The Super Bowl has been dubbed "the greatest show on earth" but in cricket it will take a lot to trump this weekend's Indian Premier League player auction.
The eight franchises will spend more than $100 million with 578 players going under the hammer at the two-day auction in Bengaluru's plush Ritz-Carlton hotel.
This is set to be the biggest edition ever with teams pretty much starting again from scratch, having only retained a maximum of three players from the previous season.
The event has already disrupted Australian cricket with two Big Bash League coaches - Stephen Fleming (Melbourne Stars and Chennai Super Kings) and Dan Vettori (Brisbane Heat and Royal Challengers Bangalore) - all leaving their local franchises to prepare for the spending spree. Channel Ten commentator Ricky Ponting, who coaches Delhi Daredevils, has also flown over.
It will be a tense weekend for the 26 players from the current Australia and England one-day squads up for grabs. England are due to leave Adelaide on Saturday afternoon as the auction starts, which means plenty of Eoin Morgan's team - including the captain himself - will be eagerly checking their phones when they land in Perth.
And those going under the hammer on Sunday during the final match will be more nervous than usual as anti-corruption rules forbid players from using their phones until after the game.
The Tonk has been told England's media man will keep abreast of the auction and will tell players how they fared if asked. There is no such arrangement in the Australian camp. Mitchell Marsh learned of his $1 million pay day from a fan in the crowd as he waited to bat in New Zealand two years ago.
There are 53 Australians on the final auction list with Mitchell Starc expected to fetch the highest price - between $2.2m to $3m - ahead of the likes of Glenn Maxwell and Aaron Finch. Lesser lights such as Ben McDermott and Ben Laughlin have been floated as potential smokies who may catch the eye of an astute buyer. Steve Smith and David Warner were retained for $2.4 million by their franchises.
The auction is shown live on TV in India and also streamed online with expert analysis and interviews. Such is the media interest in the cricket-mad nation, reporters are required to hold media accreditation if they wish to cover the event.
The introduction of a "right to match" card will add intrigue with franchises expected to bid for stars purely to stretch the budgets of their rivals.
???Shrubsole creates history
A female has appeared on the front cover of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack for the first time, with England World Cup hero Anya Shrubsole being rewarded for her tournament-winning spell last year. Shrubsole's 6-46, which included five wickets in 19 balls, propelled England to a nine-run win against India. It's the latest in a long line of honours for the former Perth Scorcher, who last week won the ICC's Spirit of Cricket Award. In September Shrubsole was awarded the Christopher Martin-Jenkins Spirit of Cricket Award. "It's great for women's cricket, it's a big thing for Anya and women's sport," former England teammate Amy Jones said.
Sayers needs a county circuit breaker
Being denied the opportunity to chase a childhood dream is disappointing enough but for Chadd Sayers there's another reason why being overlooked again for higher honours stings. The South Australian would love to play county cricket in England but getting a visa in the UK is a lot more difficult for a player in Sayers' position. As The Tonk understands it, players need to have played a Test in the past two years or five in the past 60 months, or 15 one-day internationals and/or T20s in the past 24 months or be centrally contracted and a member of the most recent Test-match squad. Unfortunately for Sayers, he has not represented his country in any format, does not have a Cricket Australia contract and is not going to South Africa. Sayers' style of swing and seam bowling would appear to be ideally suited to English pitches but until there is a change of thinking at the selection table we might never know how he would go.