Using IPL money for benefit of domestic players

The BCCI could have got a huge amount for the first-class players from the IPL mega auction that concluded recently. All they had to do was to put a limit of, say, ₹1 crore for every uncapped player and anything that the franchises bid over and above that would go to the BCCI, which could then disburse it to the domestic men and women players.

Cash rich: A general view during the TATA Indian Premier League Player Auction held at the ITC Gardenia Hotel in Bengaluru.   -  Sportzpics / IPL

India’s easy win over the two times T20 World champion, the West Indies, does show the depth of talent that the country possesses. These wins become all the more special when one sees that some of the best players in the Indian team were not playing these matches. India was without Jasprit Bumrah, arguably the best fast bowler in all formats of the game today and in the final game of the three-match series, India was without Virat Kohli and Rishabh Pant. To win despite not having these experienced match winners and that too comfortably, indicates how the team has progressed after the disappointment of the T20 World Cup last year. Yes, the matches are being played at home and so the players are familiar with the conditions, so it’s fair to say that we shouldn’t get carried away. There were occasions during the T20 series where we could see that certain areas need to be strengthened and that’s what the team management will be looking to improve as the season moves along. There are quite a few T20 international matches ahead before the World Cup in October-November in Australia which would help the selectors to firm up the final squad to go Down Under.

Even as the Indian team is busy playing against the West Indies and now Sri Lanka, it was good to see the Ranji Trophy start. Let’s face it, the national championship is no longer the premier tournament in the country. There is a greater chance of getting an India cap by performing in the Indian Premier League than in the Ranji Trophy. After all millions watch the IPL, while mostly the minions watch the Ranji Trophy. So, even a brief cameo in the IPL is going to leave a greater impact than a big match-saving innings or game-turning bowling effort in the Ranji Trophy. That’s why those Ranji players who are also picked by the IPL franchises will probably not try as hard in the Ranji games nearer to the start of the IPL so as to not get injured and miss out on the gravy train that is the IPL.

This time because of the Covid, a full Ranji Trophy schedule couldn’t be arranged and so teams have been divided into groups of four teams each. While the Ranji player is happy that at least he is getting to play, he will be concerned that less number of matches means less match fees, too. With no jobs with Corporates, who no longer employ players because none of the biggies are available to play, the job security is no longer there for most players. So the income from Ranji Trophy is often the only one for the entire year and with that also getting reduced because of the lesser number of matches this time, the Ranji player is in a bit of a bind. Hopefully with the BCCI set to get a bonanza with the IPL broadcast rights coming up, Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah will convince their colleagues in the Board to increase the fees for the Ranji Trophy player, who, probably, is the sole breadwinner for his family.

The BCCI could have got a huge amount for the first-class players from the IPL mega auction that concluded recently. All they had to do was to put a limit of, say, ₹1 crore for every uncapped player and anything that the franchises bid over and above that would go to the BCCI, which could then disburse it to the domestic men and women players. This way, the domestic players not playing IPL and earning only about ₹15-20 lakh for over 40 days of cricket would not feel like the poor cousins of those uncapped colleagues getting crores in the IPL. Mind you, this is only a limit for the uncapped player and it’s still a lot of money for about 16 days of cricket over a two-month period.

In this year’s auction, there was a total of ₹114 crore spent on 35 uncapped players out of which two were overseas players, with some going at their base price of ₹20 lakh. If the limit of ₹1 crore per uncapped player had been set then the BCCI would have made around ₹79 crore over and above the limit. Imagine that money being used for the domestic players and even better still these funds were coming not from BCCI pockets but those of the franchises. A win-win for all the players and BCCI.

Hopefully, the next time.

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