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February 07, 2011

IPL saga - Player auctions

IPL saga continues and intrigues. The present edition is already promising to be a bollywood potboiler. There was the sorry spectacle of international players being auctioned as if they are prime cattle being played out right in front of live national television. The most surprising part of the auction was that it was telecast live. Most people found it very normal that cricket players were being auctioned and except for a lone Indian who filed a PIL in the court, for the rest of us it was business as usual.  This auction was a spectacle that goes well with our evening cuppa.

At a personal level I found the auction to be in extreme bad taste. To call out a player’s name and then say that he has no takers is in extremely bad state to say the least. My heart was in my heart when Sourav Ganguly’s name was being thrown around like a bad apple that no one wanted. This is no way to treat one of the most famous Indian cricket players. All the franchisees should have seen to it that Sourav was not treated in such a cavalier fashion.

It was pathetic to see Sourav and Mohamed Kaif come back in reckoning for the second time. Luckily to my great relief Mohd Kaif found a buyer but not Sourav. At least BCCI should explain why auctions have been held in this very slipshod fashion.

The next twist in the tail was Pune showing interest in Sourav but the other franchisees objecting to Sourav and that effectively ended the IPL career of one of India’s brightest cricketer.

The IPL smacks of double standards. Pakistani players are not considered at all. IPL is neither a totally talent driven league like English Premier League (EPL) or is it a totally Indian domestic league like the Ranji trophy. What this means is that foreign players are needed but only 5 or 6 of them. Because there is a restriction that only 4 foreign players can play it means that you need to have 7 Indian players for every match.

This has meant that very talented foreign players have not got a buyer and at the same time the capped Indian players have got exceedingly high auction prices. These prices are way above the prices that are commanded by the foreign players.

The uncapped Indian player’s prices are pegged at Rs 40 lakhs, 30 lakhs and 20 lakhs. This means that there is lot of underhand dealings for the uncapped Indian players. What I fail to understand is why BCCI should go though his rigmarole. Why can’t they follow accepted practices and transparent way of doing business? Is that is really too much to ask from the world’s richest cricket board?

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