The IPL auction is a learning curve for Akash Ambani, the eldest son of Mukesh Ambani and owner of the Mumbai Indians franchise. The prize cap over spendings on the auction table forces him to be both stingy and calculative when needed, a characteristic he doesn’t have to imbibe for his personal expenditure.Akash, like Gujarat Lions owner Keshav Bansal, is the youngest franchise owner in the Indian Premier League bandwagon. He assists mother Nita Ambani in running the franchise and the mother-son duo are actively involved in cricket operations, from being on the auction table to team’s practice sessions and being part of policy decisions.Before taking time out for this interview, he finished a brainstorming meet with the franchise think-tank reflecting on the squad composition after the auction. An informal chat with a fellow franchise owner was also listed in the things-to-do.While Rising Pune Supergiants stole the thunder from other franchises making the highest successful bid of Rs 14.50 crores for Ben Stokes, Akash does his explainer, shrugging off any disappointment. “We were very happy with the auction. We were able to fill a lot of gaps. We got Mitchell Johnson which was a great buy. Many would say it was an emotional buy But it’s great to have him back. If you look at him bowl in last few games of Big Bash he still instills fear in the batsmen’s mind,” he tells India Today in an exclusive chat.The biggest talking point after each auction is whether all the players deserve the money they make through these bidding wars between cash rich franchises. We ask him how the franchises go about with the prize factor. “For us at Mumbai Indians the prize tag doesn’t mean much. We look at the performances. We picked Lendl Simmons as a replacement player for a certain prize and he got some 500 runs for us. Performance is all we look at,” he says.advertisementAlso elaborating how franchises have matured as the league has progressed, Akash explains why some India players may have been left stranded with no buyers. “Auctions always are full of surprises. The dynamics are such and the team’s are getting smarter. We plan months in advance. I feel bad but that’s the way it goes in auctions,” he says.Standing alongside Akash, new coach and former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene concurs. “We have to go in with options for these auctions. We went for a few and realized we wouldn’t get them. But we got Nicholas Pooran and Mitch. With this franchise they have their core in place from the first auction itself. A lot of people have been retained and they know what is expected of them,” he says.Akash, having worked with coaches Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting, now hopes to strike a chord with Jayawardene to keep the brand and performance of the Mumbai franchise in top gear. “Ricky is now with the Australian team and we know where Anilbhai is,” Akash says. The message to the Sri Lankan great being good things happen to those who are with Mumbai Indians.