The 2014 Indian Premier League will be a buyer's market, meaning New Zealand cricketers need to take care when considering their reserve prices for the auction on February 12.
That includes Corey Anderson, despite his fastest one-day international century off 36 balls against the West Indies at Queenstown on New Year's Day. Other potential Kiwi wildcards are Jimmy Neesham, after his Champions League exploits for Otago, and Mitchell McClenaghan, after world-class performances with the white ball.
The eight IPL franchises have had their salary caps reduced to 60 Indian crore (just under $12 million). In 2013, the figure was $15 million. The depreciation of the Indian rupee (a crore is 10 million rupees) against the US dollar last year means players will now initially be bought in rupees. Overseas players can change their salary to the currency of their choice upon payment date, just in case the rupee further devalues (losing the IPL money).
Another reason it is a buyer's market is the reduction of available squad places from 33 to a maximum of 27; only nine players can be from overseas, cut back from 11.
Each franchise also gets first option to retain five players from the previous season. For example, the Daniel Vettori-coached Royal Challengers Bangalore have taken first dibs on Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli. The first player retained has a salary cap of 12.5 crore ($2.4 million); the fifth player (if required) has a cap of four crore ($771,000).
In addition, franchises have more options they can exercise to ensure they can match opposition offers on 2013 squad members.
Most of the New Zealanders involved - outside established names like Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum - are expected to place their reserve price at US$50,000 ($61,000) with minimal expectations of getting more than $US100,000 as franchises seek economical buys.
Ironically, the expectation Anderson will command a high salary might discourage bidders, especially if they want players with significant subcontinental experience - Anderson has had just one tour (with New Zealand A and New Zealand) this year.
Anderson and any other Kiwis hoping to convince a franchise they are worthy of investment need to perform in the one-day series against India.
In some IPL circles, Anderson's world record innings is being treated with caution because it was made on a flat, quick wicket on a ground with short boundaries against a weak West Indies attack in a rain-shortened 21-over match. He'll make more of an impression if he produces similar exploits against India, with the coverage beamed live into IPL decision-makers' homes. New Zealand plays five ODIs against the visitors before the auction date.
Agents work to meld the shopping lists of franchises with vacancies that suit their players - but even the best-laid plans can go awry when owners attend the auction. There's always a tendency for an owner to view a player's video skite reel and get an "attack of the nows".
The likes of Anderson, Neesham and McClenaghan have to hope their "product" strikes a chord to tempt bids like those for relatively unknown Australians Glenn Maxwell (US$1 million to Mumbai) and Kane Richardson (US$700,000 to Pune) last year.