IPL teams can use October 31 deadline to trim salaries
The IPL franchises have been given an opportunity to reduce their player costs, should they wish to do so, because of a tweak to regulations made by the league's governing council earlier this month. The franchises have been asked to submit a list of players they want to retain for the next season, to be played in April-May 2013, by October 31 while the rest will go into the next auction.
What this effectively means is that a franchise can release a player who was bought at a high price, make sure he is included in the auction pool, and then try and buy him at a lower price.
"It is possible for a team or teams to rectify a player's price. For instance, Saurabh Tiwary was bought by the [Royal Challengers] Bangalore at $1.6 million, way higher than the estimated price for the batsman," an IPL official told ESPNcricinfo. "If they wish, they can cut ties with him and again buy him at the auction at a cheaper rate."
Such an approach, however, is fraught with risk. "No team would like to disturb its core group for reducing the player's fees, so I doubt if any team would actually take the risk of putting a key player into the auction pool," another IPL team executive said. "If Irfan Pathan, bought at $1.9 million by Delhi Daredevils, goes into the auction pool for a correction and if two and three teams are looking for an allrounder at the auction, then there is every likelihood that the player will be sold for almost the same amount and Delhi may lose him eventually."
With less than two days to go for the deadline to submit the player list to the IPL authorities, the teams seemed to prefer to keep most of their leading players. Officials of three franchises confirmed they "won't fiddle around with most of our overseas players". And those officials also confirmed they "will release a few of the domestic players".
"After all, we cannot ignore the trading window that will precede the auction," an official said. "If we need to have a re-look at the core group of our squad, we can do so even during the trading window. But some of the lesser exposed and lesser skilled domestic players will turn out to be free agents in two days."
Another factor the franchises are dealing with ahead of the October 31 deadline is finalising whether their veteran players can last another season. Sourav Ganguly's decision not to feature in the next IPL is a result of the same. However, two other veterans, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, are set to play at least one more IPL season. Neither Rajasthan Royals nor Mumbai Indians intend to part ways with them.
Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo