IPL 2011 January 8, 2011

The English question, and other answers

A day of record fees, surprises, hype and hubris threw up several puzzling deals and trends. Nagraj Gollapudi did some sniffing around to try and answer some of the key questions.

Why was there such little interest in England players - including Graeme Swann, the world's best spinner, and James Anderson, one of the matchwinners for England in the Ashes?
One main reason is that the franchises felt some of the England players had overpriced base prices. The other reason was the question mark over the availability for longer periods - England's domestic season begins soon after the IPL, and the first round of home international matches would overlap with the IPL's title run-in. Swann has the pedigree, form and charisma (the last characteristic especially synchronous with the IPL brand) but there's one factor going against him: the trend for Indian franchises to not opt for an offspinner on the flat pitches across shortened grounds. "Unless he has a doosra or a carrom ball like R Ashwin has it is difficult to think of including an offspinner, especially because it is easy to hit an offie," one franchise official said. Of course, it helps to be Muttiah Muralitharan, who bowls economically and has shown in previous IPLs that he can keep batsmen on edge. "And franchises normally avoid foreign spinners on Indian tracks as they need to field seven Indians, so they'd be loath to waste a spot for a specialist spinner from abroad."

So why did Rajasthan Royals spend so much on Johan Botha?
The South African offspinner was picked up for $950,000 after a four-way fight that saw his value spiralling from his base price of $200,000. Rajasthan joined the bidding very very late but held on to get their man. "He is a fantastic offspinner, a superb fielder," said Raghu Iyer, Rajasthan's chief marketing officer. "He has been part of the team before, brings in the commitment. He is the current South Africa Twenty20 captain. People might feel it's a large price to pay for someone like him but I don't agree. We had our strategy and we probably paid no more than an extra $100,000 for him."

Chris Gayle went unsold, which was a shock for many. Why did franchises turn a blind eye to a mercurial, proven match-winner?
Easy one - it's due mainly to his unavailability this year. West Indies are busy during the next two IPL seasons. They'll be hosting Pakistan this year and play Australia at home and England away in 2012. And his base price of $400,000 worked against him - he would not be a bargain punt, as some others could be.

And what about Tamim Iqbal, the aggressive Bangladesh opener who seems made for Twenty20?
Two reasons. First, the numbers: though he has had a good Test season in 2010, his ODI and Twenty20 form last year was far from impressive. In 23 matches, he made 776 runs at 33.73 with one century while in two Twenty20s, he only managed 33 runs. He's also been battling a wrist injury, for which he's undergone surgery.

The other reason franchises did not bid for him was his international commitments: according to the ICC's Future Tours Programme, Bangladesh are busy during March and April so Tamim would have to miss a healthy part of the next IPL.

Why did an experienced spinner like Murali Kartik go unsold when far less experienced slow bowlers like Piyush Chawla fetched nearly a million?
It could be viewed as an anomaly in one way or just the trend of franchises to go for younger spinners. One franchise official said that with many young options on the domestic uncapped circuit, teams wouldn't have bothered to pick somebody like Kartik, who is 30-plus and not even an allrounder. To make space for a specialist spinner is really difficult, an official said.

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rushikesh on January 10, 2011, 21:15 GMT

    Hi @ aahd81, You will get answer of this question from Kasab

  • Pratik on January 10, 2011, 16:45 GMT

    @Ayub Suleman: IPL IS a domestic event, not a world event. It is part of the BCCI calendar and not the FTP calendar (hence the clash with schedule of few countries). Just like overseas players take part in county cricket, overseas players take part in IPL. And just as county cricket *IS* domestic cricket, so is IPL. Just because IPL happens to be the best marketed cricket tournament doesnt mean it is an international event. T20s played here dont count for T20 International records. It's beyond comprehension why this simple fact is so hard to understand for a few people.

  • vinay on January 10, 2011, 14:29 GMT

    @TheBigFatFlapjack, Will you spend money on something that never gets shipped and delivered to you? i) Swann will be available for a limited season (may be couple of matches or so) ii) Andy Flower says its his call, if a player needs rest he will be pulled out of IPL. What did you expect franchises to do? They made the mistake of shelling 1.55 million dollars for Flintoff and we all know what happened.

    Reg Pakistan players, Indian/Pak government can pull the plug anytime they want. All the relations between the two countries effect Cricket. If Pak or Indian government change their mind and do not want Pak's players to participate in IPL in May 2011, Franchises will lose their investment. IPL teams are built around Indian/Srilankan/South African and Domestic Australian players. I wish Pakistan was around. They look at FTP as well and Chris Gayle is not available for the next two seasons and hence he is not picked.

  • Dummy4 on January 10, 2011, 13:36 GMT

    If Tamim is not selected for his international commitments, why the same reason was not applicable in case of Shakib?

  • Dummy4 on January 10, 2011, 13:19 GMT

    IPL is becoming a joke. Why only some countries players taking part. ICC should not reckonise it. Let it bre a domestic affair not a world event. Let's be serious for once. Some people are makingf big money out of it and then we talk of spot-fixing, corruption. This under ICC's nose but still nothing done. See what happened to Modi. Now he want to be auctioned as a player. What a laugh!!!!!!!

  • Sam on January 10, 2011, 10:25 GMT

    Well said the King of Spain! Hear hear!

  • prabath on January 10, 2011, 10:02 GMT


    why is this editor calling swann the BEST spinner???

    he is just a good spinner,,

    way beyond murali, harbajan and even sakib.....

  • Summer on January 10, 2011, 9:47 GMT

    Thanks Nagraj Gollapudi for clearing all the confusions. :-)

  • A on January 10, 2011, 9:42 GMT

    I have a question someone should really do research on and answer as the complete truth...why are there no Pakistani cricketers in the IPL? There is Afridi, Gul, Ajmal and Razzaq who would be great in any team but they aren't playing. Why?

  • Abhi on January 10, 2011, 7:56 GMT

    What about Ambati Rayadu? Does anyone know what happened? Strange that even Mumbai has not picked him

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