Millmow: IPL auction balancing act for coach

UNDER THE RADAR: Tim Southee could be a value-for-money buy in the IPL auction.
UNDER THE RADAR: Tim Southee could be a value-for-money buy in the IPL auction.

We're going to the IPL auction.

We've got US$9.5 million to spend from 5pm today.

I want bowlers with fresh legs and batsmen with wise heads.

I want my bowlers to be able to field and my batsmen to run like the wind between the wickets.

Anyone with question-marks over fitness such as George Bailey will be bypassed as will those with reputations for partying like Jesse Ryder and David Warner. Potential to disrupt team harmony rules out Kevin Pietersen.

We're allowed nine overseas players, but only four on the field at one time.

Our big play is for Aussie opening batsman Aaron Finch. The sky's the limit as far as shelling out for him. He bats time, hits it miles, is universally liked and brings some leadership.

The Australian opener is where we hang our hat and we'll roll the dice on Brad Hodge as well.

I'm a New Zealand coach but there can be no favouritism towards our own because if we fill up with Kiwis and things go bad I'll be gone by lunchtime.

I'm on US$350,000 a year plus bonuses. Three years of this and I'm sorted for a while.

I'll leave the selection of the Indian squad members to my local assistant, he knows them inside out. I have to trust he is of good character, though accept owner's influence plays a part in this crazy world.

There are 20 New Zealand players in the auction, starting at Brendon McCullum and finishing at impressive newbie Matt Henry.

Of the Kiwis, I'm only really interested in McCullum, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson and Tim Southee.

Everyone is talking Anderson. He could go for upwards of US$600,000. His hitting is out of this world but his bowling is all over the shop.

I'm prepared to let him pass. Might be a mistake, though. He's taken the West Indies and India apart but their attacks were disappointing. What's he like against top-end pace? How will he find India? We'll play to US$500,000.

First things first. We need a captain. MS Dhoni is the best and McCullum not far behind him. Chennai have Dhoni sewn up so we'll make a play for McCullum.

We've set aside US$400,000 for him but could go higher. My problem with McCullum is he was disappointing last year and where do we bat him? Some days he opens, some days he finishes.

Taylor was poor too last year. I don't know how well he travels. He's put the hockey slog away and is scoring big runs but I presume he'll bring it out of the cupboard again over here. He's a watch. If we don't get McCullum we might have a dig at Taylor. Not as captain, though. He doesn't think on his feet as quickly as McCullum does.

We might get Southee for a song. He's unfashionable in some quarters but durable. He swings the new ball and bowls yorkers at the death.

If I take more than two New Zealand players I leave myself open to criticism. I'm playing for McCullum and expecting to get Southee cheap.

I know my own though. Martin Guptill runs hot or cold. Nathan McCullum always does a job but spinners are a dime a dozen over here.

So we've got Finch, Hodge, McCullum and Southee. I want death bowling options and guys taking the pace off in the middle overs so Hobart's Ben Laughlin is on my watch list.

I'm prepared to go high on Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate too. He's another smart, seasoned player like Finch and Hodge.

Our last play will be the IPL smokey Craig Simmonds from Perth. He is the late addition to the auction after hitting two whirlwind hundreds for the Scorchers in the Big Bash.

The rest is wait and see. We must be nimble and play the odd hunch.

We are looking for a comparatively cheap spinner, maybe Johan Botha is our man.

New Zealand players under the hammer (with reserve price in brackets):

R20 million (NZ$390,000): Brendon McCullum, Ross Taylor.

R10m (NZ$195,000): Corey Anderson, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jesse Ryder.

R5m (NZ$97,500): James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Hamish Rutherford, Tim Southee.

R3m (NZ$58,500): Neil Broom, Grant Elliott, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Jacob Oram, Luke Ronchi, Hamish Bennett, Matt Henry.

The Dominion Post