a settled look, barring a new ball bowler. Among the crop of bowlers available, West Indies` Ravi Rampaul can prove to be a handy customer at a base price of USD 50,000 as no one has any idea about Jerome Taylor`s current form.
India and CSK captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni`s close friend Rudra Pratap Singh, who has been released by Mumbai Indians, is available at a base price of USD 100,000.
Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals are two teams who would be going into the auction with highest purses (around USD 6 million) and would have the luxury of bidding for some of the players of their choice.
Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders also has a tea, that looked settled and may not be very active at the auction which is expected to be a low-key affair.
"We are not going into the auction aiming at a particular player but we will definitely track the proceedings. Let`s see how it pans out and may be if we find a player interesting enough to put our money on, we might go for it," a senior support staff of the franchise said.