IPL 2013 April 23, 2013

Franchises need better support from IPL - KKR chief

ESPNcricinfo staff

The IPL could carry out important changes next year with its auction conducted in rupees instead of dollars and for the first time including, in some manner, uncapped Indian players. These would be welcome changes, according to Venky Mysore, the Kolkata Knight Riders CEO, but he has voiced strong concerns about the conduct of the IPL and said the league's administrators need to be more open and responsive to the franchises and work hard closely with them.

Asked on ESPNcricinfo's daily video show The Huddle a wish he would like the IPL to fulfill, Mysore said it would be to make the franchises more profitable and help them stand on their legs. "The financial viability of the franchises has to be uppermost on the mind of the league. Sorry to be a bit blunt, but at times I have felt that is not necessarily the case," Mysore said. "The reason is stakeholders come into various businesses for passion. They have a vision and it fits into that, but you do not want them waking up one day and wondering what am I doing in this business. And that would happen if they are bleeding."

With player contracts expiring end of this season, franchises are getting ready for an overhaul with majority of the players - both capped and uncapped, including domestic Indian players - going to the auction. Mysore said the IPL would need to be transparent about the auction rules, especially on the point of retention. In 2011, the IPL had allowed every franchise to retain a maximum of four players with the rest returning to the auction. "Auction issue is big. While we really did not retain anyone in 2011, now we have an opportunity and we are certainly keen depending on what the rules are going to be. We are campaigning for saying retention is a must. If there is a precedence that says four, we are even happy to support more than four," he said.

With the salary cap increasing every year, Mysore warned the IPL needed to be more disciplined while deciding on the purse amount. At this year's auction, held in February, every franchise had a $12.5 million purse. Mysore also recommended the IPL to have the player salaries converted into Indian rupees instead of the prevalent dollar. "The reason for that is over the last two-and-a-half years the currency has depreciated almost 25-30%. So when you convert $12.5 million into rupees the salary cap has grown 500% (sic). No business can survive on that basis," Mysore said. According to him, the IPL has told him that 2014 auction would be rupee-based.

Another deterrent to an open auction has been the perception that the IPL rules are not set in stone and are flexible while favouring certain powerful franchises. Why then would they not operate as one while voicing their concerns? "That perception (of certain franchises taking advantage) does exist and as the saying goes, over a period of time perceptions do become reality. But there can be a spirit of co-operation. We are not a large league. We are nine teams. And everyone pretty much gets along with everybody from what I've seen. The recommendations that we make are certainly for the benefit of the entire league if not only the franchises. But somehow there is a certain sense of concern of quality or security on the part of the IPL," he said.

As an example, Mysore cited the case of asking the IPL permission to allow the franchise to play exhibition games overseas last year. "They got off the block a little bit and said yes, but what they also said was we go and play an Associate country," Mysore said. But according to him, playing in Ireland, Scotland, Canada was not economically feasible. As a solution he suggested to allow two franchises to play against each other in an Associate country, but the IPL showed reluctance once again. Mysore is still not losing hope. "I can see there is more openness, although not enough for our liking, but it is slowly coming in."

A grey area franchises have exploited in the past is signing an uncapped Indian domestic player, who has never been part of the auction unlike his overseas counterpart. Uncapped Indian players are paid a maximum of Rs 30 lakh ($55,300 approx) with the IPL reasoning that inflating the salary would corrupt the youngsters. However, according to Mysore it is another way of bending the rules. "There are ways in which you can control the value that is "thrown" at a player. Whenever you do price control, people always find ways to get around it and we are a very creative bunch," Mysore said.

Offering a solution, Mysore felt a good way out was to put the Indian uncapped domestic players as a group at the back-end of the auction. "Everyone who left the auction in 2011 had roughly between $400,000-500,000 (of the purse money) left to sign up Indian uncapped boys. Pretty much the same thing could happen next year. In the process there might be one or two players who might command a high fee. So be it. At least the market forces will be at work rather than the circuitous routes taken in 2011 (by franchises). There were allegations like someone paying someone's brother-in-law a car or a mother-in-law a house to overcome the rules. That is silly."

He remained confident though, having been assured by the IPL about plugging that loophole. "I am told that in the next auction Indian uncapped boys will also come into the auction."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • S on April 25, 2013, 10:50 GMT

    Just the name "auction" drives me to despair. We have spent enough time and money as spectators and fans to cheer and support our respective teams. What would be RCB without Vinay, Mayank, et al, let alone Gayle, Kohli, AB? We have spent three years cheering for them and suddenly if you take them away and put them in another team, it would be very difficult to retain a sense of "my team". Are we required to do this every few years? This is not fair on the true fan. It maybe OK on the occasional supporter who just wants a good game, who doesn't care who is bowling or batting as long the team wins, but for people like me who have somehow identified themselves totally with the present team, it means sleepless nights.

    The retention rule allows the franchises to at least retain the very core of the team, but the number of retentions should be increased to 3/3, rather than 2/2. Of course, this will mean lesser number of high value players in the auction, but then the core team will remain.

  • Dummy4 on April 25, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    Let this be the final auction.. Put everyone into auction and then from next year follow the EPL rules.

  • Dummy4 on April 25, 2013, 7:16 GMT

    I think franchise shall be allowed to retain three player.IPL will lose their popularity if there is no retention of key player.teams will lose their identity.

  • Dummy4 on April 25, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    Let`s make it fair.

    Put every player in the auction. Let franchises bid for what they need.

    I don`t like to see players like Dhoni, Watson, Kohli, Malinga.......playing for same teams since IPL had started, it in fact makes boring. It is in fact not fair for teams like Mumbai and Chennai holding best players in T20 with retention policy. The other franchises say Pune warriors wanted to spend more money for the players, but the best players from existed franchises were retained. Not fair in my view.

    Let`s give each franchise equal chance to bid for the players, let`s bring a new look to IPL-7. Let every player get shuffled.

  • Sid on April 24, 2013, 14:51 GMT

    Without taking any sides here, as true as it is to have player retention so that the fans can identify with their respective teams, it is a tad unfair to the newer teams joining the league to have to spend much more on buying the team (as prices have grown significantly over the last 5 years) and then to not get access to the best of players. Team owners are trying to build their brands and so are the sponsorors. Hence, the corporate tie-ups will have a lot to do with the big players one has in their roster. Teams owners are great sports themselves and love the fun and the challenge. But, they have to be able to sustain the investment. Plus, there is the additional excitement to have the biggest players in your team.

  • Sanjay on April 24, 2013, 13:32 GMT

    I can promise you that if you keep rotating these players around every 3 years or so, nobody will care about these teams or games anymore. There used to be lots of fans during first 3 seasons who dont follow their teams anymore because the team composition has changed. Fan loyalty is a very important factor that you should not take for granted and it will take a long time to build a loyal fan base.

    Dont compromise on quality and fan base just for short term gain.

  • SVSNK on April 24, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    I personally feel IPL should be conducted in two phases. One phase should be played overseas shifting to different countries every year while the second phase and the play offs should be played in India. This will not only solve the money issue to some extent but does a world of good to the game and players. I am sure everyone agrees that IPL is no less than international cricket in terms of intensity and player's commitment. When this is played in different conditions, it will not only help the players from different countries experience overseas conditions under intense pressure but also promotes the game to a completely different level. With the kind of following IPL has (evident during IPL2 in South Africa), it will be very well received in all the other countries as well (in spite of several leagues being played). It is T20 Cricket after all!

  • Dummy4 on April 24, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Any professional sports league MUST allow for player retention to build loyal support amongst its fan base. It is the difference between a serious league and a commercial joke...

    What side does the IPL want to fall on?

  • Abbas on April 24, 2013, 11:33 GMT

    There should not be any retaining system, instead of that, there must come a rules that you cannot Bid for more then 8 players (3 Foreign) who were previously in your squad, because squads like Punjab & Hydrebad will always remain weak, and the the 10th Franchise won't get much to Bid on !

  • Dummy4 on April 24, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    I wish to see every IPL team should play with 2 uncapped indian players in their playing XI in every match... This not only develops domestic cricket but also give the chance to the some teams to give equivalent fight with some other teams who have play with all capped players...