IPL keen on clean-up

IPL wants the teams to stop under-the-table payments & disclose the money while retaining a player.

Royal Challengers did not disclose Gayle's retention fees. (BCCI Photo)

New Delhi: While it is true that the new player rules brought into effect by the Indian Premier League Governing Council seem to benefit some teams more than the others, there seems to be a concerted effort to eliminate some shady deals that were possible in the first six editions of the cash-rich tournament.

When the league began in 2008, a lot of emphasis was laid on each franchise picking up uncapped Indian players from its catchment area and from the under-19 level, in order for them to benefit from sharing the big stage with the top international stars.

But as the league grew in terms of money and teams, and as more and more domestic players made a name for themselves, franchises fought among themselves to grab them, leading to the infamous Manish Pandey case of 2011 when the youngster was banned for four games and fined for negotiating a deal with Pune Warriors that paid him more than allowed under the rules — most of it coming in the form of perks and under-the-table payments.

“It is to eliminate a case like Pandey’s that the IPL has made a decision to auction all players — whether capped or uncapped, Indian or foreign. For the sake of transparency, something the IPL has often lacked, it is a good move,” a senior franchise official told MAIL TODAY.

The other rule change in this regard is the one pertaining to player retention. Even after the first cycle of contracts came to an end in 2011, there was retention of up to four players, something that benefitted Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians, as it is once again likely to.

However, unlike then, the actual player fee will have to be disclosed to the BCCI.

A former franchise official told MAIL TODAY: “While this isn’t total transparency, at least it’s a start. For long there were murmurs that Chris Gayle, who was signed by the Royal Challengers Bangalore as an injury replacement in 2010 for as little as $560,000, was actually paid much more once he was retained for 2011. But again, this fee was never documented. Now, if he is indeed retained by RCB as expected, at least his actual fee will be put down on paper and submitted to the BCCI, even if it isn’t declared publicly."

“He could be paid Rs 100 crore and it’s still going to count as Rs 12.5 crore against the salary cap, so that’s certainly an advantage for the teams with deep pockets. But at least the possible corruption will be eliminated.”

There is the counter-argument that teams who retain five players will have only Rs 21 crore left to fill out the rest of their rosters.

But the officials don’t believe that to be a problem.

“The five players they [teams] retain are going to be their top guys and will be sure to play each game. Plus they can have a sixth guy at a lower price under the new right to match rule. So that’s six sure shot guys in the team already with something like Rs 18 crore still to go. You can easily buy five solid players around the Rs 2 crore mark and eight guys around Rs 1 crore or lower,” the current official said.

The former official concurred: “The era of filling up your squad to the brim is over. With everyone in the auction, people will go for quality over quantity. I won’t be surprised to have more teams with 16-20 players on the books rather than the maximum 27. That means the local players will lose out on contracts, but the quality of cricket will certainly rise.”

Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.



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