The 2nd biggest circus in cricket (2nd only to the actual IPL tournament) just concluded today. I am talking about the IPL auctions.
From the auctions this year one thing became very clear; IPL is now truly an “Indian Premier” League. The franchises have realized that 7 Indians in a team have a better chance of winning you the match and possibly the tournament. Plus the BCCI will ensure their availability through out the IPL.
This has resulted in all the highest value players being Indians. The only high value foreigners are the ones who are not regulars in their national team (like David Hussey, Gilchrist) or have been bought by the teams who were starting afresh and needed leaders.
The tables have turned on a lot of the superstars who were paid crazy sums of money in the 1st 2 auctions and this time they got very less or didn’t get picked at all. Guys like Symonds, KP, Gayle, Brendon McCullum, Graeme Smith.
Now this leads me to think that there could be 2 possible fallouts of this:
1. The foreign players who were all gung-ho about the IPL will now reconsider if IPL is worth jeopardizing their international careers for. Someone like McCullum, Graeme Smith may not want to miss his international commitments for a sum of 400K USD. The IPL might just not be worth their time anymore. They might lose interest in the IPL soon and IPL may just be restricted to Indian players and a few fringe / retired players. (even the retired players were losing favor from the franchises)
2. The 2nd scenario what could happen is sensing the hurt among the foreign players 1 or 2 of the other countries might want to start their own premier league. Admitted it is not an easy thing to do and none of the boards have the monetary power of BCCI. But you never know where a Kerry Packer may come up from or Lalit Modi might just reincarnate in another avatar.
The other concern that I have is will the foreign players, now, have the motivation to play or bond with their team members. Their primary reason for playing IPL was money and if they are not getting that, what will their attitudes be?
I am cricket fan and I would like to think that I am being paranoid; these guys will not care about it and will give their 100% to the teams. But, hey, this is not their national team. There are no emotions attached here.
Knowing the dirty business that is IPL & BCCI, the IPL committee could counter the threats by changing the “rules” of IPL and allowing more foreign players in a match. But I think it would be too late by then.
I anticipate some sort of negative reaction from the players and the media from England, Australia, NZ about the IPL auctions; which in keeping with the nature of the tournament will not be a surprise.
What do you think?