IPL news December 24, 2013

Franchises unhappy with new retention rules


The new player-retention rules released by the IPL have attracted an unfavourable response from some franchises, who are particularly displeased by the newly introduced "right-to-match" card. The right-to-match card allows IPL franchises to buy back a specific number of their own players after releasing them for auction by matching the highest bid they attract. The card was recommended by the IPL primarily to help franchises retain a bigger core group of players. Some franchises, however, privately argue that instead of facilitating franchises to retain their core group, the right-to-match rule was devised only to benefit certain teams that were keen to ensure they retained a majority of their best players.

According to the IPL 2014 player regulations, every franchise is allowed to retain five players with a specific amount deducted from their auction purse of Rs 600 million ($9.67 million). Franchises can spend a maximum of Rs 390 million on retaining the five. Yet, the new rules state that irrespective of the negotiated amount between the franchise and the retained player, only the designated amount for each retained player (as per IPL regulations) will be listed on the books. This, some franchises argue, makes the idea of a salary cap redundant.

The new rules ensure that every franchise can hold on to a maximum of six players with a combination of retentions and players re-signed using the right-to-match card. The rule, said one franchise official, was skewed to start with.

"The rule has been tweaked to suit certain teams," argued an official from another franchise. "The team which retains five gets rewarded with one more (card) whereas the team that does not retain anyone gets only three (cards). This team should be allowed at least one more right-to-match option if not two."

Franchise officials believe that, with the introduction of the right-to-match card, certain players, like the marquee names, might want to put their hats in the auction ring to raise their worth. Considering that retention is a two-way process and is futile without the player's nod, franchises fear they might end up paying more for the same player in comparison to the previous season.

"If I tell the player I will pay him $2 million to retain him, he will not accept and say I want $2.5 million. So if I retained him I would have paid him 125 million rupees. But still I have to pay him more (than the designated amount). So the sanctity of the purse is broken immediately. Now if the same player was picked in the auction at 150 million I would not have a problem," a franchise official said.

"The rule has been tweaked to suit certain teams. The team which retains five gets rewarded with one more (card) whereas the team that does not retain anyone gets only three (cards). This team should be allowed at least one more right-to-match option if not two."
A franchise official

The right-to-match card was placed at the table during the IPL workshop in Singapore in November. The idea was to offset the original retention rule that was introduced in 2011. That rule allowed a franchise to retain a maximum of four capped players. Not all franchises subscribed to that rule. Some felt that they ended up spending more money buying players in the auction compared to rival franchises that paid half the sum to retain players. To give an example, Kolkata Knight Riders had spent $5.6 million to buy the trio of Gautam Gambhir, Yusuf Pathan and Jacques Kallis whereas Chennai Super Kings retained the quartet of MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, M Vijay and Albie Morkel for $4.5 million.

Consequently, some of the affected franchises even suggested in the Singapore workshop that the IPL bring all players into the auction. However, not all eight teams were on the same page. It is understood that one of the bigger franchises wanted a combination of five retained players and three right-to-match cards. Another franchise wanted the card option to retain the capped Indian players while another was interested in exercising that option to buy back uncapped players.

This only re-opens the debate over whether the the IPL is a level-playing field as was claimed by Lalit Modi, the first chairman of the league. Smaller franchises argue that their bigger rivals have managed to flex their financial muscle and power to tweak the rules to suit their needs and buy the players they want.

"With a salary cap now, at least you know a franchise is paying Rs 390 million if you retain five players," another franchise official said. "In many ways it is a fair system regardless of the mischief you play in paying under the table. If there was no salary cap then the bigger franchises could have paid anything for any player and gone to the auction and bought more players at ridiculous costs. But today if I retain all five players I am left with just Rs 210 millon to buy the rest of the players to build a balanced squad. So the salary cap puts some sort of restriction."

According to this official the best thing to happen in this auction is that Indian domestic players will be part of the pool unlike in the past. Uncapped players till now were paid upto Rs 3 million, but franchises admit players were lured through various kickbacks. "Giving a BMW to an uncapped player would not help anymore," the official said.

Not everyone agreed. A franchise chief executive was less confident and felt the rules would continue to be bent. "The concept of a salary cap is being abused for the last five years and the trend will continue with the new set of rules. We don't know how much the teams were paying the big names who had been retained in the last season. And it will be pretty similar this time around. The right-to-match card just adds to the woes as the players' demands will keep on increasing and the teams will be on the back foot."

With additional reporting from Amol Karhadkar

Nagraj Gollapudi is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Boromeo on December 26, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    (Contd..) Just think Delhi had Gambhir, Sehwag, AB Devillers, T Dilshan, Shikhar Dhawan, D Karthik, A Mishra, D Vettori and M Tiwary. And they didn't believe in them and went for a major reshuffle. Now Gambhir is leading KKR in a great way and won them a Championship. S Dhawan is the most dangerous Indian Opener. Vettori is the one of the most economical spinner in T20s. AB is in firing hot form. D Karthik is the second best Indian WK-Batsman after MSD. M Tiwary is one of the promising Indian youngster. Same goes with KXIP with Yuvi, Sanga Mahela, Irfan, B Lee, Rajasthan Royals: R Jadeja, Y Pathan, M Morkel. RCB: R Dravid, R Utthappa, M Pandey, J Kallis, K Pietersen, D Steyn, R Taylor, E Morgan and J Ryder. KKR: A Mendis, A Mathews, B McCullum, C Gayle, B Hodge. Deccan Chargers: Rohit Sharma, A Gilchrist, A Symonds, M Marsh, D Smith, RP Singh

    These players are star players elsewhere in other teams. So isn't it the mistake of the these team rather than blame CSK, MI and RCB????

  • Boromeo on December 26, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    The main complaint is against the heavy weights CSK and Mumbai. But to see both the teams, it is the gradual development and the wise spending has made them Heavy weights. Isn't purse available to all the teams same from the starting? Infact, it was disadvantage CSK, when it started first Auction without a ICON player when Delhi had two. Mumbai and Kolkatta made mistakes with first auction. But teams like Deccan Chargers or Kings XI Punjab never got to know the trick of Auction. When it came the first retention, it was wise move by MI and CSK to retain its core players. Other teams made stupid moves by releasing its star players. But CSK and MI persisted and went with half pursue and made their motive clear. Only CSK, MI and RR really go into the auction with knowing whom the team needs. Oflate, SRH and KKR are getting it. But complaining about the Heavy weight is unjustified though the transfer window helps the mighty money spender. There shd be some strict action towards it (Contd..)

  • Satish Chandar on December 26, 2013, 3:27 GMT

    Well.. Franchises had to retain. Many here really don't understand the effort a team puts on to build a team. Initially RCB were reluctant to retain as well in 2011. But now they have a core team in Virat, Gayle and ABD. So now they would opt to retain those 3 certainly and Rampaul too. Same goes with KKR. They would certainly opt to retain Gauti and Narine for sure. These guys are now the core of the teams. MI has in it them to retain 5 players. CSK MUST retain 3 atleast in MSD, Raina and Ashwin with RJ, Albie, Bravo, Hussey(if he could play 3 years) in the wings. SRH might retain Dhawan, Steyn, Sammy and Mishra. If possible, Thissera too. RR has Watson and Rahane to retain. Their advantage is Samson and Binny are still uncapped. Yes the teams like DD and KXIP would struggle to find players to retain but their efforts to build a team is poor. They should fight to ring in big guns to their teams. They first of all need to identify strong management with an aim to win. Not just compete

  • ESPN on December 25, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    Ipl gets more and more farcical

  • Dummy4 on December 25, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    I agreed but let's see what happens in auction

  • Dharma on December 25, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    As Sharda Ugra has said (http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/video_audio/703655.html), player retention gives some unfair advantage to franchises retaining max players. Max spending = 600 million. with 5 retained, max spending = 390 million. That means for the 5 retained players, the fixed amount is 210 million. Imagine those 5, if they are in auction they would have (most probably) got more than 210 million (KKR's example in article). This straightaway gives advantage to the franchise retaining players.

    Ofcourse, there is other way too. A few players have become icons like Dhoni for CSK, Kohli for RCB, etc. Its hard to imagine them playing for other franchises. So, my opinion is to retain as less as possible (1 or max 2) and increase the 'right to match' cards to 4 or 5. This way, the core team of 5 or 6 can still be maintained. At the same time there is no unfair advantage too since the players will be retained for bidding price via 'right to match' card and not at a fixed price.

  • Abbas on December 25, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    5 is also a big number, they shouldn't have allowed to be retain, bring everyone in pool, then see how balanced teams will become, i hope every team will retain 5, just in case of RR & KXIP, it seems a bit harsh !

  • Pratyush on December 25, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    Gosh, every year new rules are manufactured to help the bigger franchises. The IPL is a joke on us, we simply don't know it yet.

  • Nanda Kumar on December 25, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    I think the proposal is good as it rewards team which have been consistent and have applied cricketing logic from day one. Except KIX which seems to be lost and DD which made bizarre choices by releasing Taylor, KP, GG in the last auction all the other teams used their choices well. Fans need stability of their teams. I am supporter of CSK and cannot and do not want my team to be recast every 3 years from scratch. By having atleast 5 players there is continuity. Most teams will have their 4 - 5 names ready. Some obvious names

    SRH: Dawan, Sammy, Steyn RR : Watson, Faulkner, Sanju Samson, Hodge ( may be) MI : Mitch Jhonson, Rohit Sharma, CSK : MSD, Raina, Ashwin, Bravo So things are not unfair if the team management thinks through the process and uses the fees wisely. The only change should be in the case of retained players is actual salary or notional salary which ever is higher will be deducted from the Rs 60 Cr cap. That would have made this level playing, May be can still be coni

  • B. Pavan on December 24, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    The rules as claimed by few franchise's are certainly not partial. It was their mistake not to build up a decent team in the past. As Pune warriors is not anymore a franchise, all the other teams had good chance to buy so-called valuable players. Now that they don't have any match winners, they can't claim a full fledged auction. Also, players like Dhoni, Viru or Galye who had become brand ambassadors for their franchise have to represent them. The new rules now seem more beneficial for uncapped players.

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