In December 2018, when Hugh Edmeades travelled to Jaipur for the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, it was a new experience for him. Even though he had conducted more than 2,500 auctions across the globe by then, it was his first stint with Indian cricket.
Four years later, as the ten franchises gear up for the IPL mega-auction over the weekend, Edmeades – the gavel master – is also excited. After all, this will be for the first time he will be conducting a two-day IPL auction in Bengaluru.
“I am very excited. In my previous IPL auctions, there would be about 60 players up for grabs as most of the big players were already in their respective teams. This year, there are 217 spots left. A lot of them are big names, whom I haven’t had the opportunity to offer before,” Edmeades told Sportstar on the eve of the auction day.
An independent fine art, classic car and charity auctioneer, Edmeades was associated with the iconic Christie’s for 38 years before going independent in 2016.
But after conducting four years of IPL auction, Edmeades understands how the dynamics work and ahead of two hectic days, he is all prepared. “This is my first double day auction (IPL)… There will be nothing particularly special. There will be about five-six sessions with prospective 600 names in my auctioneer’s book and 217 places up for grabs,” he said.
“The first three sets tomorrow will be long sessions because we will be starting with 10 marquee players… There will be breaks after that, and then, there will be capped batters. So, there is plenty of time for me to regroup, gather my thoughts,” he said, “It’s lovely to have two days of action because I don’t need to rush everything in a day…”
He will be calling the names with his golden gavel, which he had first introduced during the 2019 auctions. “I will be using the same golden gavel… It has brought me luck, it has brought players luck, so I am looking forward to two days of action…” Edmeades, who had taken over from his former colleague at Christie’s, Richard Madley, said.
The next couple of days will be a test of character for the franchise think-tanks, and even Edmeades hopes to have a memorable weekend.