February 17, 2010

IPL

Take the money and run

Andrew Hughes


Swann: wot, no pink Ferrari talk this time? © Getty Images
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Like many of the ugly sisters at the IPL ball, Graeme Swann failed to catch the eye of a Prince Charming or even a Chief Executive Charming and remained unpurchased. Many of the English debutantes were rendered even less attractive than usual because they will not be around for much of IPL 2010 due to a prior engagement in Bangladesh. This contractual requirement to play Test cricket is frustrating for the poor dears, as Graeme Swann explained this week:

“…I think if we are going to develop, then in an ideal world, we would be made more available for the IPL…”

Indeed, Graeme. I had been hoping that success in last Friday’s Euro Lottery would have enabled me to develop in all manner of directions. I had intended to develop a taste for expensive cigars, powerful cars and fine wines for a start. A holiday mansion in Tuscany, a string of sordid affairs and a swimming pool in the shape of the Ashes urn were amongst other developments I could foresee.

Like Graeme, I was to be disappointed.

But why this coyness from England’s Twitterer-in-chief about the desirability of making large amounts of cash? Is it in order to spare our feelings? Is it out of solidarity for all those cricketers of generations past who didn’t get the chance to cash in? Pre-Packer, national cricket boards paid their stars a pittance and in return expected unquestioning loyalty and silence.

But no one wants those days back (well, apart from the silence) and no fair-minded person should quibble when talented human beings secure their rewards. So, since we’re all grown-ups, can’t we drop this stuff about the IPL being a great opportunity and a chance to develop? We all know that translates as “a great opportunity to develop a large bank balance”. Far from sparing us the pangs of jealousy, it makes young talented men sound like dissembling politicians.

This stuff is particularly disappointing coming from Swann. During the Stanford “tournament”, when his colleagues were muttering sheepishly about “investments” and “school fees”, should they scoop the Stanford cash, Swann stated that he was intending to purchase a pink Ferrari with his share of the loot.

That’s more like it. Modern cricketers should remember that they are entertainers, not accountants clocking on for their nine to five. Extravagance, copious consumption and possibly diamond-studded pyjamas, are all part of the package. If they are going to be paid like superstars, they need to throw off any lingering distaste they feel about the accrual of lots of noughts on their bank balance. And if they are in any doubt about how to handle the money and the fame, they should puff out their chests, take a long hard look at themselves in the dressing room mirror and ask, what would Elton John do?

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Posted by Matt on (March 5, 2010, 5:59 GMT)

IPL was, is, and ever will be a junket for cricketers. The fact that the BCCI have their grubby hands in this farce is obviously shown with the lack of English cricketers in the IPL, due to ECB and BCCI not getting along. @Ashwin: Hahahaha; how about you try to figure out your incoming Commonwealth Games, and the stark similarities to Beijing Games.

Posted by Abhijeet on (February 25, 2010, 6:03 GMT)

Excellent article Andrew. @Ashwin: "IPL stands for INDIAN Premier League, it's a domestic tourney in INDIA." Joke of the century! Nothing has hurt domestic cricket in India like IPL. Did you miss how the great IPL people screwed over an extremely talented "INDIAN" Ravindra Jadeja, while paying crazy money to pace bowlers from SA, who would be pretty much useless on indian pitches. Most of the indian players who did well in last IPL are nowhere to be found, most certainly not in the indian team anyway. IPL might be an entertainment extravaganza, but its definitely not a domestic tournament.

Posted by Kunal on (February 22, 2010, 6:19 GMT)

Elton would have taken the money, played the match and also sung at the closing ceremony.

Nice read, Andrew.

Posted by Ashwin on (February 18, 2010, 13:56 GMT)

Jesus, another sour Englishman writing a sour article about the IPL. Give it a rest people, this obsession with IPL-bashing is getting old. IPL stands for INDIAN Premier League, it's a domestic tourney in INDIA. Focus your journalistic talent on something more pertinent to happenings in your island. How about trying to work out how you are going to pay for the next Olympics?

Posted by Vinodh on (February 17, 2010, 23:32 GMT)

Andrew, The coyness you refer to is a human phenomenon and is a product of trained social behavior. For example, in recent times ads are popping up all over the Cricinfo website. Will Cricinfo advertise itself as "Welcome to Cricinfo - where we have the best cricket related ads"? Well, let's face it - that's why the site is here right? So that someone can make money. It's very much like that this coyness :)

Posted by manish on (February 17, 2010, 17:53 GMT)

hahaha..great article!! I had thought the exact same thing when i read that swann wanted to play the ipl for the experience and not for the money. Anyways, very well written article!

Posted by Sam G on (February 17, 2010, 17:44 GMT)

Thing you've got to remember is that playing cricket is these peoples' jobs. That's what they do for a living, so who can blame them for going off, sitting on a bench for a few weeks, turn their arm over once or twice and swinging for the sake of it... For a ridiculous amount of money? But I do agree with you, they should just come up and say "Yeah i want the money".

Posted by Wim Vonk on (February 17, 2010, 16:37 GMT)

Nice to read an honest article. Money is the driving force and nobody should blame the cricketers for grabbing it wehile they can. Never any talk of footballers making too much, although in my opinion they do.

Posted by raja on (February 17, 2010, 12:20 GMT)

Terrific piece, Andrew. Have not read Page2 for a while, so maybe I have missed some of your recent writing. Btw, not seen you on CF also for a while..Cheers, Raja

Posted by Robin Sen on (February 17, 2010, 8:46 GMT)

Excellent article again Andrew. One saga interests me ; when the IPL idea was first mentioned 3 years ago, I remember Darren Gough scoffing at the idea with comments like "well you know how much I love India!". Then he spent all last year trying to get a contract as other England players have. Lets face it, IPL needs a few England faces to draw in SKY Tv..but they don't realise that most people here in the Uk could not care less about the IPL..if it's part of the package, why not watch it but who's going to pay the extra?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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