Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The IPL Auction Tamasha

As I write this the India-Bangladesh 1st Test in Chittagong is on. India is in a commanding position after being in some trouble in the Ist innings. Gautam Gambhir has now scored centuries in his last 5 Tests & 50s in his last 10. And now has a good chance of equalling the records of Don Bradman & Viv Richards, respectively, in the next test.
Now over to the main theme of this post.

Date: 19.01.2010, Mumbai, India
Event: Players’ auction for the 3rd Indian Premier League
66 players from different nationalities had been registered for the auction. Between the 8 franchisees they had 13 slots available and a cap of $750K on the spending. Very few players were bought this around. Kieron Pollard, Shane Bond, Wayne Parnell & Kemar Roach were the ones with highest price tag. No Pakistani player was picked. Australians were also avoided. Very few franchisees seemed to be willing to spend too much this time around on others. Some highlights in this year’s auction were

  • Champions League is the perfect stage to be noticed. Kieron Pollard would definitely agree. 4 franchisees wanted him at $750K & went though a “silent tie-breaker” to decide where he goes.
  • Franchisees are looking for availability rather than just star power. That’s the only possible reason why in-form players like Haddin & Swann were ignored.
  • Not a single Pakistani player was selected. This has already led to huge uproar across the border. There is no cricketing logic as to why Afridi, Gul, Aamer, the Akmal brothers would all be ignored. The turbulent political situation between the two countries was the main reason. I personally don’t think that it was a deliberate conspiracy by all the franchisees; they were just playing it safe.
  • The “Silent Tie-Breaker”: Now this was the one issue which really made the auction into a big tamasha. If more than one franchisee had bid the maximum amount (750K) for a player, then the silent tie-breaker would take place. Those franchisees would then put in a figure on a piece of paper and give it to Lalit Modi, who would announce the highest bidder. This amount is not disclosed and goes to the IPL and not the player. Now, if this is not bribery, then what is? Lalit Modi does seem to continue finding innovative ideas of making money.
  • The drama of Mohammed Kaif was even weirder. He was the lone Indian in the auction and a last minute entry at that. Nobody picked him in the first round. And in the second round there was great interest with 3 franchisees bidding for him. Curious!
  • Players from Associate countries are overlooked. Picking Damien Martyn over Ryan ten Doeschate or Rizwan Cheema simply makes no sense.

So all this tamasha has ended (hopefully). And now I wait for the actual one to begin. I like watching the games. They are fun and good evening entertainment. But all this drama does leave a bad taste.

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