March 4, 2008

Silly money

What the IPL could have learned from Ben and Jerry
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Ishant Sharma, worth $950,000, is the most expensive bowler in the IPL despite the fact that he has played only one Twenty20 international © Getty Images
 

In the 1970s, in Vermont, a guy called Ben and a guy called Jerry started an ice-cream company, which did very well. They had three things going for them that the established ice-cream companies didn't have: good ingredients (fresh Vermont milk and cream), innovative ideas (new flavours, pots with jokey blurbs, an annual free cone day), and high ideals. They had a rule that nobody in the company could earn more than X times what anyone else in the company was earning. According to the company website, X was five; other sources give it as eight, or even 22. But it doesn't really matter what it was. The point is that two dynamic young American entrepreneurs thought it was more important to pay everyone a decent wage than to line their own pockets.

Thirty years on, times have changed. Ben and Jerry's sold out to Unilever a few years ago, and the pay rule has been long since dropped. The reason the company gave was that it was no longer possible to make an "apples-for-apples comparison". Evidently the people who are now in charge would rather look weaselly than idealistic.

Ben and Jerry's came to mind at the weekend, as I was reading an interview in the Daily Telegraph with Lalit Modi, chairman of the Indian Premier League. We already knew that the fees paid to the big names were going to be mind-boggling, but Modi, interviewed by Simon Briggs, put it in a nutshell that was more dramatic than anything else I had seen. "We are working with private enterprise to change cricketers' lives," Modi said. "You take someone like Ishant Sharma: his father earned £75 a year and his whole family lived in a single room in Delhi. Now he's being paid £475,000 for two months' work. His life has changed, his family's life has changed, its wonderful to see."

If windfalls like this are going to happen to anyone, it's heart-warming that they should happen to a family that has had to live on so little. But the gap between those two figures is vertiginous. In the time it would have taken his dad to earn £12.50, Ishant will pocket 38,000 times that much. It makes you wonder if Modi might have been thinking of someone else: according to Tehelka magazine, the Sharmas are a middle-class family, with a daughter at art school, and Ishant's dad, Vijay, is an airconditioning dealer who is able to watch a lot of cricket on television because it's on in the winter when business is quiet.

Even if this is a case of mistaken identity, the wider point holds. The IPL will be paying gigantic fees in a country that still, for all its thrusting capitalism, encompasses a great deal of poverty. Three years ago, the average wage in India was said to be US$1,740 a year (£877 at last night's exchange rate). Sharma will pick up something like that every hour of the working day, even when just travelling or practising.

He is an exciting fast-bowling prospect, tall and spirited, but he is only 19, and he has played a handful of Tests and two handfuls of one-dayers. His career haul in Twenty20, the form of the game he will actually be playing for Kolkata, is one wicket. He is something Ben and Jerry would recognise: the flavour of the month.

You can't blame Ishant for not saying "I won't, thanks", and some players are getting even more - Mahendra Singh Dhoni is on $1.5m, Andrew Symonds $1.35m (would he have got more if he was on better terms with the Indian team, or less?), and Sanath Jayasuriya $975,000. The businessmen shelling out these sums are presumably not fools. But do they have any clue how cricket teams work?

Often, a star player makes little difference. We've all seen teams that mysteriously performed better when a big name was injured. Young fast bowlers get injuries, and even when fit, they are liable to get hammered round the park. Would you bet on Ishant taking more wickets in the IPL than Dale Steyn ($325,000) or Glenn McGrath ($350,000)?

The best thing about Ishant's lottery win is that the money has a good chance of staying in India. Perhaps Ishant will buy himself a few motorbikes, ready for the day when his parents allow him ride one. But most of these millions will be leaving India, filling the coffers of Australian stars who are already very highly paid. Money shouldn't travel in a direction like that. As recently as five years ago, there was an Australian captain - Steve Waugh - who made it go the other way, by helping to set up and fund a home for the daughters of lepers near Kolkata. By those standards these fees are disgusting.

The last time silly money surfaced in cricket was eight years ago, during the dotcom boom, when this very website was valued at $150m. There was a whiff of madness in the air then, which didn't last long: three years later, Cricinfo was sold for around $4m. It has since prospered, and rightly so, but it needed that jolt of reality. When Modi points out, triumphantly, that Aston Villa FC is worth £62m and his Mumbai franchise has just gone for almost as much, even though the team doesn't exist yet, you can smell that same whiff.

And someone always pays the price. In this case, it won't just be the players who get rich: it will be the agents. One British agent has 20 players in the IPL. Suppose he is on 15-per cent commission, which is a conservative estimate: he will be earning three times what the average player is getting. If Modi thinks he is doing everyone a favour, he is making another mistake. He is making the rich richer, and launching a new era of player and agent power. Some of the administrators he is emasculating have had it coming to them; others are decent people who deserve better.

The IPL is a new flavour that Ben and Jerry might approve of. But where they managed to mix some ethics into their entrepreneurialism, Modi has so far offered only a few self-imposed limits, like the $5m team wage cap, which he shows every sign of abandoning next year. The words "free for all" appeared in the Telegraph piece, and they weren't uttered by the reporter. All the research into national happiness suggests that the happiest countries are the ones with only mild extremes of wealth, and here is a country with much sharper contrasts making them sharper still.

Whether the IPL works will be fascinating to see. Meanwhile cricket finds itself in an eerie limbo. A tidal wave is heading towards us, with one unusual property for a tidal wave: it's coming in slow motion. We know something big is going to happen, and we know when, but we don't know how big, or what the damage will be. If you see a lifebelt, grab it.

Tim de Lisle is the author of Young Wisden. His website is www.timdelisle.com

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • pom_basher on March 6, 2008, 11:27 GMT

    Why is everyone drawing parallels between IPL and EPL? players in EPL are entitled to the money they earn because they play better game and entertain better crowd. The crowd pays money to watch the game, the sponsers shell out good money hence they get fair share of the money the clubs get... and its an open market. Its not the case in India, they should pay the cricketers in some thousands and whatever money is left, they should hand over to ICC, which can then be used to pay salaries and some decent bonuses to the office bearers. Congratulations Tim on your fantastic article.

  • Saibaskar on March 5, 2008, 13:44 GMT

    IPL for the first time is visibly shifting cricket's power center to Asia to be precise India. India is the financial engine for Cricket currently but BCCI's incompetency meant the real power (from appointment of match officials to deciding where cricket headquarters should be located) remained with England and Australia. IPL would finally change that, it would bring cricket to the place where it is watched with passion. It will also change cricket which being a sport with hardly 5-6 decent teams was getting too boring with too much predictability. Now, IPL can only become bigger, accomadate more teams with nearly equal quality meaning high quality games. It will also soon emcompass other versions of the game (atleast ODIs).

  • akashchandran on March 5, 2008, 5:17 GMT

    There is no need to be jealous at the amount of money that the Indian cricket stars are earning. Comparing the total number of people they entertain and make happy you see that even people like Kaka or Federer may be lesser stars. Why none is complaining of IT/MBA professional earning huge amounts despite their expertise being of use only to a few in their employer company? And about lot of us being poor, it is the fault of the government which follows capitalist policies inspite of having a constitution that promises a socialist welfare state. The disparity between the poor and the rich can only be lessened if the Government is prepared to tax the wealthy alone and spend on uncorrupted welfare schemes for the poor. As far as the comparision between Steyn and Ishant is concerned, the concept being new the teams have spend/risked more on Indian players but after one year, the really well performing players will begin to get better deals like in all professional leagues in the world.

  • akashchandran on March 5, 2008, 5:01 GMT

    There is no need to be jealous at the amount of money that the Indian cricket stars are earning. Comparing the total number of people they entertain and make happy in India you see that people like Kaka or Federer are lesser stars. And about lot of us being poor, it is the fault of the government which follows capitalist policies inspite of having a constitution that promises a socialist welfare state. Why none is complaining of IT/MBA professional earning huge amounts despite their expertise being of use only to a few in their employer company?

  • IPLFan on March 5, 2008, 4:18 GMT

    When the author says that money shouldn't be going out of a poor country like India, he probably doesn't realise that money is already flowing out of India at a much larger scale because of international cricket. ICC alone makes upwards of $100 million per year from Indian market. All the other boards make money from Indian market too. If anything, IPL will stem that outflow of money and make sure whatever money that is generated stays within India. 20 million or so paid to the 50 foreign players is nothing compared to the kind of money various boards are looting from India at present thanks to international cricket.

  • aripadmanabhan on March 5, 2008, 0:12 GMT

    Tim's thoughts are little short sighted. What he is missing within the griping about high salaries for the players is the future for some the cities. No one complains here in america when our stars are signed for insane salaries because we known that it will trickle down. High taxes and a cottage industry of restaurants, bars and shops will spring up in the surrounding area of the stadiums to return dividends to the city. This will hopefully be a start for the city planners to develop areas for the residents to enjoy. In india, nothing other than cricket would be able to sustain this (i.e. soccer in usa, basketball or hockey in india). Let's face it cricket in britain is no where close to soccer in its ability to stimulate local economies. Communist or socialist style ways to improve society has been a failure for the most part and is not the way to lift people from poverty. Hopefully entrepreneurship and capitalism will take hold in this region.

  • SnowSnake on March 4, 2008, 22:27 GMT

    I don't see that the IPL model is going to work. The creators did not put a lot of business thought into it. I am strong believer of capitalism and disagree the socialistic approach of distributing money discussed in this article. IPL is not following capitalistic principles. Capitalism pays for what is one's actual networth. The irrational models used in determining a players worth (Styen vs. Sharma)is where IPL is not using capitalism properly. Not applying capitalism principles is why IPL model will either fail or undergo rigorous restructuring. Players and agents will be the beneficiaries in between.

  • Subhadeep on March 4, 2008, 20:40 GMT

    "The IPL will be paying gigantic fees in a country that still, for all its thrusting capitalism, encompasses a great deal of poverty." --- What a load of patronizing claptrap! By that logic, CEOs, technical professionals, movie stars, doctors, high flying businessmen in India should ALL take gigantic pay cuts to satisfy the moral dilemma and righteous indignation felt by armchair moralizers. Should India put ALL development in ALL fields on hold, till the average wage in India equals that of the United States or UK? Is the BCCI responsible for eradicating poverty in India, or the ECB for homelessness in the UK, or CA for destitution among Native Australians? One can debate endlessly about the affect Twenty20 will have on India's cricket talent pool, but to drag the country's socio-economic situation into this argument is totally disingenuous and condescending.

  • wmathew on March 4, 2008, 19:46 GMT

    Thank you Tim for bringing this up. My question certainly has been , in a country where close to 40 % are below the poverty level , where is this insane money coming from. If you have money improve the lot of the poor and also improve the facilities for the athletes and people of India. Many women still complain about the facilities in the stadiums etc. That amount of money is going to go outside the country. And to boot it they are banning ICL players etc. This has to be stood up to. If BCCI gets away with these, We cannot imagine where things will be in the future.

  • stronghead on March 4, 2008, 18:40 GMT

    BCCI, just a registered body with no accountability, earns hundreds (or thousands!) of crores from the public and where does all this money go? To the players and for betterment of only cricket! Is it worth? Do a handful of players deserve to get such a mind boggling amount of money, notwithstanding the fact they bring glory to the country (occasionally!)? BCCI has no right to throw away public money in such a blatant manner! There should be a serious debate on how to manage BCCI funds. I feel this is time for the right people to wake up and stop this shameful show of money power which is making only the rich more richer!

  • pom_basher on March 6, 2008, 11:27 GMT

    Why is everyone drawing parallels between IPL and EPL? players in EPL are entitled to the money they earn because they play better game and entertain better crowd. The crowd pays money to watch the game, the sponsers shell out good money hence they get fair share of the money the clubs get... and its an open market. Its not the case in India, they should pay the cricketers in some thousands and whatever money is left, they should hand over to ICC, which can then be used to pay salaries and some decent bonuses to the office bearers. Congratulations Tim on your fantastic article.

  • Saibaskar on March 5, 2008, 13:44 GMT

    IPL for the first time is visibly shifting cricket's power center to Asia to be precise India. India is the financial engine for Cricket currently but BCCI's incompetency meant the real power (from appointment of match officials to deciding where cricket headquarters should be located) remained with England and Australia. IPL would finally change that, it would bring cricket to the place where it is watched with passion. It will also change cricket which being a sport with hardly 5-6 decent teams was getting too boring with too much predictability. Now, IPL can only become bigger, accomadate more teams with nearly equal quality meaning high quality games. It will also soon emcompass other versions of the game (atleast ODIs).

  • akashchandran on March 5, 2008, 5:17 GMT

    There is no need to be jealous at the amount of money that the Indian cricket stars are earning. Comparing the total number of people they entertain and make happy you see that even people like Kaka or Federer may be lesser stars. Why none is complaining of IT/MBA professional earning huge amounts despite their expertise being of use only to a few in their employer company? And about lot of us being poor, it is the fault of the government which follows capitalist policies inspite of having a constitution that promises a socialist welfare state. The disparity between the poor and the rich can only be lessened if the Government is prepared to tax the wealthy alone and spend on uncorrupted welfare schemes for the poor. As far as the comparision between Steyn and Ishant is concerned, the concept being new the teams have spend/risked more on Indian players but after one year, the really well performing players will begin to get better deals like in all professional leagues in the world.

  • akashchandran on March 5, 2008, 5:01 GMT

    There is no need to be jealous at the amount of money that the Indian cricket stars are earning. Comparing the total number of people they entertain and make happy in India you see that people like Kaka or Federer are lesser stars. And about lot of us being poor, it is the fault of the government which follows capitalist policies inspite of having a constitution that promises a socialist welfare state. Why none is complaining of IT/MBA professional earning huge amounts despite their expertise being of use only to a few in their employer company?

  • IPLFan on March 5, 2008, 4:18 GMT

    When the author says that money shouldn't be going out of a poor country like India, he probably doesn't realise that money is already flowing out of India at a much larger scale because of international cricket. ICC alone makes upwards of $100 million per year from Indian market. All the other boards make money from Indian market too. If anything, IPL will stem that outflow of money and make sure whatever money that is generated stays within India. 20 million or so paid to the 50 foreign players is nothing compared to the kind of money various boards are looting from India at present thanks to international cricket.

  • aripadmanabhan on March 5, 2008, 0:12 GMT

    Tim's thoughts are little short sighted. What he is missing within the griping about high salaries for the players is the future for some the cities. No one complains here in america when our stars are signed for insane salaries because we known that it will trickle down. High taxes and a cottage industry of restaurants, bars and shops will spring up in the surrounding area of the stadiums to return dividends to the city. This will hopefully be a start for the city planners to develop areas for the residents to enjoy. In india, nothing other than cricket would be able to sustain this (i.e. soccer in usa, basketball or hockey in india). Let's face it cricket in britain is no where close to soccer in its ability to stimulate local economies. Communist or socialist style ways to improve society has been a failure for the most part and is not the way to lift people from poverty. Hopefully entrepreneurship and capitalism will take hold in this region.

  • SnowSnake on March 4, 2008, 22:27 GMT

    I don't see that the IPL model is going to work. The creators did not put a lot of business thought into it. I am strong believer of capitalism and disagree the socialistic approach of distributing money discussed in this article. IPL is not following capitalistic principles. Capitalism pays for what is one's actual networth. The irrational models used in determining a players worth (Styen vs. Sharma)is where IPL is not using capitalism properly. Not applying capitalism principles is why IPL model will either fail or undergo rigorous restructuring. Players and agents will be the beneficiaries in between.

  • Subhadeep on March 4, 2008, 20:40 GMT

    "The IPL will be paying gigantic fees in a country that still, for all its thrusting capitalism, encompasses a great deal of poverty." --- What a load of patronizing claptrap! By that logic, CEOs, technical professionals, movie stars, doctors, high flying businessmen in India should ALL take gigantic pay cuts to satisfy the moral dilemma and righteous indignation felt by armchair moralizers. Should India put ALL development in ALL fields on hold, till the average wage in India equals that of the United States or UK? Is the BCCI responsible for eradicating poverty in India, or the ECB for homelessness in the UK, or CA for destitution among Native Australians? One can debate endlessly about the affect Twenty20 will have on India's cricket talent pool, but to drag the country's socio-economic situation into this argument is totally disingenuous and condescending.

  • wmathew on March 4, 2008, 19:46 GMT

    Thank you Tim for bringing this up. My question certainly has been , in a country where close to 40 % are below the poverty level , where is this insane money coming from. If you have money improve the lot of the poor and also improve the facilities for the athletes and people of India. Many women still complain about the facilities in the stadiums etc. That amount of money is going to go outside the country. And to boot it they are banning ICL players etc. This has to be stood up to. If BCCI gets away with these, We cannot imagine where things will be in the future.

  • stronghead on March 4, 2008, 18:40 GMT

    BCCI, just a registered body with no accountability, earns hundreds (or thousands!) of crores from the public and where does all this money go? To the players and for betterment of only cricket! Is it worth? Do a handful of players deserve to get such a mind boggling amount of money, notwithstanding the fact they bring glory to the country (occasionally!)? BCCI has no right to throw away public money in such a blatant manner! There should be a serious debate on how to manage BCCI funds. I feel this is time for the right people to wake up and stop this shameful show of money power which is making only the rich more richer!

  • lohiaaditya on March 4, 2008, 17:41 GMT

    With all due respect to Mr. Tim De Lisle I want to say that I wouldnt agree with what he has said in the article. As far as money damaging a game is concerned, it may be true and it may not. Pulling of examples from the EPL, Liverpool is in shambles whereas you have Manchester United flourishing. Both have American owners with unknown interests. I think its not the owners who are to blame. The simple reasons being that they are experienced enough to know that they will only get richer if the fans have a richer experience. They have been in the business game long enough to know that. So in the process a few people become multi millionaires then whats the problem? I heard Mr Vijay Mallya reply to Medha Pathkar, when she said that this money could saves how many thousands of lives, he said that is not how it works. Every business has a trickle down effect. For every motorbike that IShant Sharma buys, the motor bike agent with benefit and then eventually the people he employs and so on....

  • saadk84 on March 4, 2008, 16:59 GMT

    Honestly I dont have a problem with the IPL in terms what is supporting "cricket" in one form or another... The money is grotesque but w/e... My probelm is that the BCCI and Puppets ICC are trying to choke hold the ICL! The ICL is a great idea, the orignal idea! I dont understand why the players are not fighting this in a court of law. Its these players bread and butter. Now county bans too! Its crazy to think that you cant play cricket in the off season to make some money for your family, while playing for the "unofficial league" I support Kapil Dev and the ICL 100% The admin should really fight for their crickets to play in the ICL and international as well...

  • TheProphet on March 4, 2008, 15:27 GMT

    I think it is unfortunate for people to have such views on IPL. Even if the rich get richer, it gives the kids on the street a dream to work hard and they can also change their lives. It is the start of professional sport in the country, agreed the big players will get paid big amounts but if teams that later form in smaller Indian cities can employ players and pay them normal wages it will be a big step in the right direction.

  • Bazinga1981 on March 4, 2008, 14:48 GMT

    To a certain extent I agree the amount of money thrown in the IPL is mind boggling, but what abt the English Premier League? Dont the footballers make ridiculous amounts of money. Why doesn't that count as 'silly money'? Sure Ishant Sharma probably got a whole lot more than what he deserved, but with due respect when a certain Wayne Rooney was picked up by Man Utd, he too had just had one Euro 2004 to boast of!

  • AlwaysTheWall on March 4, 2008, 14:31 GMT

    First of all, Mr. de Lisle, read your own article. Ben and Jerry's with all its lofty goals could not sustain its model. It got bought by a large corporation that became as big as it is because it does not follow Ben and Jerry's model. With what you are suggesting, the IPL has two options. Either require some sort of revenue sharing where each team has to give a percentage to the poor or not run until the average earnings in India reaches levels seen in some Western countries. Of course, both are unsustainable.

    Yes, Mr. de Lisle, India has poor and Indians must make all efforts to rid India of its poverty. But it is the existence of avenues like the IPL which is allowing anyone, based on nothing but merit, to become part of the new Indian dream. Having socialist Ben and Jerry policies does not make everyone rich, it keeps everyone poor.

  • GiGi on March 4, 2008, 13:57 GMT

    The main problem with the IPL (and Indian cricket in general) is that it is run by a set of incompetent, narrow minded, money hungry politicians. It is simply staggering that despite the financial boom in cricket over the last two decades, Indian stadia are in terrible condition (for the fans)and domestic cricketers earn next to nothing and have little financial security when their playing days are over. Why cant some of the BCCI's funds go towards making our stadiums a little easier for the fans and why cant our domestic cricketers be paid better? Its pathetic that an "upstart" unofficial T20 league had to start to goad these slumbering officials into doing their job. That is one definite plus to come out of the whole ICL saga.

  • bbrian on March 4, 2008, 12:51 GMT

    It is sad for some that the new sensation of cricket (T20)is getting most, if not all its attention in India. India were not the source of T20 cricket but are really taking it to a higher level and that too by many surprises. Some of us will be jealous (plainly speaking) and some of us excited. As for me I am really looking forward to the tournament, are you?

  • kingofspain on March 4, 2008, 12:41 GMT

    My only problem with the IPL/ICL is that it's 20/20 which is not real cricket. What's the point of spending so much on bowlers in a form of the game where Dinesh Mongia is one of the leading wicket-takers? For all the money spent on Ishant, he's as likely as any other bowler to take 0 for 60 from his 4 overs.

    This is the problem with 20/20- it has little correlation to real cricket. Comparisons are often made with baseball, but baseball is a game meant to be played in a few hours, while cricket is meant, at the highest levels, to be played over several days with 2 innings per side.

    Also, lay off Tim DeLisle. It's not anyone's business how much he donates to charities. That's a private matter and whether he donates a huge portion of his earnings or nothing at all, he's still entitled to his opinion.

  • Pratik007 on March 4, 2008, 12:34 GMT

    This is a another example of if it happens in Australia n England its great for the game but if it happens in India or an Asian country writers like Tim de Lisle go to great lengths of bringing out the negatives. I want to ask Mr Tim de Lisle what is the problem if there is so much money being paid out? The money paid out here compared to the millions footballers make year in year out is nothing.....why is there no problems with that? Is it because these highly paid footballers are being paid in non Asian countries? I agree the IPL might come as a bit of shock to the cricketing nation but if managed well then it could be just the boost the sport of cricket needs in making it an attractive international brand that football is. A completely biased and irrelevant article.

  • mxnmxn on March 4, 2008, 12:30 GMT

    Amount of money paid is mind blowing. However its upto those who think players deserve it. I look at the sum as prize money. One thing, I am wary of is that in the name of entertaining cricket, millions of poor cricket fans will be milked.

    One point to note, not so long ago, Indian players avoided the lure of Packer Circus. :)

  • lestokes on March 4, 2008, 12:28 GMT

    I would actually disagree with some of the comments made. Yes IPL is a money bonanza but the millons generated should be used wisley - improve cricketing infastructure, lifting standards of indian cricket etc. The money could even extend to other subcontinents - sri lanka and bangladesh. So i think that there are certainly some postives from IPL. But, the people incharge of this IPL; Modi and his crew need to use the money from IPL wisely. As we have just seen from a young, largely inexeperienced ODI indian team win the FINAL tri-series in australia 2-zip that there is alot of good talent -young talent so the money should be pumped into these cricketing schools/facilites to really build on this talent. Because kumble, dravid and ganguly and tendulkar wont be around for ever. So yes IPL can certainly be postively viewed as long as they dont get carried away and they look after the young players like I. Sharama mentioned specifically in this article. Then i think that IPL will succeed

  • Raj_Indkrz on March 4, 2008, 12:25 GMT

    Mr. De Lisle Simply Put Money speaks an entirely different language in INDIA, it's a country where the rich stay and infact get rich and the poor well depend on GOD and the middle class pay taxes to the government. So I guess when this kind of money fills up foreigners pockets like Gilchrist, Symonds and others, they should just follow suit like Mr. Waugh, but I don't expect any of the Indian, Sri Lankan Players or for that matter any of the developing nations (mind you not third world any more the key term is "economic boom") players going in that direction.

  • RajArya on March 4, 2008, 12:24 GMT

    Yet another moral caucasian crusader bashing.....Does he appreciate that part of the origins of the poverty was due to colonisation (thats a polite word to loot, steal, pillage another nation)by his caucasion kinsman of the past.

    India is finally learning to play the "white man's game" (be it cricket, defence, business etc) by their rules and WINNING - but the white doesn't like - he feels exploited somewhat - very uneasy feeling isnt it Mr De Lisle !! Well get used to it - Wake Up and Smell The Coffee - except it isnt coffee its CHAI !!!

  • dudhu on March 4, 2008, 12:20 GMT

    Obviously Tim DeLisle is unfamiliar with professional sports in the US where stars hold out for bigger multimillion dollar contracts a year or two after having signed multimillion dollar contracts. But he should be familiar with the obscene amounts of money that Roman Abramovski has thrown into Chlesea, for example.

    The B&J example is off the mark- there aren't any employees of the IPL who make lowly salaries, all the cricketers make huge amounts, only some are huger than others. Unlike B&J, the cricketers are effectively the product, they don't manufacture icecream with the help of other, significantly, underpaid employees.

    Also, to continue with the American analogy, taxpayers aren't held hostage with threats to move teams unless they pony up money to pay for new stadiums.

    If he had to make a point, he could draw a comparison between the huge salaries of software millionaires and the maids that work in their houses!

  • Samwise67 on March 4, 2008, 12:14 GMT

    I sympathise with the authors point of view as I think income disparity is a huge problem in this country. However, I don't think that the IPL will add to the huge disparity in India. Look at our filmstars and magnates (remember these are the people who are paying Ishant and the others) who make much more money than our cricketers ever will. If they cannot be condemned for making so much money, why should the IPL or ICL be condemned. As far as money going out of India, some of the money used to finance the IPL is probably coming into India as well so I don't think that the net outflow is going to be that great.

  • Rajesh. on March 4, 2008, 11:52 GMT

    Well, too much money is all one can say! The ICL & the IP are here to ruin the pure joy of watching Cricket. Millions of dollars ? For T20 ? It's really a shame..... Nothing / no one deserves this kind of a money. Cricket is going to go the soccer way with insignificant club-like matches taking centre stage over passionate national contests. All along, be it the ICC or the BCCI, everyone who were talking about Test Cricket being the real game are the ones responsible for this. Shame on them !

  • IPLFan on March 4, 2008, 11:50 GMT

    When the author says "Money shouldn't travel in a direction like that", does he realise that it is already happening at a much larger scale with international cricket? When we sit in front of our TVs to watch our team play in Australia or in a World Cup, it is CA and ICC that rake in the millions. ICC alone makes nearly $100 million from Indian market per year! Compared to those sums, the money paid by IPL to foreign players is nothing. In fact it is better for Indian economy if we stop playing international cricket (which is a huge drain on the economy) altogether and instead play only IPL.

    To summarise: International cricket - Matches imported from foreign entities (CA, ECB, PCB, ICC etc) at a high cost. Drain on the economy. IPL/ICL - Import limited amount of raw materials (players) at market prices, mix with locally abundant raw material, produce matches indigenously, generate other economic activities like stadium upgradation, ticketing, merchandising, etc.

  • libero on March 4, 2008, 10:25 GMT

    I fully agree with your comments are many others' on the same topic. However, all the arguments seem to be based around an unhappiness that the same capitalist mentality that has made many countries very rich is coming to cricket. With the sheer number of people in India watching cricket, it was inevitable that big business would get involved. Let's hope that this hasn't opened Pandora's box.

  • futurecaptainofindia on March 4, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    It is very clear that both IPL & ICL are commercial bonanzas rather than cricket nurseries. And why should they be otherwise? If cricketers find the lure of money too hard to resist over & above the honour of representing their nation, then its they who are to blame, not the Leagues. As far as widening the economic divide goes, that is exactly what entertainment is all about. Don't masses flock to catch the first show of a potential box-office hit? Why are they willing to shell out thousands to obtain black tickets? Some of the criticism being heaped on the IPL is certainly unwarranted

  • dheeraj_sachdev on March 4, 2008, 9:42 GMT

    The writer of the article above takes refuge in moral high ground after he finds out that the old superpowers England and Australia are mere spectators in the capitalist circus controlled by India. Every country grows and develops in its own ways and there are inequalities which will be bridged over time. There are no robin hoods who will take from the rich and distribute wealth to the poor.

    Instead of suggesting to the Indians, may be Mr. Tim de Lisle should start by donating 50% of his salary to the poor. That will help a significant number of poor while Mr. Tim shall still be able to live off well! Moral talks, easier said than done.

  • Cobath on March 4, 2008, 7:59 GMT

    Although the wide discrepancy between the income of Ishant Sharma and his father is almost mind boggling, we must understand that Ishant Sharma is a creature that India has not seen before. The tall, wirey frame of the 19 year old enables him to generate enough speed to consistently bowl at the 145 km/h+ mark, something that Indians have been unable to do for, well.. ever! and more importantly, he gets the wickets of top quality players.

    Obviously such a talent needs to be well-groomed, but from all indications he comes across as a confident, mature and well mannered young man that deserves whatever some rich business man is willing to pay him. Although this is a significant sum, one must agree that its the inevitable outcome of aggregating the joy of 1.2 billion people watching the young man play, and his own productive capacity as he matures. Further, the growth stimulated from watching high quality overseas players play will more than make up for the cost of buying them!

  • tusharkardile on March 4, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    EPL DOES NOT EVEN HAVE A WAGE CAP....!!! THE ONLY PROBLEM TIM SEEMS TO HAVE WITH IPL IS THAT ITS HAPPENING IN INDIA... HAD IT HAPPENED ANYWHERE ELSE, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HAILED AS 'BEGINNING OF A NEW PRO ERA...' OR SOMETHING SIMILAR... ANYWAY MR de Lisle, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO HAVE AN OPINION, NO MATTER HOW MISPLACED IT IS

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  • tusharkardile on March 4, 2008, 7:56 GMT

    EPL DOES NOT EVEN HAVE A WAGE CAP....!!! THE ONLY PROBLEM TIM SEEMS TO HAVE WITH IPL IS THAT ITS HAPPENING IN INDIA... HAD IT HAPPENED ANYWHERE ELSE, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HAILED AS 'BEGINNING OF A NEW PRO ERA...' OR SOMETHING SIMILAR... ANYWAY MR de Lisle, YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO HAVE AN OPINION, NO MATTER HOW MISPLACED IT IS

  • Cobath on March 4, 2008, 7:59 GMT

    Although the wide discrepancy between the income of Ishant Sharma and his father is almost mind boggling, we must understand that Ishant Sharma is a creature that India has not seen before. The tall, wirey frame of the 19 year old enables him to generate enough speed to consistently bowl at the 145 km/h+ mark, something that Indians have been unable to do for, well.. ever! and more importantly, he gets the wickets of top quality players.

    Obviously such a talent needs to be well-groomed, but from all indications he comes across as a confident, mature and well mannered young man that deserves whatever some rich business man is willing to pay him. Although this is a significant sum, one must agree that its the inevitable outcome of aggregating the joy of 1.2 billion people watching the young man play, and his own productive capacity as he matures. Further, the growth stimulated from watching high quality overseas players play will more than make up for the cost of buying them!

  • dheeraj_sachdev on March 4, 2008, 9:42 GMT

    The writer of the article above takes refuge in moral high ground after he finds out that the old superpowers England and Australia are mere spectators in the capitalist circus controlled by India. Every country grows and develops in its own ways and there are inequalities which will be bridged over time. There are no robin hoods who will take from the rich and distribute wealth to the poor.

    Instead of suggesting to the Indians, may be Mr. Tim de Lisle should start by donating 50% of his salary to the poor. That will help a significant number of poor while Mr. Tim shall still be able to live off well! Moral talks, easier said than done.

  • futurecaptainofindia on March 4, 2008, 9:58 GMT

    It is very clear that both IPL & ICL are commercial bonanzas rather than cricket nurseries. And why should they be otherwise? If cricketers find the lure of money too hard to resist over & above the honour of representing their nation, then its they who are to blame, not the Leagues. As far as widening the economic divide goes, that is exactly what entertainment is all about. Don't masses flock to catch the first show of a potential box-office hit? Why are they willing to shell out thousands to obtain black tickets? Some of the criticism being heaped on the IPL is certainly unwarranted

  • libero on March 4, 2008, 10:25 GMT

    I fully agree with your comments are many others' on the same topic. However, all the arguments seem to be based around an unhappiness that the same capitalist mentality that has made many countries very rich is coming to cricket. With the sheer number of people in India watching cricket, it was inevitable that big business would get involved. Let's hope that this hasn't opened Pandora's box.

  • IPLFan on March 4, 2008, 11:50 GMT

    When the author says "Money shouldn't travel in a direction like that", does he realise that it is already happening at a much larger scale with international cricket? When we sit in front of our TVs to watch our team play in Australia or in a World Cup, it is CA and ICC that rake in the millions. ICC alone makes nearly $100 million from Indian market per year! Compared to those sums, the money paid by IPL to foreign players is nothing. In fact it is better for Indian economy if we stop playing international cricket (which is a huge drain on the economy) altogether and instead play only IPL.

    To summarise: International cricket - Matches imported from foreign entities (CA, ECB, PCB, ICC etc) at a high cost. Drain on the economy. IPL/ICL - Import limited amount of raw materials (players) at market prices, mix with locally abundant raw material, produce matches indigenously, generate other economic activities like stadium upgradation, ticketing, merchandising, etc.

  • Rajesh. on March 4, 2008, 11:52 GMT

    Well, too much money is all one can say! The ICL & the IP are here to ruin the pure joy of watching Cricket. Millions of dollars ? For T20 ? It's really a shame..... Nothing / no one deserves this kind of a money. Cricket is going to go the soccer way with insignificant club-like matches taking centre stage over passionate national contests. All along, be it the ICC or the BCCI, everyone who were talking about Test Cricket being the real game are the ones responsible for this. Shame on them !

  • Samwise67 on March 4, 2008, 12:14 GMT

    I sympathise with the authors point of view as I think income disparity is a huge problem in this country. However, I don't think that the IPL will add to the huge disparity in India. Look at our filmstars and magnates (remember these are the people who are paying Ishant and the others) who make much more money than our cricketers ever will. If they cannot be condemned for making so much money, why should the IPL or ICL be condemned. As far as money going out of India, some of the money used to finance the IPL is probably coming into India as well so I don't think that the net outflow is going to be that great.

  • dudhu on March 4, 2008, 12:20 GMT

    Obviously Tim DeLisle is unfamiliar with professional sports in the US where stars hold out for bigger multimillion dollar contracts a year or two after having signed multimillion dollar contracts. But he should be familiar with the obscene amounts of money that Roman Abramovski has thrown into Chlesea, for example.

    The B&J example is off the mark- there aren't any employees of the IPL who make lowly salaries, all the cricketers make huge amounts, only some are huger than others. Unlike B&J, the cricketers are effectively the product, they don't manufacture icecream with the help of other, significantly, underpaid employees.

    Also, to continue with the American analogy, taxpayers aren't held hostage with threats to move teams unless they pony up money to pay for new stadiums.

    If he had to make a point, he could draw a comparison between the huge salaries of software millionaires and the maids that work in their houses!

  • RajArya on March 4, 2008, 12:24 GMT

    Yet another moral caucasian crusader bashing.....Does he appreciate that part of the origins of the poverty was due to colonisation (thats a polite word to loot, steal, pillage another nation)by his caucasion kinsman of the past.

    India is finally learning to play the "white man's game" (be it cricket, defence, business etc) by their rules and WINNING - but the white doesn't like - he feels exploited somewhat - very uneasy feeling isnt it Mr De Lisle !! Well get used to it - Wake Up and Smell The Coffee - except it isnt coffee its CHAI !!!