IPL Mess June 23, 2010

IPL franchises against player retention and playing fewer matches


Ahead of their first meeting with interim IPL chairman Chirayu Amin tomorrow, a number of franchises have told Cricinfo they are against player retention and playing fewer matches next year, and would like to see more transparency and accountability in the way the league is run.

Following the suspension of Lalit Modi as IPL commissioner and the addition of two new franchises, a number of issues concerning this year's player auction and next season's tournament are still to be resolved. Chief among them is the issue of player retention. There have been debates over whether the original eight franchises should be allowed to keep any of their current players. Sachin Tendulkar has suggested teams be allowed to retain eight players - four Indian and four international - but the four franchises that spoke to Cricinfo felt all players should go back into the auction pool.

"The practical thing to do is let them go and bid for the players you want in a transparent manner," one franchise official told Cricinfo on the condition of anonymity.

As a potential compromise, an official from another franchise suggested giving each team two "cards" for the auction. The cards would give the teams the first right of refusal for one Indian player and one foreign player from their team. So if the maximum bid for a player, say MS Dhoni, was set at $2 million, then Chennai could use the card to bid $2 million and automatically retain him even if another franchise bids the maximum amount.

In case Chennai choose to bid less than $2 million for Dhoni, and that bid is matched by one or more of the other franchises, then Chennai would have the first right to break the tie and take the player, using the card. "[That way] everything is decided on the auction table," the official said.

In the wake of India's disastrous World Twenty20 campaign, many observers blamed IPL fatigue for the team's poor performance, leading to speculation that fewer matches will be played next year. The IPL governing council is reportedly studying a proposal that recommends the teams be split in two groups, with a total of 68 matches. Under the current format, 94 matches are set to be played next year.

However, none of the franchises Cricinfo spoke to were in favour of shortening the tournament. They argue that their decisions are based on a particular business model and certain projections. "The number one reason for adding teams and having more matches was having more revenue. If the number of matches is reduced, it doesn't work for me," a franchise official said. "We can address the problems [player fatigue] arising out of that; there is a solution. But reducing matches and the reduction of revenue is not on."

One proposed solution was to limit the Indian players to 14 matches each, but there were reservations about how acceptable that would be, considering the large sums of money being paid for them.

Other issues of concern are the maximum permissible size of teams and a salary cap that includes players bought outside the auction. As things stand, teams will be allowed to spend $7 million each on players at the auction. But there is no limit to how much money can be spent on players outside the auction, or how many players a team can buy. This gives franchises with deeper pockets an advantage; hence a cap to level the playing field.

"We will ask for a cap on the spend," a franchise official said. "We will ask for a cap on the number of people a team can hire. Nobody should have a squad of more than 25 or 30."

The teams would also like a larger voice in the running of the IPL. Among the suggestions is that the governing council should include a franchise representative, who would pass on information to the franchises in a timely way, allowing them to plan their operations more efficiently. Ultimately, clarity and communication are what the franchises want most to get on with the business of running their teams.

Tariq Engineer is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • puneet on June 25, 2010, 18:30 GMT

    94 is too much!! The franchises should think from cricket point of view as well & not always from the point of commerce. It is difficult to divide the IPL teams into groups as there will be no basis for division as all the teams have played inconsistently over the three years except Chennai & Kolkata. The better option is that each team should play only once against each other. Out of their 9 matches, 4 should be played at home, 4 at other IPL team's home & 1 match at neutral venues like Guwahati, Cuttack, Gwalior, Kanpur etc. This would make IPL spread to many more cities than just a few cities which is great for the game. By this there will be 49 games in the IPL which is very ideal. Also with the busy international cricket schedule, none of the boards will be freeing their players for such a long time(94!!). From the commerce point of view also, having fewer matches makes sense in the long run as with too many matches IPL will lose its sheen & will ultimately lead to its extinction

  • salim on June 24, 2010, 8:40 GMT

    IPL not even recognized by ICC. If money making machine continue time will come when Indian players will play only for IPL & shall avoid palying for Indian as they will get enough money so why to paly for India? IPL should be taxed at corporate rates(33%) and the money to be used for betterment of all sports in India.

  • Dilip on June 24, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    I agree with the franchise for not to reduce the matches. Allow 10 matches per player during league matches to avoid fatige and the same time allow 5 overseas player in a match to make the IPL event more attractive.

  • Michael Ponnudurai on June 24, 2010, 8:31 GMT

    10 teams playing each other two times will be a very long drawn affair. I suggest either A. Each team plays the other once. The top 4 teams should play the semi finals like 1 Vs. 4 and 2 Vs 3 or B. Break the teams into groups A and B. Let 5 teams in each group play the other in the same group once. The top two teams in each Group could play the semi finals like A1 Vs B2, A2 Vs B1 and then to finals.

    Also the ad revenue mongering ad/strategy break should be done away with, if BCCI respects sports lovers more than money

    I also suggest that the matches are scheduled to begin at 3pm and 7pm, instead of 4pm and 8 pm if the BCCI respects the audience who go to stadiums to watch and the audience who watch through television

  • Pradeep on June 24, 2010, 8:09 GMT

    Thank god they are considering having the same number of matches, inspite of increase in franchisees. With 64 IPL games, Modi gave a 15,000 page reply. Imagine if there are 94 matches, how many page reply would Modi give (if he is at all involved in IPL).

  • Vamsi Krishna on June 24, 2010, 7:35 GMT

    Please stop this nonsensical IPL or atleast limit them. The palyers fitness is becoming an issue, the performance of Indian cricket team at international level is decreasing, - its now only money,money and money. Its better if the no. of matches are cutdown drastically. Its also boring.

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2010, 7:15 GMT

    it looks more like gambling than like cricket....... icc n other countries cricket boards should act ,other senior indian players should stay away from this menace to legendary n classic game........

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2010, 7:09 GMT

    it looks more or less similar to gambling n not like cricket... icc n other countries cricket board should act n other senior indian players should stay away from this menace to cricket...... save d game

  • Dummy4 on June 24, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    IPL will die a slow death like ICL. They destructed ICL and now it's their turn

  • Eshwar on June 24, 2010, 6:38 GMT

    More than fatigue, I guess the motivation is reduced while going into T20. Players are more relaxed, as they are back home from a really pressurized business trip when they transit from IPL to ICC/BCCI event. Franchises, if they want to still have as many games in support of the revenue, they should put pressure on IPL GC to think of a more innovative format that keeps the audience in. This year it was quite a bore after sometime, and once the scandal started, it was just a wait for it to get over. Each team playing 2 games with every other team, looks very basic and not a very not thought of approach.

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