Indian Premier League February 23, 2008

Franchises raise 'player poaching' issue

Praveen Kumar, claimed initially by both Delhi and Bangalore, will finally play for Bangalore franchise. © Getty Images

A couple of franchises of the Indian Premier League have raised concerns that their local catchment players are being "poached" by the rival teams. The Jaipur team have sent a letter to the IPL council while Delhi has voiced its concern.

"The catchment players should play for us, else, what is the use of having them in the first place," Fraser Castellino, the CEO of Jaipur franchise, told Cricinfo. "If we don't pick a player from our pool, then the others can come in. Now, we talk to one player, the other team offers more money and takes them away."

He found support in TA Sekhar, who is involved with the Delhi team. "If you have a catchment the respective franchise should have right to pick that player first. I know the clause was there from the start but I just feel that would have been the right way to go about it."

Both teams prefer that a time frame be stipulated for the teams to pick their players. The rival teams can come in after that period and pick the remaining players from that catchment area.

Post the auction of the bigger stars on February 20 the franchises have been busy trying to sign up the under-22 players and the local players from the catchment areas. It is learnt that the case of Praveen Kumar, wooed and claimed by both Bangalore and Delhi before eventually signing up by the former, is not an isolated one.

However, a member of the IPL governing council said that at this stage, such complaints don't carry any weight. "Every body has come out with some concern or other after the auction," a member of the governing council said. "All of them want the best condition but there is nothing substantive in the complaints. Only if some thing very serious comes up, we will take a decision."

Other franchises -- Bangalore and Chennai -- believe this clause was there right from the start and it doesn't make sense to raise objections now. "Why raise the issue now?" Charu Sharma, the CEO of Bangalore, asked. "The clause was already there." VB Chandrasekhar, part of the management with the Chennai outfit, too held a similar view.

Player hunt

It is learnt that Hyderabad have signed up Venugopal Rao, Ravi Teja, Pragyan Ojha, Arjun Yadav and M Sarveesh Kumar, Kalyan Krishna, P Vijay Kumar and Halhar Das from Orissa. Sarveesh, a young player from the districts, is the surprise package.

Bangalore have signed up Sunil Joshi, R Vinay Kumar, Balachandra Akhil, Devraj Patil and are in talks with Bharat Chipli and J Arun Kumar. The under-22 players recruits includes Manish Pandey and KP Appanna while Saurabh Tiwary is also likely to join.

Delhi have roped in Rajat Bhatia and the likes of Virat Kohli, Pradeep Sangwan, Tanmay Srivastava, Mithun Manhas and Shikhar Dhawan are being touted as possible recruits.

The Chennai outfit has been in touch with Abhinav Mukund and Napoleon Einstien and it is learnt that Yo Mahesh, pending fitness issues, and S Badrinath are likely to play.

The Bengal franchise will select the final list from a pool comprising Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Sourashis Lahiri, Ranadeb Bose and Shib Shankar Paul. Lahiri would have been certain entry but it's learnt that he is in the BCCI's list of bowlers with suspect actions, and hence they want to wait and watch. The U-22 players from Bengal who are being looked at are Arindam Ghosh and Debabrata Das.

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo